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Bilingualism on display: The framing of Welsh and English in Welsh public spaces

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2012

Nikolas Coupland
Affiliation:
Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University, Colum Drive, Cardiff CF10 3EU, Wales, United Kingdomcoupland@cardiff.ac.uk

Abstract

This article develops an interpretive perspective on public displays of bilingualism. Photographic data from contemporary Wales illustrate how public bilingual—Welsh and English—displays are organized in different frames, reflecting historically changing language-ideological priorities and more local symbolic markets. In institutionally driven displays, the Welsh language is framed as an autonomous code in parallel with English, displacing an earlier pattern of representing Welsh subordinated to English norms. In other frames Welsh is constructed as the only legitimate heartland language, or as an impenetrable cultural curiosity. In the most open and least institutionalized frame, Welsh is displayed as part of a culturally distinctive but syncretic cultural system. These framing contests dramatize deeper tensions that surface in attempts to revitalize minority languages under globalization. (Wales, Welsh, bilingualism, language display, language ideology, linguistic landscapes, metaculture)*

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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