Sociolinguistics from the Periphery: Small Languages in New Circumstances

Professor Helen Kelly Holmes (CALS/School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics) recently co-authored a new book, Sociolinguistics from the Periphery: Small Languages in New Circumstances

This book examines change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users. The authors refer to this network of interlinked changes as the new conditions surrounding small languages (Sámi, Corsican, Irish and Welsh) in peripheral sites. Starting from the conviction that peripheral sites can and should inform the sociolinguistics of globalisation, the book explores how new modes of reflexivity, more transactional frames for authenticity, commodification of peripheral resources, and boundary-transgression with humour, all carry forward change. These types of change articulate a blurring of binary oppositions between centre and periphery, old and new, and standard and non-standard. Such research is particularly urgent in multilingual small language contexts, where different conceptualisations of language(s), boundaries, and speakers impact on individuals’ social, cultural, and economic capital, and opportunities.


Sari PietikäinenUniversity of Jyväskylä, Finland
Sari Pietikäinen is Professor of Discourse Studies in the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Alexandra JaffeCalifornia State University, Long Beach
Alexandra Jaffe is the author of Ideologies in Action (1999), a prize-winning book on language politics on Corsica.

Helen Kelly-HolmesUniversity of Limerick
Professor Helen Kelly-Holmes is Professor of Applied Languages, and Director of the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

Nik CouplandUniversity of Technology, Sydney
Nik Coupland is Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University, and Honorary Professor at the Department of Nordic Research, University of Copenhagen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s