Cristina Diac, A Linguistic Babylon or Competing Linguistic Imperialisms? The Languages Spoken by Communists in Interwar Romania

Cristina Diac - The National Institute for the Study of Totalitarianism – Romanian Academy
TOME IV 1966 1-2
pp. 239-262
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bilingualism; multilingualism; ethnolinguistic nationalism; interwar communism; Comintern studies; language and politics

This article deals with language(s) and politics, more specifically, it aims to discuss the way in which the ability to speak more than one language influenced the political activity of the communist activists in interwar Romania. The linguistic question within the Communist Party of Romania and, in a broader sense, within the communist movement, could be addressed from two perspectives: how the individuals dealt with the language issue and, on the other hand, how the institutions that, altogether, formed the so-called “communist movement” – Communist International with its central and regional bodies, the local parties, the other structures created and driven by Comintern in different parts of the world – managed the linguistic diversity. This article concentrates on the first angle and analyses the methods, decisions, and strategies used by individuals to deal with the linguistic issue.
The paper is organized in two main parts. In the first one, it is explained what languages the first communists spoke then one discusses the attitude toward the Romanian language of those communists who didn’t speak it natively.

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