By Kathryn A. Woolard

Singular and Plural develops a framework for studying ideologies of linguistic authority and illuminates the institutional and interpersonal politics of language in Catalonia. Drawing on ethnographic examine throughout thirty years of political autonomy, Kathryn Woolard indicates new relationships of Catalan language, id, and politics within the new millennium.

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Extra resources for Singular and plural : ideologies of linguistic authority in 21st century Catalonia

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As Webb Keane has asserted about Indonesia, modernist national identity often seeks expression “in a variety of language that the speaker can stand outside of,” a language that aspires to a universal “cosmopolitan transparency” (Keane 2003, 523). In the modern and modernist public, the citizen-​speaker is not only assumed to be an Everyman, he (or with more difficulty, she) is supposed to sound like an Everyman, using a common, unmarked public language. Public languages are supposed to be able to represent and be used equally by everyone precisely because they belong to no-​one-​in-​particular.

The ideology of linguistic anonymity continues to play an important role in debates over the analysis of English as the language of globalization in the current late modern period. “English belongs to everyone or to no one, or it at least is quite often regarded as having this property,” Ronald Wardhaugh (1987, 15) wrote. Ulrich Ammon elaborated on this point: the national connotations of a language like English wear off through frequent nonnative use around the globe, and the language acquires the “touch of neutrality” (Ammon 2013, 117).

9 Even after the 2010 court ruling, central government challenges to Catalan educational language policy continued and even ratcheted higher, to the present time of writing. When the independence movement burst into wider view in 2012, the kinds of questions about language and national identity that I first researched in 1979–​ 1980—​Who is Catalan? —​ were brought into the spotlight of public discussion yet again. The sociopolitical context in which such questions were raised had changed not only because of political autonomy but also because of Europeanization, globalization, transnational migration, and the trend to neoliberalism in Spain as elsewhere.

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