Creating Languages: Politics and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Talk for the Graduate School (Astra Program), organized by Dr Olaf Mertelsmann (Dept of History) and Dr Anastasiya Astapova (Dept of Russian)
Abstract: Languages as we know them are an actualization of the Western (Graeco-Roman) concept of 'a language' (Einzelsprache), steeped in the binary opposition between the oral and the written. Beginning with the turn of 20th century, nationalism in central Europe has been steeped in language, proposing that Language = Nation = State. Hence, in this region, languages have been created and destroyed as much as nation-states, the story of the parallel split of Yugoslavia and Serbo-Croatian being a case in point. The story continues, the little noticed 2014 adoption of language as the definition of the Russian nation, entails the necessity of 'broadening' Russia's boundaries for the sake of fitting them better to the spatial distribution of Russian-speakers.
Period17 Apr 2019
Held atUniversity of Tartu, Estonia
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Einzelsprache
  • Unit of the linguistic
  • languages
  • Central Europe
  • ethnolinguistic nationalism