Immersion education outcomes and the Gaelic community: Identities and language ideologies among Gaelic-medium educated adults in Scotland

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Abstract

Scholars have consistently theorised that language ideologies can influence the ways in which bilingual speakers in minority language settings identify and engage with the linguistic varieties available to them. Research conducted by the author examined the interplay of language use and ideologies among a purposive sample of adults who started in Gaelic-medium education during the first years of its availability. Crucially, the majority of participants’ Gaelic use today is limited, although notable exceptions were found among individuals who were substantially socialised in the language at home during childhood, and a small number of new speakers. In this paper I draw attention to some of the language ideologies that interviewees conveyed when describing their cultural identifications with Gaelic. I argue that the ideologies that informants express seem to militate against their more frequent use of the language and their association with the wider Gaelic community. In particular, I discuss interviewees’ negative perceptions of the traditionally defined, ethnolinguistic identity category ‘Gael(s)’ in their expression of language ideologies and identities, and the implications of this finding for other contexts of minority language revitalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-741
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume38
Issue number8
Early online date28 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • bilingual education
  • language revitalisation
  • language ideologies
  • cultural identity
  • Gaelic-medium education

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