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The effects of language planning initiatives on the language attitudes and language practices of university students

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This paper seeks to gauge the success of language planning initiatives in reversing language shift in Ireland and the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) amongst Irish and Basque university students who are not first-language speakers of either minority language. By examining data elicited through questionnaires on the students’ language attitudes and practices, the paper aims to uncover the attitudinal support the students exhibit to Irish and Basque respectively and the extent to which these levels of attitudinal support are transferred to actual language use. The resulting data suggest a favourable attitudinal perspective based largely on relevance to ethnic identity. While the data indicate less favourable results with respect to language practices, there are some positive conclusions to be made particularly in terms of the domains in which Irish and Basque language use occurs and the interlocutors involved. For example, the Irish and Basque languages may not form part of the students’ active linguistic repertoire, but there are examples of code-switching in domains from which these languages were traditionally absent.
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Keywords: Basque language; Irish language; language attitudes; language ideology; language planning; language practices; university students

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 21, 2010

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