The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya

The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya Selma K. Sonntag and Mark Turin (eds.)
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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

This book brings together linguistic theory and empirical studies addressing human rights, multilingual education, language ecology and endangered languages. It is essential reading for students, practitioners, language activists and scholars working on language planning, multilingual education, endangered languages and language politics. This is indeed an interdisciplinary book that is testimony to why lesser-known languages matter in the Himalaya and beyond.
—Prof. Nirmal Man Tuladhar, Chair, Social Science Baha


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.



The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya
Selma K. Sonntag and Mark Turin (eds.) | August 2019
200 pp. | 12 color illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783747047
ISBN Hardback: 9781783747054
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783747061
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783747078
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783747085
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783747092
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0169
Categories: BIC: CFB (Sociolinguistics), JPB (Comparative Politics), JF (Society and culture: general), JH (Sociology and anthropology), 1F (Asia); BISAC: LAN009050 (LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics), SOC002010 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social), SOC053000 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies), POL009000 (Political Science/Comparative Politics), POL062000 (Political Science/Geopolitics).


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Contributors
Preface

  1. Introduction: Language Politics and Language Contact
    Selma K. Sonntag
  2. Language Contact and the Politics of Recognition amongst Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China: The rTa’u-Speaking ‘Horpa’ of Khams
    Tunzhi (Sonam Lhundrop), Hiroyuki Suzuki, and Gerald Roche
  3. What Happened to the Ahom Language? The Politics of Language Contact in Assam
    Selma K. Sonntag
  4. Transforming Language to Script: Constructing Linguistic Authority through Language Contact in Schools in Nepal
    Uma Pradhan
  5. The Significance of Place in Ethnolinguistic Vitality: Spatial Variations Across the Kaike-Speaking Diaspora of Nepal
    Maya Daurio
  6. Speaking Chone, Speaking ‘Shallow’: Dual Linguistic Hegemonies in China’s Tibetan Frontier
    Bendi Tso and Mark Turin
  7. Concluding Thoughts on Language Shift and Linguistic Diversity in the Himalaya: The Case of Nepal
    Mark Turin
List of Tables and Figures
Index
Selma K. Sonntag is Professor Emerita of Politics at Humboldt State University in California and Affiliate Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research area is the politics of language, primarily in South Asia, but also in the United States, Europe and South Africa.

Her numerous publications on language politics in South Asia have appeared in Language Policy, The Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, among other journals, as well as in over a dozen edited volumes. Her books include The Local Politics of Global English: Case Studies in Linguistic Globalization (2003) and State Traditions and Language Regimes (2015). Dr. Sonntag was a Research Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute for Advanced Studies in New Delhi in spring 2012 and the recipient of two Fulbright research awards. She recently completed her tenure as chair of the Research Committee on the Politics of Language of the International Political Science Association.

Mark Turin (PhD, Linguistics, Leiden University, 2006) is an anthropologist, linguist and occasional radio presenter, and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. From 2014-2018, Dr. Turin served as Chair of the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program and from 2016-2018, as Acting Co-Director of the University’s new Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies. Before joining UBC, he was an Associate Research Scientist with the South Asian Studies Council at Yale University, and the Founding Program Director of the Yale Himalaya Initiative. He continues to hold an appointment as Visiting Associate Professor at the Yale School Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Dr. Turin directs both the World Oral Literature Project, an urgent global initiative to document and make accessible endangered oral literatures before they disappear without record, and the Digital Himalaya Project which he co-founded in 2000 as a platform to make multi-media resources from the Himalayan region widely available online. Together with Sienna Craig, he edited Himalaya, the longest running, open access, interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journal of Himalayan studies from 2013-2017. For over twenty years, his regional focus has been the Himalayan region (particularly Nepal, northern India and Bhutan), and more recently, the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Turin is very privileged to have had the opportunity to work in collaborative partnership with members of the Thangmi-speaking communities of eastern Nepal and Darjeeling district in India since 1996, and since 2014 with members of the Heiltsuk First Nation through a Heiltsuk Language Mobilization Partnership in which UBC is a member.

Dr. Turin writes and teaches on ethnolinguistics, language endangerment, visual anthropology, digital archives and fieldwork methodology. He is the author or co-author of four books, three travel guides, and the editor of nine volumes, including the Open Book titles Searching for Sharing: Heritage and Multimedia in Africa (with Daniela Merolla) and Oral Literature in the Digital Age: Archiving Orality and Connecting with Communities (with Claire Wheeler and Eleanor Wilkinson). Mark also edits the World Oral Literature Series with OBP. He tweets @markturinmark.turin@ubc.ca.
Bendi Tso completed a Master of Arts in Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2016. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests lie in linguistic nationalism, linguistic identities, and language ideologies. Her current research explores how the ideology of ‘authentic Tibetanness’ — the idea that speaking Tibetan is taken as a claim to be an authentic Tibetan person — has been played out among Chone Tibetans in Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture by the Chinese state and by Tibetan ethno-nationalists. Her research also examines the ways in which Chone Tibetans engage, mediate, resist, and reject such ideology based on their own linguistic realities and experiences, in history and at present.

Maya Daurio earned a Master of Science in Geography from the University of Montana, where her research focused on language maintenance and social-ecological resilience within an endangered language community in Nepal. She has worked for over eight years in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and is interested in anthropological, ecological, and humanitarian applications of GIS. Concurrent research interests include language endangerment and maintenance, traditional ecological knowledge, social-ecological resilience, indigeneity, and mountain geographies. Maya will be pursuing a doctorate in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

Uma Pradhan is Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at Oxford School for Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford. Prior to this, Uma was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Education Anthropology, Aarhus University, Copenhagen. Uma’s research focuses on power-laden dimensions of education and examines the interconnection between state, society, and schooling. Uma holds a DPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford, where she studied the cultural politics of minority language use in schools. She received the Dor Bahadur Bista Prize 2015 and Nations and Nationalism Prize 2018 for articles based on this research. Before joining academia, Uma worked in the development sector for several years.

Gerald Roche is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Politics, Media, and Philosophy at La Trobe University, and has previously held positions at the University of Melbourne, Uppsala University, and Qinghai Normal University. His research focuses on the politics of language endangerment and revitalization, particularly within Tibet and the Himalayas. Recent edited publications include the Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization (with Leanne Hinton and Leena Huss) and two open access publications: Indigenous Efflorescence: Beyond Revitalization in Sapmi and Ainu Mosir (with Hiroshi Maruyama and Isa Virdi-Kroik), and Long Narrative Songs from the Mongghul of Northeast Tibet: Texts in Mongghul, Chinese, and English (with Limusishiden).

Selma K. Sonntag is Professor Emerita of Politics at Humboldt State University in California and Affiliate Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research area is the politics of language, primarily in South Asia, but also in the United States, Europe and South Africa. Her numerous publications on language politics in South Asia have appeared in Language Policy, The Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, and Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, among other journals, as well as in over a dozen edited volumes. Her books include The Local Politics of Global English: Case Studies in Linguistic Globalization (2003) and State Traditions and Language Regimes (2015). Dr. Sonntag was a Research Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute for Advanced Studies in New Delhi in spring 2012 and the recipient of two Fulbright research awards. She recently completed her tenure as chair of the Research Committee on the Politics of Language of the International Political Science Association.

Hiroyuki Suzuki holds a D.Litt. in linguistics from Kyoto University (2007) and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, Norway, and a visiting scholar at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan. His principal research interests are descriptive linguistics, geolinguistics, dialectology, and sociolinguistics of languages in the Tibetosphere. He has published various works on preliminary descriptions of individual Tibetic languages, grammar sketches, geolinguistic analysis, and narrative analysis with interlinear glossing. He is an author of two books: Dongfang Zangqu Zhuyuyan Yanjiu (2015) and 100 Linguistic Maps of the Swadesh Word List of Tibetic Languages From Yunnan (2018).

Tunzhi (Sonam Lhundrop) is a Ph.D. student in linguistics at La Trobe University, Australia. He is writing a descriptive grammar of the rTa’u language, a rGyalrongic language spoken in western Sichuan Province, China. He is a native of the rTa’u community and for the last decade he has been engaged in language and cultural documentation projects.

Mark Turin is an anthropologist, linguist and occasional radio presenter. An Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Mark has held research and teaching appointments at Yale, Cambridge, Cornell and Leipzig universities. He directs the World Oral Literature Project, an urgent global initiative to document and make accessible endangered oral literatures before they disappear without record, and the Digital Himalaya Project, which he co-founded in 2000 as a platform to make multimedia resources from the Himalayan region widely available online. Mark has worked in the Himalayan region (Nepal, northern India and Bhutan) since 1992 and is the author or co-author of four books, numerous articles, the editor of nine volumes, and edits a series on oral literature.