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Book: The Five-Minute Linguist

Chapter: 45. Why Do People Fight Over Language?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38165


Language differences tend to be powerful markers of social, cultural, and political differences. Where there are conflicts over language, there are typically also struggles over territory, religion, political power, and other matters. Such conflicts may give rise to tensions that persist for many years, affecting the lives of millions on a daily basis. If they go unresolved, they may even lead to large-scale violence such as war and genocide.

Chapter Contributors

  • Paul B. Garrett ( - pgarrett2) 'Temple University'