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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

Managing, interpreting and negotiating corporate bilingualism in Wales

Elisabeth Barakos


This chapter draws on a case study of analyzing the promotion of Welsh-English bilingualism in institutionalized business settings in Wales. It examines how this takes shape in corporate language policy discourse and practice. In the wake of recent language policy research that accounts for policy as both a structural and agentive, interactional phenomenon, this study applies a critical discursive approach to language policy. It incorporates two data sets: first, voluntarily drafted Welsh language schemes of private sector companies made under the former Welsh Language Act 1993; and second, interview data that capture the ideologies, experiences and reported practices of company employees and senior staff as regards the role and practice of Welsh vis-a-vis English. Together, these data sets provide a window into the management, interpretation and negotiation of language policy, against continuous relations of power between English and Welsh as overtly “equal” languages of and in business. Analysis demonstrates that corporate bilingualism is shaped primarily by discursive tensions over the ideological construct of “full” bilingualism as something that is aspired to but de facto mitigated in the workplace and in service provision.

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