Beware of the weeds : understanding Flemish linguistic purism as a utopian discourse
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
International journal of the sociology of language. - The Hague, 1974, currens
, p. 1-24
University of Antwerp
Research into linguistic purism often reflects a critical, if not contemptuous attitude towards its subject of inquiry. The reasons for this are purists prescriptivist stance, as well as their frequent association with ethno-linguistic nationalism, an ideology in moral disrepute. We argue that this approach of purism produces blind spots. Following Pratts suggestion, we reconsider linguistic purism in this article as the effect of a utopian discourse and show how a desire for (linguistic) purity is at the very heart of the project of modernity. We apply our theoretical framework to the history of purism in modern Flanders (nineteenth to twenty-first century).