Language, Religion, and Ethnic Assertiveness

The Growth of Sinhalese Nationalism in Sri Lanka
K. N. O. Dharmadasa
Explores the relationship of Sinhalese nationalism to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka


Praise / Awards

  • "[Dharmadasa] has done a great service in providing scholars with the first comprehensive study to date of the rise of Sinhala language nationalism in Sri Lanka. Basing his account on tracts, speeches, newspapers, dramas, novels, and grammars previously uncited in the scholarship, Professor Dharmadasa cogently recovers the origins of Sinhala language loyalty during the mid-nineteenth century and chronicles its growth and development (which climaxed in the General Elections of 1956.)"
    --Anthropological Linguistics
  • ". . . a remarkable case study of the central role language can play in cultural formation identity; in addition to Sri Lanka specialists, scholars with theoretical and comparative interest in the anthropology and sociology of language should find this book most stimulating and informative."
    --Anthropological Linguistics
  • ". . . rich in detail about language issues and nationalism."
    --Journal of the Danish Ethnographic Society

Look Inside


Transliteration and Pronunciation of Sinhala words - xi

Introduction - 1

1. Sinhalese National Consciousness: Early Nineteenth-Century Manifestations - 5

2. The Triumph of English and the Emergence of Sinhala Language Loyalty - 27

3. The Sinhala Language as a Nationalist Cause - 47

4. The Nineteenth-Century Buddhist Revival - 87

5. Revivalism, Social Mobilization, and the Sinhala Language - 115

6. Identity, Language, and Modernization - 155

7. Political Developments and the Position of the Vernacular - 189

8. The Politicalization of Language Loyalty: A Bid to Make Sinhala the Official Language - 239

9. The Aftermath, 1943-90 - 307

Appendix: Biographical Notes on Important Personalities Mentioned in the Text - 321

Abbreviations - 337

Glossary - 339

Bibliography - 343

Index - 363

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 384pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10288-4

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  • $94.95 U.S.