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Peter Burke explores major themes in the social and cultural history of the languages spoken or written in Europe between the invention of printing and the French Revolution. One theme is the relation between languages and communities and the place of language as a way of identifying others, as well as a symbol of one's own identity. A second, linked theme is that of competition: between Latin and the vernaculars, different vernaculars, dominant and subordinate, and different varieties of the same vernacular.Read more
- Places the history of the many languages of Europe in their cultural, social and political contexts
- Examines the relationship between languages and communities
- Written by a renowned historian of international repute
Reviews & endorsements
"These essays, originally given as the Wiles Lectures at Queen's University in Belfast, share the characteristics of much of his best work, truly European-wide reading, sensitivity to cultural and sociological theory, and broad vision."
Sixteenth Century JournalSee more reviews
"(A)lthough others have investigated in greater detail the standardization of particular vernaculars in Europe, none deal with the issue comparatively and on a pan-European scale with anything like the range of Burke...In telling his story from the end of the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, Burke skillfully negotiates the dangers inherent in a linear narrative structure...(the book) draws attention to an emerging field of historical study and widespread patterns in relations between languages and communities in early modern Europe"
Matt Lauzon, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Journal of Modern History
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- Date Published: October 2004
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521828963
- length: 226 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.47kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Prologue: communities and domains
1. 'Speak, that I may see thee': the discovery of language in early modern Europe
2. Latin: a language in search of a community
3. Vernaculars in competition
4. Standardizing languages
5. Mixing languages
6. Purifying languages
Epilogue: languages and nations
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