Too small to be big, but also too big to be really small, medium-sized language communities (MSLCs) face their own challenges in a rapidly globalising world where multilingualism and mobility seem to be eroding the old securities that the monolingual nation states provided. The questions to be answered are numerous: What are the main areas in which the position of these languages is actually threatened? How do these societies manage their diversity (both old and new)? Has state machinery really become as irrelevant in terms of language policy as their portrayals often suggest? This book explores the responses to these and other challenges by seven relatively successful MSLCs, so that their lessons can be applied more generally to other languages striving for long term survival.
Just as growing interest in scale challenges the theoretical dichotomy of micro-macro, the conceptualization of medium-sized languages allows a fresh approach to varieties that are more robust than 'endangered' minority languages but too small to seem secure, much less 'dominant'. This volume brings welcome views of linguistic sustainability within a globalized market economy and multilingual societies.
- Kathryn A. Woolard, University of California, San Diego, USA
An innovative book that stretches the borders of sociolinguistic investigation into unchartered areas by focussing on language communities that fall between majority and minority configurations, between large and small languages. The contents are instructive, challenging and shed fascinating new light on significant in-between categories of speakers that tend to get neglected in general overviews.
- Hugo Baetens Beardsmore, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
This well-edited volume provides very useful comparative descriptions of the situation concerning several medium-sized languages from almost all major areas of the European continent, plus Hebrew. The similarities and differences between the languages documented in this book profoundly stimulate our thinking about language ecology and sociolinguistic typology.
- Ernst H
This volume merits praise for its innovative study of a new area of research, namely, those languages intermediate between majority and minority tongues. This well-edited and informative volume on medium size languages fills an important gap on this group of languages.
- Frank Nuessel, University of Louisville, in Language Problems and Language Planning 38:1 (2014)
F. Xavier Vila is an associate professor in the Department of Catalan Philology and Director of the University Centre for Sociolinguistics and Communication at the Universitat de Barcelona. He has published widely in the areas of sociolinguistics, demolinguistics and language policy, including Survival and Development of Language Communities: Prospects and Challenges (Multilingual Matters, 2013).