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
  • 788,128

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

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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * This groundbreaking linguistic manuscript is wide-ranging in its scope. . . . Zuckermann seeks to use the experience of the Hebrew revival to assist Barngarla, and through Barngarla, other Australian and global languages, in the process of revival. This is not the first Aboriginal language to undergo revival, but Zuckermann's remarkable achievement came at the time, and arguably assisted in the process, of the recognition of the Barngarla people's native title. . . .
Revivalistics is a masterpiece that is both scholarly and social-minded. * Timothy Haines, The Australian Journal of Anthropology *
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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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