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Language, Identity and Conflict by Diarmait Mac Giolla Chríost

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9 Language movements, ethnic mobilisation and the state

The height of a political language conflict is reached when all conflict factors are combined in a single symbol, language, and quarrels and struggles in very different areas [politics, economics, administration, education] appear under the heading language conflict. In such cases, politicians and economic leaders also operate on the assumption of language conflict, disregarding the actual underlying causes, and thus continue to feed ‘from above’ the conflict that has arisen ‘from below’, with the result that language assumes much more importance than it had at the outset of the conflict. This language-oriented ‘surface symptom’ then obscures the more deeply rooted, suppressed ‘deeper causes’ ...

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