Teaching languages for a multilingual Europe – minority schools as examples of best practice? The Breton experience of Diwan

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    This contribution positions Breton minority language education, as supplied by DIWAN, against the background of European and French language policy. Since intergenerational language transmission is practically non-existent in Brittany today, education is crucial for the future of the Breton language, which can be considered a part of the endangered linguistic heritage of Europe. The schools of DIWAN are particularly renowned for producing highly proficient Breton speakers. The article adopts a critical perspective towards the ideological positions taken by DIWAN by adressing language minority schooling as a type of multilingual education. In going beyond the additive – subtractive opposition of multilingual education, it is argued that DIWAN is actually situated in a transitory phase between a monoglossic and a heteroglossic ideological frame. Monoglossic ideologies originating in the diglossic lens prevailing at the time DIWAN was founded are characterized by the strict separation of languages as well as by linguistic and cultural essentialism. Apparently, these ideologies are a substantial part of DIWAN’s pedagogic programme and practice. On the other hand, and particularly against the background of global multilingualism, a certain plea for more flexibility and dynamism can be identified within DIWAN, which might impact upon the schools’ profile in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)153-170
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
    Issue number223
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Austrian Fields of Science 2012

    • 602007 Applied linguistics
    • 602042 Romance studies
    • 503011 Subject didactics of humanities
    • 503006 Educational research
    • 602048 Sociolinguistics

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