Revivalistics : From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond

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In this book, Ghil'ad Zuckermann introduces revivalistics, a new trans-disciplinary field of enquiry surrounding language reclamation, revitalization, and reinvigoration. Applying lessons from the Hebrew revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to contemporary endangered languages, Zuckermann takes readers along a fascinating and multifaceted journey into language revival and provides new insights into language genesis.

Beginning with a critical analysis of Israeli-the language resulting from the Hebrew revival-Zuckermann's radical theory contradicts conventional accounts of the Hebrew revival and challenges the family tree model of historical linguistics. Revivalistics demonstrates how grammatical cross-fertilization with the revivalists' mother tongues is inevitable in the case of successful "revival languages." The second part of the book then applies these lessons from the Israeli language to
revival movements in Australia and globally, describing the "why" and "how" of revivalistics. With examples from the Barngarla Aboriginal language of South Australia, Zuckermann proposes ethical, aesthetic, and utilitarian reasons for language revival and offers practical methods for reviving languages.

Based on years of the author's research, fieldwork, and personal experience with language revivals all over the globe, Revivalistics offers ground-breaking theoretical and pragmatic contributions to the field of language reclamation, revitalization, and reinvigoration.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 24mm | 506g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199812799
  • 9780199812790
  • 873,251

Table of contents


Notes on Phoentic Transcription, Transliteration, Native Orthography, and Translation


Chapter One: The Hebrew Reclamation: Myth and Reality

Chapter Two: 'Nother Tongue: Subconscious Cross-Fertilization between Hebrew and its Revivalists' Mother Tongues

Chapter Three: Defying Religion and Deifying Nationhood: Conscious Ideological Secularization of Hebrew Terms

Chapter Four: Realistic Prescriptivism: The Hebrew Language Academy and the Native Speaker

Chapter Five: Shift happens: Tarbutomics, Israeli Culturomics

Chapter Six: 'Stop, Revive, Survive': Revivalistics From the 'Promised Land' to the 'Lucky Country'

Chapter Seven: Talknology in the service of the Barngarla language reclamation

Chapter Eight: Native Tongue Title: Compensation for Linguicide

Chapter Nine: Our Ancestors are Happy: Language Revival and Mental Health

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Review quote

Revivalistics is a masterpiece that is both scholarly and social-minded [...] groundbreaking. * Dr Timothy Haines, The Australian Journal of Anthropology * brilliant...better seen as two books * Prof. Bernard Spolsky, 2021, Review of Revivalistics, Hebrew Higher Education 23. * Milestone book * Shane Desiatnik, Australian Jewish News * Zuckermann is a polyglot polymath and revivalistics is an ambitious volume * Rokhl Kafrissen, the cultural critic * Will be referred to for many years to come * Gil Robertson, Historian , Port Lincoln Times * very important * - Prof. Norman Simms, 2020. Review of Ghil'ad Zuckermann, ''Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond''. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020; Mentalities/Mentalites 34.1. * exuberant * Dr Hilary Smith, 2021, Review of Revivalistics, TESOLANZ (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Aotearoa New Zealand) News, Volume 37, Issue 1, Autumn 2021, p. 23. * Zuckermann aims to ground Revivalistics in an ethics of wellbeing, and hence a utilitarian case for revival, linked to methodological practices of bottom-up community led but expert-supported, activity [...] Ideological considerations [...] are inextricably bound up in all the processes he discusses, from the secular/religious/national debates related to Hebrew [...] to the linguicide (language killing) and glottophagy (language eating) relations of domination in
settler colonial history, both part of an historically extended set of linguistic injustices that colonisation wreaked upon the Indigenous populations of Australia." "These two cases, Hebrew and Barngarla, underscore the critical need for historicization of the circumstances of languages weakened by
political events and the ideologies that produced those events * Prof. Joseph Lo Bianco, 2020, "Ideologies of sign language and their repercussions in language policy determination", Language & Communication 75: 83-93. * A must read for anyone interested in the field of endangered languages and language revival ... a sensitively and brilliantly written work. * Arathi Raghunathan, Sociolinguistic Studies * To linguists Ghil'ad Zuckermann is already something of a hero. This book shows why. Professor Zuckermann's account of his work with language reclamation and salvation is as fascinating, enthralling and gripping as any great fictional adventure story, but with a purpose and meaning greater and more noble than any Allan Quatermain or Indiana Jones. * Stephen Fry * In Revivalistics, technically rigorous in content yet approachable in presentation, Ghil'ad Zuckermann mounts a persuasive argument that the language spoken by ordinary Israelis is best thought of as a hybrid. He uses the story of the successful revival of Hebrew to propose how near-extinct Aboriginal languages of Australia can be brought back to life with immeasurable benefit to their traditional owners. With a multitude of the world's languages staring
oblivion in the face, this will be a key text for the new discipline that Zuckermann calls revivalistics. * JM Coetzee * Zuckermann is a polymath as well as a polyglot and Revivalistics is a brilliant study, challenging the conventional wisdom in its field, making good use of comparative material, sparkling with perceptive one-liners and making an eloquent argument for the revival of endangered languages. * Peter Burke, University of Cambridge * Zuckermann gives a linguist's insider view of his native tongue, Hebrew as they now speak it in Israel, including its rollicking humor. He shows how a language could literally 'arise from the dead' but also how different is the task of reviving other languages today. * Nicholas Ostler, Foundation for Endangered Languages *
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About Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Ghil'ad Zuckermann is Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He is a chief investigator in a large research project assessing language revival and mental health, funded by Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council. He is elected fellow of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, board member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, and President of
the Australian Association for Jewish Studies.
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