Lecture: Creating Borders
On the Instrumentalization of Linguistic Research
Some linguists may study centuries-old documents to learn about the relationship of Latin and Italian, others may collect data on Language Attitudes in border regions. How does this seemingly innocent preoccupation interact with the power play of politics? Ladin, a romance language situated in five Alpine valleys in Northern Italy, provides a good example. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, the language territory fell in the hands of several European empires. At the same time, scholars’ assessment of Ladin ranged from being nothing more than an Italian dialect to being the most original descendant of Latin. The talk will argue that these scholarly evaluations play an integral role justifiying processes of border creation.