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‘We Don’t Say It Like That’: Language Ownership and (De)Legitimising the New Speaker

  • Julia Sallabank
  • Yan Marquis
Chapter

Abstract

In Guernsey (Channel Islands) there is a distinct lack of fluent new speakers of the indigenous language, Giernesiei. Examination of debates and unstated ideologies surrounding language teaching and revitalisation reveals that there is a degree of unwillingness to share the language, since effective learning of Giernesiei might undermine traditional speakers’ language ‘ownership’. This chapter relates these two facets of the mismatch between ideologies and practices, and discusses possible reasons and solutions. The idealised ‘traditionalist’ perception of Giernesiei conflicts with the unexpectedly rich and complex variation (both dialectal and diachronic) revealed by our documentary research. We present a taxonomy of reactions to variation in Giernesiei, which confirms and extends the findings of Jaffe in Corsica (Language Ecologies and the Meaning of Diversity: Corsican Bilingual Education and the Concept of ‘Polynomie’. In A. Creese, P. Martin & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education (2nd ed., Vol. IX: Ecology of Language, pp. 225–236). Berlin: Springer, 2008).

Keywords

Guernsey Giernesiei Language ownership Language variation Language change Language ideologies 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Sallabank
    • 1
  • Yan Marquis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, SOASUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Freelance researcherLanguage teacher and translator based in GuernseyTortevalUK

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