Articulating minority language value in diverse communities: The case of compulsory Irish language education
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Murray, Clíona, Lynch, Andrea, Flynn, Niamh, & Davitt, Emer. (2021). Articulating Minority Language Value in Diverse Communities: The Case of Compulsory Irish Language Education. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, doi:10.1080/15348458.2020.1871354
In newly multilingual communities, where the language of education can no longer be assumed to be the home language of students, debates around language education policy can reflect broader sociocultural and political assumptions. As Ireland has become increasingly diverse in recent decades, the core compulsory status of the Irish language has emerged as one of the most contested aspects of the national curriculum. Informed by the field of language ideology, this paper draws on the responses to a public consultation on exemptions from the study of Irish. The findings point to a deeply entrenched polarisation of opinion regarding the relationship between identity and language, with some evidence of ethnocentric beliefs. However, the analysis also offered a number of nuanced and counterintuitive perspectives as to how minority languages might be positioned to contribute to a more open and inclusive educational environment.
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