ABSTRACT

This is a book review of Kasuya Keisuke’s Language, Hegemony andPower, which was translated by Ko, Young-jin & Hyung, Jinni, andpublished by Somyong in 2016. Section I looks at Kasuya’s analysis of thegeneral grammar of several ideologues during the French Revolution, andthe consequent creation of a new civil society, through a comparison withChomsky & Foucault’s understanding of general grammar. Section IIdiscusses a central theme of the book:the fresh perspective which theauthor introduces on the relationship between Gramsci’s theory ofhegemony and the language problems associated with modernity. Theauthor argues that it is impossible to properly understand the idea of ‘a national language’ without considering the device of hegemony, whichconstitutes a new style of power operation in modern times. Section IIIdeals with Kasuya’s evolutionary theory of a ‘national language,’ andaddresses the problem of how a ‘holistic view’ of a language can be formed,which is another core concept of this book. The holistic view of any specificlanguage is based on the modern perspective that a language becomesindigenous to a certain territory, and this holistic view is closely related withthe ‘holistic function’ which is determined by social power relations. SectionIV examines the problem of the conquest of linguistic modernity byfocusing on some keywords mentioned by the author of the book. Thesekeywords are mostly concerned with three problems:that a ‘nationallanguage’ does not allow the function sharing possible with multiplelanguages;that a modern prose style assumes the existence of a neutral,unmarked language;and that the concept of a speech communitypresupposes one single language.

KEYWORD

language, hegemony, power, general grammar, civil society, National Language, Holistic View of Language, Overcoming Modernity

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