The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya - cover image


Selma K. Sonntag; Mark Turin

Published On





  • English

Print Length

198 pages (xiv+184)


Paperback156 x 14 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.54" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 17 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.69" x 9.21")


Paperback850g (29.98oz)
Hardback1233g (43.49oz)



OCLC Number





  • CFB
  • JPB
  • JF
  • JH
  • 1F


  • LAN009050
  • SOC002010
  • SOC053000
  • POL009000
  • POL062000


  • P35.5.A78


  • Himalaya
  • Himalayan region
  • politics of language contact
  • Tibet
  • Assam
  • Nepal
  • sociolinguistics
  • political science
  • political science

The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya

This highly original and timely collection brings together case studies from salient areas of the Himalayan region to explore the politics of language contact. Promoting a linguistically and historically grounded perspective, The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya offers nuanced insights into language and its relation to power in this geopolitically complex region.

Edited by respected scholars in the field, the collection comprises five new research contributions by established and early-career researchers who have been significantly engaged in the Himalayan region. Grounded in a commitment to theoretically informed area studies, and covering Tibet (China), Assam (India), and Nepal, each case study is situated within contemporary debates in sociolinguistics, political science, and language policy and planning. Bridging disciplines and transcending nation-states, the volume offers a unique contribution to the study of language contact and its political implications.

The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya is essential reading for researchers in the fields of language policy and planning, applied linguistics, and language and literary education. The detailed introduction and concluding commentary make the collection accessible to all social scientists concerned with questions of language, and the volume as a whole will be of interest to scholars in anthropology, sociolinguistics, political science and Asian studies.


Although this book was written for a specialist audience of advanced scholars and doctoral students, the authors successfully link these specific cases to broader issues in sociolinguistics, language policy and planning, and political science. Hence this book will be of interest to scholars working on other contexts besides the Himalayan region; I am very pleased to see such a complex and interesting analysis of the politics of language contact.

Prof. James Tollefson

University of Washington


The five main chapters and the editors’ introductory and closing essays of 'The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya' demonstrate that the history, present, and future of language contact and politics in the Himalayan region are complicated, nuanced, and changing. Each chapter provides a detailed empirical case study, while engaging with and building on theoretical concepts [...] This volume is well worth reading, both for the individual chapters and for the ways they comment on each other. The editors’ choice to publish it as an open access volume, available to read for free on the publisher’s website, ensures that it will be accessible to readers. This would be an obvious choice for area studies courses’ syllabi, but would also be appropriate for courses in sociolinguistics, language policy, and language contact and change.

Miranda Weinberg, Swarthmore College

"THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE CONTACT IN THE HIMALAYA. Edited by Selma K. Sonntag and Mark Turin". Pacific Affairs (0030-851X), vol. 93, no. 4, 2020.

Full Review


Selma K. Sonntag

Professor Emerita of Politics at Humboldt State University

Mark Turin

Associate Professor of Anthropology at University of British Columbia