Item Details

Taming Babel: Language in the Making of Malaysia

Rachel Leow (University of Cambridge)
Format
Book
Published
Cambridge, United Kingdom : Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Language
English
ISBN
9781107148536, 1107148537, 9781316602607, 1316602605
Summary
"Taming Babel sheds new light on the role of language in the making of modern postcolonial Asian nations. Focusing on one of the most linguistically diverse territories in the British Empire, Rachel Leow explores the profound anxieties generated by a century of struggles to govern the polyglot subjects of British Malaya and postcolonial Malaysia. The book ranges across a series of key moments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in which British and Asian actors wrought quiet battles in the realm of language: in textbooks and language classrooms; in dictionaries, grammars and orthographies; in propaganda and psychological warfare; and in the very planning of language itself. Every attempt to tame Chinese and Malay languages resulted in failures of translation, competence, and governance, exposing both the deep fragility of a monoglot state in polyglot milieux, and the essential untameable nature of languages in motion"--
Contents
  • Part I. The Colonial State
  • The technocrats : challenges of governance in a polyglot society
  • The knowledge producers : taming sounds, scripts, and selves
  • Part II. Word Wars
  • The lexicographers : dictionaries and the making of postwar politics
  • The propagandists : public relations, psychological warfare and the making of the influential state
  • Part III. The Postcolonial State
  • The language planners : Dewan Bahasa in the invention and constriction of the postcolonial nation-state .
Description
xx, 261 pages : map ; 24 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 231-255) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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    a| Language policy z| Malaysia x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Language policy z| Malaysia x| History y| 20th century.
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    a| Multilingualism x| Political aspects z| Malaysia x| History.
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