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Jan-David Hauck


Jan David Hauck
Language Under Construction
Bilingualism in Paraguay and Some Unsettled Thoughts About Language

Berliner Beiträge zur Ethnologie [ISSN 1610-6768], Bd. 19
Berlin, Dezember 2009, 169 Seiten; € 28,00; ISBN 978-3-89998-175-9

Über das Buch:
Language Under Construction tells two stories. One is about the language Guaraní, the conflicts that have arisen with its implementation in education, and the implications that this has for a national identity politics. Guaraní is an indigenous language that has achieved the status of official language of Paraguay. Paraguay stands out among South American countries because of its particular history which has resulted in a relatively stable situation of bilingualism of Spanish and Guaraní.
The second story is about the modernist construction of language, i. e., language in the conceptual realm, and the embedding of a politics of social inequality in this language ideology. It unites a critical perspective on a formal view of language and its roots in European Philosophy (Locke, Herder) with a more general critique of the “deprovincialization” (Chakrabarty) of Western scientific discourse. These two issues converge in the analysis of the Boasian culture concept that has been at the center of anthropo logical debates in recent decades. They are employed here for a critical perspective on the dominant language ideology of monoglot standard as present in modern nation-states. The paradoxical prominence of this ideology in a bilingual country like Paraguay where it produces not one but two standards and a negative perception of everyday communicative practices alongside is the primary concern of this book.