MEITS Blog


A rós by any other name..?

by Deirdre Dunlevy

‘That’s a weird name, what is it in English?’

For anyone with a name that is not easily identifiable as English, you’ve probably heard this before. And as someone whose name doesn’t have a ‘translation’- my name is just my name- it is incredibly frustrating as people try to figure out what my name ‘is’ in another language.

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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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The diary of an exile

by Daniel McAuley

In a few weeks I’ll be moving to England from my native Northern Ireland. I’m an Irish speaker, and last week, in the library, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have easy access to a well-stocked library of books written in Irish for very much longer, so I took a quick browse in that aisle to see if there was anything to catch my eye. On one of the shelves there was a thin black hardback with Dónall Mac Amhlaigh in gold lettering on the spine. Apparently, I had written a book.

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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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‘A change is as good as a rest’: MEITS strand 3 goes to Canada

by Janice Carruthers

Although the strand I lead in MEITS (Strand 3) does not work directly on Canada, a recent visit allowed me to view our strand’s core research questions from a different angle and reminded me why it matters that we value multilingualism.

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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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Linguistic diversity in Macron’s France

by Daniel McAuley

June's parliamentary elections in France were a great success for the burgeoning centrist movement founded by Emmanuel Macron with his year-old party La République en marche (LREM) securing 308 seats in the National Assembly, an outright majority in the lower house.

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The Northern Ireland election and the Irish language

by Deirdre Dunlevy

Irish was a principal background factor in the breakdown of the Northern Ireland executive in January, resulting in a snap election on Thursday, 2 March. The position of the Irish language in Northern Ireland became a key issue in the election campaign among politicians and constituents alike. Parties clashed over the need to introduce an Irish Language Act, with some major parties vehemently opposed to any concessions towards the language.

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