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Bilingual education as a starting point to preserve Welsh: a comparison with EU policy and other local situations

Bilingualism is a situation that involves not only the linguistic field, but also the economic and social ones. The thesis focuses on the history of bilingualism in Wales and how Welsh people dealt with it in the different decades. Special attention is paid to the education field, bringing the experience of Aberystwyth University as an example of bilingual policy. Lastly, the Welsh situation is compared with the EU policy and other examples of bilingualism in Europe, in particular Valle d' Aosta.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
Introduction Reality provides many examples of countries in which languages are spoken in addition to the official one. This situation is due to historical facts, such as the annexation of a region into a state whose inhabitants speak another language, but also to the socio-political context of the country, if, for example, many immigrants decide to settle there bringing their own languages. Despite the different reasons that have led to bilingualism, a common feature is that minority languages, that is those languages other than the official one, which are spoken only by some groups within the country, are endangered by the predominance of that of the majority of the population. As a consequence, states have to adopt special measures to protect them, although in many cases the tendency is to let the official language prevail over the others because it is spoken by a larger number of people, it is more useful in business or, more simply, because it is a way to highlight the power of the dominant group over the minorities of the country. Since a language is not a mere tool of communication but it is also the expression of a culture, its valorisation implies supporting the cultural heritage behind it and, conversely, its devaluation entails belittling its speakers and their traditions. The whole issue of bilingualism is discussed here by making reference to Wales and Welsh/English bilingualism, since it is an example of how a language was eradicated from a people's public life after their land had been annexed by another state. Only after centuries of battles is Welsh now gaining increasing importance on the linguistic stage of Wales, giving hope that its future will not be as troubled as its past. However the whole of society may need to commit itself to taking action to protect Welsh, not expecting that the education sector alone can ensure the transmission and the spread of the language. The protection of Welsh has to be contextualised in a wider European policy supporting minority languages as expressions of European plurilingualism and multiculturalism, which has taken off in the last decades. In fact the EU has been co-financing many projects to monitor the conditions of minority languages all over the Union, as well as encouraging its use in all the situations that one can encounter in daily life. Wales is not the only example of a country where action took this direction, and instances of the same type can be found in Italy 6

Tesi di Laurea Magistrale

Facoltà: Interfacoltà Lettere e Filosofia e Scienze Politiche

Autore: Cristiana Azzalin Contatta »

Composta da 131 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 37 click dal 24/01/2012.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.