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Language, ethnicity and religion: a complex and persistent linkage

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Among the markers of ethnonational identity, language and religion have figured with equal prominence. In many cases, religion has been the bedrock of nation-building; and even today, it is difficult to separate a number of national identities from their religious matrices. Religious identity is based on, and perpetuated in, narratives expressed in a specific language. Language and religion are related; in our secular age, however, that relationship is no longer consistent. The two may feed upon one another; language may substitute for religion; or religion may trump language. This article explores the varying relationships between language and religion.
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Keywords: clergy; diaspora; liturgy; nation-building; secularism; vernacular

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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