Language education policy in multilingual Scotland
Opportunities, imbalances and debates
Scotland is a small country yet it has a rich and complex linguistic makeup. The aim of this article is to analyse the current picture of the role of language education policy (LEP) in supporting and developing Scotland’s diverse languages drawing on policy documents, policy discourses and school pedagogies. The article begins with a historical account of multilingual Scotland in order to contextualize LEP and to dispel the myth of a monolingual country. This is followed by an examination of the three main language perspectives currently influencing LEP: regional languages, modern foreign languages and the languages of migrant communities. It will be illustrated that a post-devolutionary arena has provided opportunities for formulating and debating LEP which reflect a multilingual society, but significant imbalances and questions of equity still remain between the different categories of languages in terms of ideology, provision and practice. Finally, Lo Bianco’s (2007) taxonomy of language planning and action is modified to gain insights into the tensions and challenges that exist around a cohesive approach to LEP development in Scotland.
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