International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.
Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian
CiteScore 2016: 0.53
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716
Code switching and the future of the Welsh language
In this article we argue that Alan Thomas's (1982) ideas about the linguistic conditions for language death were ahead of his time, and in fact anticipated those of a prominent code-switching theorist, Myers-Scotton (1998). Both scholars postulated similar stages representing language shift, and both could be interpreted as presenting a scenario for language shift in Welsh–English bilinguals towards monolingualism in English. The ideas of the two scholars are tested empirically by our analysis of a sample of Welsh–English data in order to determine whether or not the linguistic conditions favouring language shift or language death can be found. Our analysis shows that the data are clearly at the first stage, classic code-switching in Myers-Scotton's (1998) terms, with Welsh providing the main grammatical frame, while English provides some content words and phrases. We argue that this stage is associated with stable bilingualism, especially if the socio-political circumstances favour that stability. We then present evidence that the recent socio-political climate has favoured the revitalization of Welsh, and suggest that there is no cause for pessimism about the future of Welsh, although “eternal vigilance” is necessary.
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