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Title: The role of employment in Gaelic language maintenance and development
Author: Galloway, John M. K.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1995
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The thesis contends that the fundamental problem affecting the status and condition of minority languages is the lack of a sound economic base, due, historically, to a decline in the speech-communities' access to resources and the power to exploit them. In contrast, majority languages are supported by relatively vibrant economies, with knowledge of the languages concerned a necessary requirement for participation: the use of language and the viability of the economic base are reciprocal and mutually reinforcing. The intrusion of the language of an economically strong community into another community's work practices is the initial breach which commences the process of language shift; the extent to which a language is used in the world of work is an indicator of the strength of economic base. Following a description of the historical and social factors shaping the current circumstances of Gaelic, and an outline of the thesis's economic premise, a report is given on the results of a survey carried out to discover the extent of the use of Gaelic in the world of work, in particular the number of posts, and the fields of work, for which a knowledge of the language was deemed desirable or essential. To gain perspective on the Gaelic data, a comparative study is made of other minority languages, to explore the relationship between language condition and use in the work domain, and to discover any particular practices and policies utilised elsewhere which might be applicable to Gaelic. A review of relevant aspects of sociolinguistic theory is presented, with particular reference to the Gaelic situation: language use within society; language shift, decline, death and revival and restoration; the association of language with identity and nationalism, and the connection between language, economics, and language planning. The political context affecting Gaelic is analysed, to take cognisance of the constraints and opportunities moulding the present and future condition of the language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available