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Negotiating the politics of language

[journal article]

Mann, Robin

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Abstract Since 2001, political concerns over social and ethnic cohesion have stimulated new debates over citizenship and belonging in the UK. A central feature of which has been a civic requirement of new citizens to learn English. Such a debate however coincides with concerns around in-migration in Wales, and the highly contested notion that non-Welsh speakers have a civic responsibility to learn Welsh. This article aims to explore the contradictions between these two cases via research with adult language learners in Wales — a group often ignored within literature on language, identity and citizenship. In analysing learners' discourses, the article identifies the ways in which learners come to terms with such notions of responsibility. However, the article argues that by positioning language learning in Wales in relation to the development of Welsh civic institutions, and by locating learning itself as a means of expressing such civic identification to place, so the demands for linguistic accommodation by monolingual English speakers may be increasingly articulated.
Free Keywords adult language learning; civic responsibility; linguistic accommodation; Welsh Language;
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 208-224
Journal Ethnicities, 7 (2007) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)