Language as an instrument of nationalism in Central Europe

T. D.I. Kamusella*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents a brief survey and analysis of the most intimate coupling of culture and national projects that occurred in Central Europe following the success of the Italian and German nation-states established in this manner during the third quarter of the nineteenth century. Language is the very 'stuff' of culture as well as the instrument of communicating and reaffirming cultural difference vis-à-vis other cultures. As such, language became central to the processes of nation- and nation-state-building in Central Europe, leading to politicisation of language and also of linguistics and philology, which were expected to fortify the nations and their nation-states than rather to lend themselves to objective research. It is proposed that this specific Central European interweaving of language and national projects may be better comprehended through the application of Einar Haugen's model of language standardisation and Miroslav Hroch's model of nation-building. These two models in the Central European case seem to be closely corresponding to each other. The short catalogue of language elements used to produce national differentiation closes this contribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-251
Number of pages17
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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