Oracy in contemporary Gaelic: Conceptions of fluency and its perceived decline subsequent to immersion schooling

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Abstract

Notwithstanding the considerable extent of intergenerational disruption within contemporary Gaelic communities in Scotland, the development of national language policy has tended to focus on Gaelic-medium, immersion education (GME) as a means of revitalising the language. Gaelic education is prioritised alongside increasing language use and promoting a positive image of the language in the most recent iteration of the National Gaelic Language Plan (2018-2023) as was the case in the two previous Plans (Bòrd na Gàidhlig 2007, 2012). Yet fine-grained and mixed methodological research conducted by the author found extensive evidence that Gaelic tends not to be used to a substantial degree by former-GME students, years after their formal schooling is completed. In this article I focus on previously unpublished qualitative data which illustrate understandings of oracy and fluency among interview participants (N=46) and their perceptions of language attrition since attending immersion education in childhood. As the analysis of interview material shows, such demonstrable attrition of Gaelic oracy years after immersion provides clear challenges to current language planning priorities in Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Celtic Linguistics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • oracy
  • Gaelic-medium education
  • Bilingualism
  • language ideologies

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