Author: Malika Pedley
Date of Publication: September 2021
Notes: Scottish Languages Review Issue 36
Mother Tongue Other Tongue is a poetry competition run by SCILT and which values the diversity of languages spoken and learnt by Scottish pupils today. As part of a PhD in sociolinguistics which aimed to experiment an inclusive approach to languages in a minority situation, fieldwork was conducted on the 2015-2016 edition of MTOT. Interviews were led with groups of participants and poem entries were analysed, shedding light on pupils’ experiences as they gradually embraced their plurilingual identities and forged a new social group, the plurilingual community. This paper first provides a summary of this doctoral study before considering implications for language education. MTOT shows how creative writing across languages can enhance all pupils’ language learning and identity experience, through any language chosen and regardless of their levels of proficiency. This perspective leads us to reflect on the importance of considering a language as a social object and the role of its speakers/learners as agents.