MEITS Blog


Double minoritisation: non-standard varieties of minoritised languages

by Merryn Davies-Deacon

For a long time, non-standard varieties of widely-spoken languages, such as regional dialects of English, were stigmatised. On the BBC, regional accents are still rare. But there is evidence that non-standard varieties are beginning to be valued as assets to our cultural diversity. Earlier this year, the New York Times British-Irish Dialect Quiz was a big hit.

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Minoritised languages on the internet

by Merryn Davies-Deacon

Today, 21 February, is International Mother Language Day. Since 1999, this day has been an occasion to celebrate multilingualism, and especially the smaller “mother” languages that people may speak in home settings but may be less able to use in public or administrative contexts.

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Why do new speakers matter?

by Merryn Davies-Deacon

When a language is threatened, various factors often result in parents not passing it on to their children: it may be spoken by only small portions of the community, and lack resources such as written materials and media provision, making it easier to bring up a child speaking the societally dominant language. Moreover, the apparent economic and social benefits of speaking a more common language tend to be more widely recognised than the advantages of bilingualism—an attitude that the MEITS project as a whole is hoping to change.

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