Hiroshima Peace Science Volume 23
2001 発行


An Essay on the Hierarchy of Languages
Matsuo, Masatsugu
As a preliminary step to the description and explanation of the relationship between languages and social groups in the context of the inequality and conflict among language groups, the present paper attempts at a survey of the phenomenon of the stratification of languages or the hierarchy of languages in a sate or society. This paper tries to present and examine as many cases as possible. And it shows that if we include sub-varieties of an individual language such as dialect, the phenomenon of language stratification or language hierarchy can be found not only in multilingual states or societies, but also in allegedly ""monolingual"" states or societies. Though the present paper focuses exclusively on the hierarchy with three or more languages, these cases are not so rare exceptions as is expected at first. Instead, they are actually rather wide spread throughout the world. This suggests that this phenomenon is worth further exploring.