What branch of linguistics deals with the relationship between languages and hegemony, such as, for example - when Classical Latin became the official language of the Roman Empire, alongside Greek, and also alongside languages of then conquered lands. Is there a branch of linguistics focusing on the connectedness between hegemony and languages?

Perhaps a more alternative accurate term for hegemony would be 'military dominance', or 'cultural dominance', resulting in new words entering daily specialist and general use.

Certainly, the ancient era saw many new concepts, such as theatre in ancient Greece, and politics in ancient Rome.

In more contemporary times, considering Welsh for example, and the impacts made by many years of political struggle, which apparently led to a decline of the language. This example especially made me realise that the potential (longevity, adaption to new concepts) of any language depends on its dominance over other competing languages (i.e. 'languages' meaning integral aspects of [a] society, norms, economy, culture).

I would, finally, like to make one observation. It seems to me, if any one nation were to succeed in establishing a permanent hegemony (social, cultural, political means), then it may be inevitable that eventually all nations would adopt the dominant language, and ultimately its social and cultural ideals. Is this the ultimate destiny of the majority of contemporary languages - to become dominant or extinct, resulting in only one common language. In Wales, the view is: a strong economy is necessary for a thriving Welsh (identity and language) society and culture. In fact, history shows a language becomes dominant through the processes of hegemony, where languages succeed and become dominant through popular acceptance and adoption - e.g. Welsh is sometimes considered a harder language to learn and use compared to English, which is arguably one cause for its decline. On the other hand, many people define their whole identity according to the historical significance of Welsh, which in turn becomes the counter-force against the more popular (globally understood) English language, though great effort is made to ensure Welsh equivalent to new English words are actually Welsh, rather than anglicised Welsh. However, the Internet is an English invention adopted by every nation, including its new words and phrases.

  • Exactly what do you mean by "hegemony", for example is the relationship between Hollywood and Kansas City an example of "hegemony"; are you only interested in Ancient Greece? Although it's generally relegated to sociolinguistics, most sociolinguistics is about scientific study rather than politics ideology, which is what your question sounds like.
    – user6726
    Mar 7, 2021 at 20:20
  • I admit, hegemony is a modern perspective on the study of languages, since I do not know for certain what the rulers of ancient Romans or Greeks intended through conquest - since both civilisations permitted multiple languages to be spoken and religions to be worshipped (as a strategy for general social adoption/integration). Yes - I mean the study of how languages are both used for, or result in, social/cultural/economic dominance, whether intentional (empire) or as a natural occurring phenomena resulting from economic activity and dominance.
    – user31457
    Mar 7, 2021 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


Sociolinguistics studies the relationship between language and social context, including cultural aspects such as hegemony.


It is quite clear that the dominance of some languages in history, like Akkadian, Greek, Latin, French and now English is directly linked to demographic, economic and/or political issues. If the USA would speak Russian or Swahili, then that would be the world language. Greek had its own period of glory, and it's not an easy language.

  • Yes, in the past dominance was a result of military power. Today, it is (also) the result of economic/social/cultural power. I think my observation points to both the theoretical and practical consequence of hegemony - but I would also like to consider linguistics and languages from the perspective of both theoretical and human perspectives, since history reveals humanity is driven ultimately by a need to dominate people/s and nature. Language is an intellectual tool, from which many things emerge, e,g,: society and culture, which serve to bind collective consciousness to ever evolving ideals.
    – user31457
    Mar 8, 2021 at 19:36

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