The native-non-native dichotomy in minority language contexts
Comparisons between Irish and Galician
In minority language contexts, the aim of language policy and planning initiatives is frequently to enhance their survival prospects by increasing individuals’ knowledge and use of such languages in a variety of social contexts. The success of such policies depends on a variety of factors. These include the ability of policy to encourage maintenance of the language amongst existing speakers (the so-called ‘native’ speakers of the language) and its revival amongst individuals in the community who no longer speak it and who have become ‘native’ speakers of another language, typically, the dominant language. However, the task of policy makers and language planners is often made more difficult by sociolinguistic, socio-economic, socio-geographical and ideological differences between ‘native’ speakers and ‘non-native’ newcomers to the language. Rather than forming a unified speech community, ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ speakers of the minority language very often see themselves as being socially and linguistically incompatible. The purpose of this article is to examine the native-non-native dichotomy in two minority language contexts: Irish in the Republic of Ireland and Galician in the Autonomous Community of Galicia.
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