Linguistic genocide or linguicide?
A discussion of terminology in forced language loss
Keywords:linguistic genocide, linguicide, language loss, language death
Forced language loss is a reality for many communities around the world and language loss brings with it an entire spectrum of negativities. This article examines two of the most common terms that are used in linguistics for forced language loss – linguistic genocide and linguicide. The terms are almost synonymous and recognize that the ultimate aim of forced language loss is usually forced assimilation or the destruction of group identity. However, through a critical reading of both terms, linguicide is argued as the preferred term for use in linguistics as linguistic genocide gives rise to linguistic essentialist positions that may harm communities that have suffered forced language loss.