Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.654175
Title: Periphery of the periphery? : adult learners of Scottish Gaelic and reversal of language shift
Author: MacCaluim, Alasdair
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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Abstract:
Due to the advanced state which Gaelic-English language shift has reached in Scotland, Gaelic learners are now increasingly recognised as having a central role in reversing this process. The present detailed study of adult learners of Scottish Gaelic was undertaken in order to provide an overview of the contemporary world of the Gaelic learner with particular reference to reversing language shift [RLS]. The infrastructure for Gaelic learning is investigated in detail. It is shown that the present facilities for learning the language and for attracting learners tend to be limited, ad-hoc, fragmented and uncoordinated with several significant gaps in provision and with no overall framework or strategic direction. The weaknesses of the Gaelic learning infrastructure have been reflected in the fact that very few Gaelic learners reach fluency. The social identity of the Gaelic learner is investigated next, looking at the position of the learner within the Gaelic speech community and linking this to the question of RLS. It is argued that the learner occupies a somewhat ambiguous social standing within this community, creating both advantages and disadvantages for the individual learner, but offering many advantages from the point of view of RLS. A large scale questionnaire survey of Gaelic learners was undertaken as part of the study, investigating the social background and motivation of learners, their attitudes towards their language and their impact on regenerating the language. In addition to supporting the arguments made both with regard to the Gaelic learning infrastructure and social identity of learners, it can be shown that learners bring many positive benefits to RLS efforts, including enthusiasm, knowledge of Gaelic issues, pro-Gaelic views, strong motivations for learning, and the provision of a market for Gaelic related goods and services. However, the potential for learners at act as significant force in RLS is not currently being fulfilled due to high average age of learners and the failure of a large majority to reach fluency.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.654175  DOI: Not available
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