Centre for Celtic Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland
Prezegenn d'ar Sadorn 24 a viz Meurzh e UBO Kemper - Conférence le Samedi 24 mars à l'UBO de Quimper
The new speaker paradigm: Challenges and opportunities in language transmission
While the concept of the ‘new speaker’ is not particularly new or novel, research on this theme is recent and constitutes an attempt to move away from the binary positions of ‘native speaker’ and ‘learner’. The concept allows for a more nuanced and more subtle understanding of how many minoritized language communities are dealing with current pressures to shift towards a majority language. This understanding takes into account concepts such as speaker authenticity and legitimacy and who gets to decide who counts as a speaker and which linguistic practices are deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In this context, the idea of a ‘speaker continuum’ is paramount. Whilst seeking to interrogate the ‘native’ and ‘new’ dichotomy, it is also important to take into account local and communal sensibilities and how questions of accent (for example) can have an effect on all speakers in a minority language setting on very fundamental and affective levels. This paper will trace the trajectories and routes of the ‘typical’ new speaker of a minority language and consider issues such as input/output in an educational setting and also far-reaching transformations for many minority language communities in the twenty-first century. References to some examples from Brittany (from an external perspective) will be made, and the paper will draw on further examples from other Celtic countries, in particular Wales and Ireland.