The shift to Hebrew as a national language is at the root of the creation of Israel, yet many Jewish former immigrants still use the language of their country of origin. Ultra-orthodox communities retain their own codes, and the use of Arabic remains a clear marker of the Israeli-Arab town and village. At the same time Israel's position in international affairs has encouraged a wide penetration of the society, along class lines, by languages of world-wide communication. These very same languages, for example English and French, have different values in their local context, and play active, and different, roles in the formation of social boundaries. In his analysis Eliezer Ben-Rafael focuses on linguistic resources and symbols which reflect and reveal the complex structure of class, ethnic, religious, and national identities and cleavages in Israeli society. More generally, he uses the Israeli case to show how sociolinguistic ideas may be related to sociological approaches to test some general sociological propositions about social aspects of language use.
Publisher: Oxford University Press