Necessary Illusions in the Global Village – The birth of an imagined community – part 4

But if we are defining by language, than who defines a language? Objectively speaking, a linguist would be able to find less difference between Dutch and Plattdeutsch (low german), spoken in north-central europe, than he would be able to find between a Hamburg in the north and Munich in south of Germany. Yet Plattdeutsch and Bayrisch (what is spoken in the south) are considered dialects of the same language while Dutch is considered a different language from german.

There have been until very recently about two million germans living in Russia. They are called Wolgadeutsch. And there are plenty of states that are smaller than two million. In Transilvania, now part of Rumania, there are german speakers and hungarian speaker who have lived there longer than people from european decent have lived in north america. Should they have a state on there own? Or should they be unified with Germany and Hungary?

In common jargon, wether or not something is a dialect or a language is socially constructed, that means politically constructed. A common language is only a common language because a state makes its standard, insists on it being thought in the schools, uses it in the curt system, uses it in the army.


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