From the Welsh Border to the World: Travels in Minority Languages
Simon Gwyn Roberts
Language extinction on an enormous scale has been occurring for over a century and has sped up dramatically in the last two decades. This book revolves around travels through the world’s most linguistically diverse regions, taking a comparative approach to the contemporary status of minority languages in the post-web world.
Despite multiple threats, it finds grounds for optimism, suggesting that a natural evolution sees all countries at some point on a trajectory from conflict to compromise: from seeing minority languages as a threat to the power of the centre, through to acceptance, and finally celebrating them as an indicator of internal diversity and cultural vibrancy.
The author discusses ways in which fragile languages can be protected without resorting to exclusivity, hostility, or the ‘othering’ of those seen as threatening to that culture.
The work is underpinned by Wales, with reflections on its place in the modern world and the status and significance of the Welsh language. This is partly as an exemplar of the previously cited ‘evolution’, but also a case study of how a language can thrive in relation to the global dominance of English.
Review extract by Antony Hoyte-West, Studia Celtica Posnaniensia, 5(1), 2020:
In short, From the Welsh Border to the World: Travels in Minority Languages has numerous strengths, including its engaging and accessible style as well as its novel and interesting presentation of the subject matter. It provides a useful panorama of the selected case studies, and the endnotes provide a point of departure for further reading and research on the topics covered. As such, the book is recommended for the generalist reader seeking to familiarise themselves more with minority languages in the global context, as well as for those specialists seeking to gain an alternative perspective on relevant issues. What stands out though, is the work’s comprehensive global reach, which provides a holistic view of the status and use of selected minority languages in today’s world.
Simon Gwyn Roberts, From the Welsh Border to the World: Travels in Minority Languages, 2020, ISBN 978-1-908258-37-3, £14.99.
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