Creating languages in Central Europe: a longue durée perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Languages are made into discrete entities, as we know them nowadays, from the ‘mass of the continuous linguistic’ by the technology of writing in the service of power centers, usually state capitals. All the choices made on the way – planned or not – amount to standardization (homogenization, or doing away with territorial and social particularities and inconsistences), which intensifies the bigger a percentage of population are literate. Long lasting extant states and religion decidedly shaped the constellation of written languages across (Central) Europe. This constellation, having emerged in the 10th-11th centuries was dramatically remade during the religious wars with the emergence of printing, from the 15th-17th centuries, heralding a growing correlation between vernaculars and written languages, first in Catholic and Protestant Europe, during the 18th-19th centuries in Orthodox Europe, and only in the 20th century in Islamic Europe. The last century also saw the implementation of the political principle of ethnolinguistic nationalism – especially in Central Europe – which claims that the nation-state is legitimate only if it is monolingual and monoscriptural, and does not share its official language with another polity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStandard Norms in Written Languages
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical and Comparative Studies Between East and West
EditorsKiyoshi Hara, Patrick Heinrich
Place of PublicationTokyo
PublisherJoshibi University of Art and Design
ISBN (Print)NA
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Central Europe
  • Language creation
  • Language standardiztaion
  • Language politics
  • Script politics
  • Ethnolinguistic nationalism
  • Europe
  • Literacy
  • Script
  • Writing


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating languages in Central Europe: a longue durée perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this