The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya

The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya Selma K. Sonntag and Mark Turin (eds.)
Forthcoming in 2019

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.) | Forthcoming 2019
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), 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

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 @markturin.