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Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication

Ed. by Piller, Ingrid

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Volume 24, Issue 4 (Dec 2005)


Globalisation, advertising and language choice: Shifting values for Welsh and Welshness in Y Drych, 1851–2001

Hywel Bishop / Nikolas Coupland / Peter Garrett
Published Online: 2005-12-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.2005.24.4.343


The acceleration and growth of consumerism that has accompanied globalisation has led a number of theorists to argue that social life is becoming increasingly commodified, with many social objects and processes taking on new values and significances. Taking our evidence from a 150-year sample of consumer ads from a North American Welsh community newspaper, Y Drych [The Mirror], we explore the shifting values attached to the Welsh language and to the general category of ‘Welshness’, and their semiotic and economic potential within the Welsh diaspora of North America. We examine the changing content of ads and their use of English and Welsh, and comment critically on particular ad texts. Our analysis shows how the Welsh language, in contrast to its earlier usage as the normative code within adverts in Y Drych, has become a display resource, as well as a marketable commodity in its own right. Along with other semiotically potent icons of ‘traditional’ Welsh life and Welshness, Welsh is able to evoke a marketable and increasingly marketised ‘old Wales’, suggesting that a retraditionalising gaze is privileged in the North American diaspora.

About the article

Published Online: 2005-12-16

Published in Print: 2005-12-20

Citation Information: Multilingua, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, ISSN (Print) 0167-8507, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.2005.24.4.343.

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