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The Fall of Language in the Age of English$
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Minae Mizumura

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163026

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163026.001.0001

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People Around the World Writing in External Languages

People Around the World Writing in External Languages

(p.72) 3. People Around the World Writing in External Languages
The Fall of Language in the Age of English

Minae Mizumura

, Mari Yoshihara, Juliet Winters Carpenter
Columbia University Press

This chapter presents Minae Mizumura's arguments regarding external language—that people, since discovering language, did not read and write the language they spoke, and that they communicated through the language of a neighboring civilization that exerted influence. These languages are referred to by Mizumura as universal languages. Mizumura develops her argument around three main concepts: universal language, local language, and national language. In explaining her notion, Mizumura draws from Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities: Reflection on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983) as a foundation. She focuses on Anderson's understanding of the formation of national languages through nationalism. The chapter examines how, during the Enlightenment period, Europeans began to ignore Greek and Latin in their pursuit of knowledge, and thus read and write in their own languages. It concludes how this “golden age” of national languages ended as a result of the rise of the novel as a literary genre.

Keywords:   Minae Mizumura, external language, civilization, influence, universal languages, local language, national language, Benedict Anderson, novel

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