Abstract of: Language policy and use in the Lodz ghetto 1940-1944


William Bostock

The complex relationship between language and survival at individual and collective levels is manifested in the records which remain from the ghetto at Lodz. The ghetto was a highly multilingual community which functioned mainly trilingually in its administration. Language use focussed on survival and assisted in responding to this imperative by allowing the communication of hope and the expression of grief, both actual and anticipatory. The specialised functions of the seven major languages of the ghetto are considered. Some general conclusions about the fundamentality of language to human experience in extreme conditions are considered in the light of theorising about language and grief.
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