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Language, mobility and scale in South and Central Asia: a commentary

  • David Britain EMAIL logo


This article aims to present a synthesizing commentary on the collected articles in this special issue on language, transnationalism and globalization in South and Central Asian spaces. In doing so, it focuses on three main themes that the assembled articles speak to: the role of mobility in the varying ways in which transnationalism operates; the importance of scale in understanding contradictions and disjunctions in the way language intersects with global, national and local mobilities; and the need to deconstruct the prioritization of the trans-national over other levels of inter-spatial connection. I conclude, commending the collection, by suggesting that not only do we discover more here about language and transnationalism in these specifically Asian contexts, but also that, in focusing on one specifically non-Western set of spaces, we can learn, in our research on academically more well-trodden parts of the world, about our own ideologies and assumptions about language, about mobility and about global change.


I would like to thank Brook Bolander and Till Mostowlansky for inviting me into their world of research on language and transnationalism in Asia. I have learnt a lot – about language complexes in Asia and thereby about my own perspectives, on language, mobility and, especially, scale. Many thanks go also to the two anonymous reviewers who helped me firm up my argument.


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Published Online: 2017-7-4
Published in Print: 2017-8-28

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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