[lg policy] bibitem: Bilingualism and language policy in the private sector in Wales

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 23 16:05:09 UTC 2012

Bilingualism and language policy in the private sector in Wales

This paper addresses the numerous intricate aspects of bilingualism
and language policy in business, which is increasingly identified as a
germane space of bi/multilingualism. In their language policies,
official bodies and advocacy groups have addressed companies by
adopting an explicit discourse of promotion and persuasion, with
language becoming ever more commodified. So far little is, however,
known about the role of Welsh vis-à-vis English in private sector

I attempt to address this paucity of data by means of an empirical
study, drawing on questionnaires and interviews with Welsh companies
throughout 2011, and a language policy analysis, in order to uncover
how written discourses compare with stakeholders’ practices and
beliefs. In my theoretical and methodological framework, which aims to
take cognizance of the multivariate dimensions of language policy and
Welsh language use in business, I adopt a discursive approach to
language policy, combining Shohamy’s (2006) framework of overt and
covert language policies with a critical discourse analytical approach
to language policy analysis (cf. Ricento 2006).

In this talk, I first provide the context for examining the discourse
used in promoting Welsh in the private sector and then analyse
examples of language policy documents. Finally, I discuss findings
from my empirical study on the use of Welsh in business and argue that
it will be important to go not only beyond the traditional dichotomy
of minority/majority languages but also to transcend the prevailing
‘double monolingualism’ (Heller 1999) – ideologies both prevalent in
current policy discourse.


Heller, Monica. 1999. Linguistic Minorities and Modernity: A
Sociolinguistic Ethnography. London: Longman.
Ricento, Thomas (ed.) 2006. An Introduction to Language Policy: Theory
and Method. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
Shohamy, Elana. 2006. Language Policy: Hidden agendas and new
approaches. London: Routledge.


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