ISBN is

978-0-226-76289-0 / 0226762890

Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand

by Smalley, William A.

Publisher:University Of Chicago Press

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Unlike other multi-ethnic nations, such as Myanmar and India, where official language policy has sparked bloody clashes, Thailand has maintained relative stability despite its eighty languages. In this study of the relations among politics, geography, and language, William A. Smalley shows how Thailand has maintained national unity through an elaborate social and linguistic hierarchy.

Smalley contends that because the people of Thailand perceive their social hierarchy as the normal order, Standard Thai, spoken by members of the higher levels of society, prevails as the uncontested national language. By examining the hierarchy of Thailand's diverse languages and dialects in light of Thai history, education, culture, and religion, Smalley shows how Thailand has been able to keep its many ethnic groups at peace.

Linguistic Diversity and National Unity explores the intricate relationship between language and power and the ways in which social and linguistic rank can be used to perpetuate order.

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