European language activists have successfully campaigned for the right to use regional or minority languages in a range of social contexts. Despite this, such rights are rarely exercised. Non-use is generally understood as a function of the unavailability and/or inaccessibility of appropriate language services and Governments across the European Union have been criticised as a consequence of this. The article draws on qualitative data to examine the negotiation over language use in a research encounter where the Welsh or the English language might have been used. It is argued that the availability of language choice is only one of a number of factors likely to influence which language is selected for usage in any context. Indeed, language selection is shown to be the outcome of complex and situated negotiation. The findings challenge oversimplified understandings about minority language use and non use.
© by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston