[lg policy] Ideologies in Welsh Language Policy - last chance to see me for a year!

Dave Sayers D.Sayers at SWANSEA.AC.UK
Sun Jun 3 18:01:36 UTC 2012

Rumours have circulated that my renowned 'Please Someone Employ Me' tour is winding down due to my
unexpectedly becoming employed. This is of course completely preposterous... and also true.

My new tour has the working title 'Please Someone Employ Me Next Year', because the job I've landed
is a one year fixed-term lectureship -- and not one of those we'll-keep-you-if-we-like-you
shenanigans, oh no... I'm covering for someone on research leave, so it's a year and that's that. If
my previous tour was a bit like Down and Out in Paris and London (well, Swansea and Bristol), then
my new tour is more like A Year in Provence, except without the balmy weather and general whimsy.
For one thing it'll be in Finland, brrrr!  I digress...

Before I ship out for the year, you've all got one last chance to see my talk "Ideologies in Welsh
Language Policy", which has now been presented in various places to quite literally some people.
Here's the abstract:

The Welsh Government’s plan to ‘create a bilingual Wales’ is ambitious – aiming for significant
increases in Welsh use across Wales, a country with no Welsh monolinguals, and including areas where
everyday use of Welsh has become negligible. How the devolved Welsh legislature promotes the Welsh
language as a national icon touches on the fractious territory of heritage, identity, authenticity
and cultural survival – all politically charged issues in the context of post-devolutionary

This paper examines ideological orientations in three Welsh language policy documents – 'texts'
which are informed and contoured by overarching national and international legislation. Discourse
historical analysis (a form of critical discourse analysis) is used to weigh up their ideological

The orientations are categorised using De Schutter’s (2007) tripartite framework of language ideologies:
- ‘instrumental’ (language is a means to achieve other non-linguistic human capabilities);
- ‘constitutive’ (language influences identity);
- ‘intrinsic’ (language is valuable irrespective of human interests).

The findings show that the intrinsic ideology predominates significantly and consistently across the
three texts. Action is planned not in the interests of human capabilities or even identity, but of
the Welsh language as an independent entity. Furthermore, there are instances where potential
discriminatory effects on non-speakers of Welsh are acknowledged, and explicitly justified within
the pursuit of increased Welsh usage.

Overall, these ideological orientations make Welsh language policy quite unusual when compared to
other areas of Welsh social policy (e.g. Sayers, Rock & Coffey, in prep.).

De Schutter, Helder (2007). Language policy and political philosophy: On the emerging linguistic
justice debate. Language Problems and Language Planning 31(1): 1–23.
Sayers, Dave, Frances Rock & Michael Coffey (in prep.). Speeding up or reaching out? Efficiency and
unmet need as policy priorities in Wales.

The date for this farewell gig is Tuesday 24th July, 4.30pm - 6pm. The venue is the Cinema room of
the Welsh Government building, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ. It's being arranged by Social Research Association
Cymru, who assure me that it's open to the public. However, I happen to know that they're pretty hot
on security in that building, so if any of you are under-cover spies then maybe give this one a miss
and just download the slides after the talk (from the link in my signature below). Mum's the word.

And if you can't make it to Cardiff, I'll be doing the same talk on the next date in the 'Please
Someone Employ Me Next Year' tour, at the Sociolinguistic Symposium in Berlin 21-24 August. The
conference programme isn't out yet so I don't know what time I'm on -- hopefully not the Friday
morning given that the party is on the Thursday night, and, well, there ain't no party like a
sociolinguists' party, if you know what I mean.

Toodle-pip Brits. Keep the UK warm for me. I'll be back in a year.


Dr. Dave Sayers
Honorary Research Fellow
College of Arts & Humanities
and Language Research Centre
Swansea University
dave.sayers at cantab.net

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