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12 - Standardization, New Speakers and the Acceptance of (New) Standards

from Part II - Legitimacy, Authority and the Written Form

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2021

Wendy Ayres-Bennett
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
John Bellamy
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

This chapter focuses on New Speakers of minority languages and their alignment with traditionalist and modernist ideals of standardization, authority and legitimacy. First, the relevance of the New Speaker paradigm for minority languages is outlined and associated standardization processes are analysed, particularly in the cases of Breton and Irish. It is argued that while standardization initiatives in both languages were carried out with a view to modernization, the processes nonetheless took place within value-laden, traditionalist contexts. The subsequent discussion focuses on the manner in which the language practices of New Speakers of Breton and Irish have come to be associated with the standard written varieties of the languages and perceived, at times, as oralizations of written standards. This association is a fundamental feature of the language ideological landscapes of Breton and Irish and is at the heart of debates pertaining to target language varieties. In order to illustrate these tensions, the chapter shows how New Speakers of Breton and Irish can align their linguistic practices with traditionalist and modernist discourses by identifying either with a conservative dialect of either language or by not focusing on any particular established target variety in their practices or ideologies.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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