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How it was, how it is, and how it should be : the roots of Czech language revival in Bohemia, 1775-1800

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How it was, how it is, and how it should be : the roots of Czech language revival in Bohemia, 1775-1800

Ascroft, Shirley (2002) How it was, how it is, and how it should be : the roots of Czech language revival in Bohemia, 1775-1800. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis discusses the phenomenon of language revival through an examination of the Czech National Awakening, a literary, philological and eventually politico-national movement that took place in the Czech Lands in the nineteenth century and the only completely successful case of language revival in Europe. Language death is a steadily increasing phenomenon and it is unclear why most attempts at revival meet with either limited or no success. The study focuses on the twenty-five years immediately prior to the Awakening in an attempt to understand how a small, scholarly, eighteenth-century linguistic movement to preserve Czech in the face of the growing power of German grew into a national cause. To this end it explores the significance of the historical background, the importance of changes to the educational system, the roles played by the aristocracy, the Church, and the Czech intelligentsia, and the great social and intellectual upheaval of the late eighteenth century. All these factors had a role in upsetting the delicate linguistic balance in the Czech Lands. The findings show that the Czechs have experienced a history wherein language has always been a chief identifier of ethnic status. At the end of the eighteenth century a new generation of Czech scholars added to this a new spirit of modern nationalism, wherein it began to be important to speak, read, and write Czech in order to participate in the national experience. It is also suggested that the common assumption that language has always been the chief component of nationalism is fallacious. An important factor in modern language revival may be an analysis of the particular national group or groups involved, in order to see how basic language is to their self-identification.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Ascroft, Shirley
Pagination:v, 138 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Education
Date:2002
Thesis Supervisor(s):Lightbown, Patsy M
ID Code:1687
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:21
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:22
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