Transatlantic context for Gaelic language revitalisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The notion of the ‘new speaker’, and its salience particularly in relation to minority language sociolinguistics, has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade. The term refers to individuals who have acquired an additional language to high levels of oracy and make frequent use of it in the course of their lives. Language advocates in both Scotland and Nova Scotia emphasise the crucial role of new speakers in maintaining Gaelic on both sides of the Atlantic. As a result, Gaelic language teaching has been prioritised by policymakers as a mechanism for revitalising the language in both polities. This article examines reflexes of this policy in each country, contrasting the ongoing fragility of Gaelic communities with new speaker discourses around heritage, identity, and language learning motivations. Crucially, I argue that challenging sociodemographic circumstances in Gaelic communities in Scotland and Nova Scotia contrast with current policy discourses, and with new speaker motivations for acquiring higher levels of Gaelic oracy in North America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalStudia Celtica Posnaniensia
Issue number1
Early online date4 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • language ideology
  • motivation
  • heritage language acquisition
  • diaspora
  • language revitalisation
  • heritage
  • revitalisation


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