The importance of unimportant language


  • Jan Blommaert
  • Piia Varis



In a recent paper, the Australian historian, Martyn Lyons (2013), reviews his attempts to study ‘history from below’, using what can be called grassroots writing by French and Italian soldiers of the Great War. Lyons remarks that the ‘First World War produced a flood of letter-writing by peasants whose literary capacity has often been underestimated’ (Lyons 2013: 5). In France, no less than 10,000 million postal items were dispatched during the war, huge numbers of those being letters and cards written by soldiers from the frontlines to their loved ones.




How to Cite

Blommaert, J., & Varis, P. (2017). The importance of unimportant language. Multilingual Margins: A Journal of Multilingualism from the Periphery, 2(1), 4.