Since the above map is only really visible on clicking I thought I would share another map that was better colour-coded.
A book that deeply influenced me as a child was the Clash of Civilisations. I thought Samuel Huntington’s contention that Civilisations correlate to religions was a bit too blunt. However what also influenced me was the first chaptre of Ludwig Von Mises’s book, “Nation, State & Economy.”
It now seems that a Czechoslovak state will be formed to which all Czechs and Slovaks will belong. However, Czechs and Slovaks do not, for that reason, yet form one nation. The dialects from which the Slovak language was formed are extraordinarily close to the dialects of the Czech language, and it is not difficult for a rural Slovak who knows only his own dialect to communicate with Czechs, especial ly Moravians, when the latter speak in their dialect. If the Slovaks, back at the time before they began developing an independent standard language, that is, around the turn from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century, had come into closer political connection with the Czechs, then the development of a Slovak standard language would doubtless no more have occurred than the development of an independent Swabian standard language in Swabia.
Yet for the Low German there are already two possibilities: assimilation to the German or to the Dutch standard language. Which of the two courses he takes is decided neither by linguistic nor genealogical considerations but by political, economic, and social ones. Today there is no longer any purely Plattdeutsch village; at least bilingualism prevails everywhere. If a Plattdeutsch district were to be separated from Germany today and be joined to the Netherlands, with the German school and the German official and judicial language replaced by Dutch ones, then the people affected would see all that as a national rape. Yet one hundred or two hundred years ago, such a separation of a bit of German territory could have been carried out without difficulty, and the descendants of the people who were separated at that time would be just as good Hollanders today as
they in fact are good Germans today.
The whole chapter is an interesting read but I always remember the Plattdeutsch example as a particularly striking one. I prefer to marry the two theories that nations do ultimately group into civilisations. The manner into which they do so isn’t black and white but isn’t so gray either.
When language and script do coincide it’s a perfect national and civilization overlap. When it doesn’t that’s when it gets interesting. Huge swathes of Latin America have significant and prominent indigenous language speakers; it seems there that Spanish culture is the “High Culture” that’s still assimilating the indigenous Quechua, Guarani and Aymara linguistic traditions.