Language Policy Scotland European Union Thesis College Essays Prompts

Written by Maria Blanca Escudero Fontan, trainee in the Direction of the Directorate B and in Term Coord.Linguistic imperialism—a term used to conceptualize the dominance of one language over others—has been debated in language policy for more than two decades.Phillipson argued that linguistic imperialism was mainly driven by political and economic interests, and clear examples can be found with the spread of English (although linguistic imperialism can be found with other languages in imperialist positions).With the spread of English speaking nations into non-English-speaking regions, ideologies were enforced in policies, which purposely advantaged English speakers, and disadvantaged speakers of other languages.This exploitation can be seen in two main examples in history, first by the UK during colonial times, and later by English speaking nations during the era of globalization.In addition to describing the policies of nations, linguistic imperialism has also been used to describe actions of organizations (such as the British Council) and multinational corporations, both of which may purposely promote the use of English to advantage its speakers.Scots is one of the three indigenous languages in Scotland, along with English and Scottish Gaelic.

Linguicism refers to “the ideologies, structures, and practices that are used to legitimate, effectuate, and reproduce an unequal division of power and resources between groups defined on the basis of language” (Skutnabb-Kangas ) draws on definitions of genocide in the United Nations 1948 International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to argue that “When speakers shift to another language and their own language disappears, the sociological, psychological, educational, and linguistic damage can be seen as linguistic genocide” () has also suggested that the education of Deaf children, who are a linguistic minority, via other dominant languages constitutes a form of linguicism, especially when education is via submersion (sink-or-swim) practices.

There are many varieties of Scots and some of these have names of their own, like the Doric, used in the north-east.

Some others are known as dialects, like the spoken languages in Caithness, Orkney or Shetland, or even the varieties spoken in the cities of Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh.

Scots has often been mistaken for slang, and it is not widely known as a language in its own right or that it is of Anglo-Saxon origin.

The reality is that Scots has some 60,000 unique words and expressions. AMC’s FITS Project produces video on the origins of the Scots language.

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