Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 14, 2013

Teaching languages for a multilingual Europe – minority schools as examples of best practice? The Breton experience of Diwan

Eva Vetter


This contribution positions Breton minority language education, as supplied by Diwan, against the background of European and French language policy. Since intergenerational language transmission is practically non-existent in Brittany today, education is crucial for the future of the Breton language, which can be considered a part of the endangered linguistic heritage of Europe. The schools of Diwan are particularly renowned for producing highly proficient Breton speakers. The article adopts a critical perspective towards the ideological positions taken by Diwan by addressing language minority schooling as a type of multilingual education. In going beyond the additive-subtractive opposition of multilingual education, it is argued that Diwan is actually situated in a transitory phase between a monoglossic and a heteroglossic ideological frame. Monoglossic ideologies originating in the diglossic lens prevailing at the time Diwan was founded are characterized by the strict separation of languages as well as by linguistic and cultural essentialism. Apparently, these ideologies are a substantial part of Diwan's pedagogic program and practice. On the other hand, and particularly against the background of global multilingualism, a certain plea for more flexibility and dynamism can be identified within Diwan, which might impact upon the schools' profile in the future.

Published Online: 2013-09-14
Published in Print: 2013-09-14

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston