Towards thinking ‘more multilingually’

Ahead of Thursday’s event, I thought I would highlight an article I wrote based on LaFS data which has now been made open access through the IReL agreement.  I am very pleased that this article can be open access beyond the institutional repository, as I feel it encapsulates the key findings of the project and provides a springboard for future discussions and debates.

In this article, I argue that Irish acts as a neutral, third space in which the family can engage in language activities together, as in this family (which I have given the pseudonym ‘the Wieniawski family’), the daughters hold power in the majority language—English—while the parents hold power in the minority language, Polish. In making this argument, I align with recent trends in ‘Family Language Policy’ towards more multilingual direction, but in a way which also aligns with stakeholders—especially parents’—particular linguistic goals, i.e. the need to maintain a language with their children, and as part of this maintenance, preserve the boundaries between languages such as Polish and English.  

My aim with the discussion Thursday is to think how we can move past the ‘either/or framings’ in language planning and policy, e.g. the tendency to think in terms of support either immigrant languages or autochthonous minority languages, when in fact, multiple languages and multiple groups and types of speakers in different places can be supported equally.  It is our job now to figure out how to best do that and my hope with Thursday is that we may make some headway in that direction.

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