Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Speaking Like a State
Language and Nationalism in Pakistan

$34.00 ( ) USD

Award Winner
  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511590375

$ 34.00 USD ( )
Adobe eBook Reader

You will be taken to for this purchase
Buy eBook Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, Hardback

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Alyssa Ayres' fascinating study examines Pakistan's troubled history by exploring the importance of culture to political legitimacy. Early leaders selected Urdu as the natural symbol of the nation's great cultural past, but due to its limited base great efforts would be required to make it truly national. This paradox underscores the importance of cultural policies for national identity formation. By comparing Pakistan's experience with those of India and Indonesia, the author analyzes how their national language policies led to very different outcomes. The lessons of these large multiethnic states offer insights for the understanding of culture, identity, and nationalism throughout the world. The book is aimed at scholars in the fields of history, political theory and South Asian studies, as well as those interested in the history of culture and nationalism in one of the world's most complex, and challenging, countries.


    • Winner of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies Book Prize 2011–12

    Reviews & endorsements

    “Alyssa Ayres has written an important and compelling account of the impact and influence of language and culture on one of the twentieth century’s most dramatic stories—the creation of Pakistan as the very first nation born of a religion. She reveals the extraordinary story of the role that language has played in shaping nationalism and culture in modern Pakistan. Dr. Ayres is one of our finest experts on the history, culture and politics of South Asia”
    -Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Harvard University and formerly U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

    “An important study into the complexities of language and history in Pakistan which offers unique insights into the fragility of Pakistan as a nation. No country in the world is more important to America than Pakistan and this book helps us understand it better."
    -Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

    “Today, when all eyes are focused on Pakistan … Alyssa Ayres has provided an insightful analysis of Pakistan’s domestic cultural complexities. … Ayres brings cultural issues and trends squarely into the discourse of national polity. This is a rare feat.”
    -Vishakha N. Desai, President, Asia Society

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511590375
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of tables
    Note on transliteration
    1. Articulating a new nation
    2. Urdu and the nation
    3. The nation and its margins
    4. The case of Punjab, part I: elite efforts
    5. The case of Punjab, part II: popular culture
    6. History and local absence
    7. Bringing back the local past
    8. Speaking like a state: language planning
    9. Religion, nation, language
    10. Conclusion

  • Author

    Alyssa Ayres, McLarty Associates, Washington


    • Winner of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies Book Prize 2011–12

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.