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Book Review


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Publication Title

Language in Society



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Language and the state contains two formal papers, plus the questions and answers that followed each. The occasion was a Current Issues in Language and Society seminar held at the University of Birmingham in September 1995; the speakers were Bernard Spolsky of the Language Policy Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Israel (“Conditions for language revitalization: A comparison of the cases of Hebrew and Maori”), and Muiris Ó Laoire of the Irish Language Department, University College Galway, Ireland (“An historical perspective on the revival of Irish outside the Gaeltacht, 1880–1930, with reference to the revitalization of Hebrew”). Perhaps because Israel and Ireland constitute a rare pair of cases in which the energies and resources of the state have been devoted to the promotion of a language spoken by relatively few at the time of the state's official formation, the volume's title is framed in terms of those two cases alone. But this seriously downplays the value of Spolsky's discussion of Maori revitalization efforts, which greatly enhances the book's contribution, and in fact makes this a book that no one deeply concerned with small-language revitalization efforts should miss.



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