Scottish Languages Review Issue 21

Issue 21 - 15/06/2010

This summer edition of the Scottish Languages Review (SLR) contains a few changes: In addition to articles contributed from a range of language professionals we include the slightly condensed and edited versions of two Interdisciplinary Projects, conducted as part of the new Scottish Baccalaureate in Languages award. Katrin Riddle’s project involved the creation of a tourism leaflet specifically targetted at young Francophones visiting St Andrews and surrounding area. Gregor Hogan investigated the usefulness of languages for entry into higher education and in business. Both students received an A for their efforts.

Another new feature being introduced is a summary sheet of Events addressing issues related to language planning or language education policy. These have come to our attention through bodies such as the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) and the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL), and others. The list does not claim to be all inclusive but we hope that readers may be encouraged to follow up the weblinks provided in order to gain a deeper understanding of the topics that are being discussed within the British Isles, elsewhere in Europe – and indeed in other countries across the world. Through these additional features Scottish CILT is trying to expand the role of the SLR from a ‘mere’ repository of articles to one that helps language professionals distil from the myriad of information some clear lines of arguments for the important role played by languages in all areas and layers of society, backed up by solid evidence. Already many of the featured websites contain downloadable presentations slides, and crucially, recordings of keynote speeches. Others may have information about intended publication of conference proceedings.

The main articles featured in this edition are themselves linked to presentations at earlier events. Wilma Gordon, for example, presented her project at the Scottish CILT’s conference on Modern Languages in the Primary School  in September 2009, where she highlighted the power of languages in improving literacy in a ‘novel’ way. A year earlier she had won a European Award for Languages in recognition of her efforts. The research studies by Lindsay Milligan and George Orekan were first presented at a postgraduate forum on linguistic diversity, held at Glasgow Caledonian University in November 2009, as part of the DYLAN Project. Milligan’s contribution looks at issues concerning the implementation of Gaelic language policies in Scotland, whereas Orekan provides a fascinating glimpse into the linguistic landscape of Africa, with a special focus on Nigeria. Finally, we include a link to research conducted by Helen Fraser in Australia, dealing with one of the practical yet unusual applications of language skills, namely in the identification of a speaker’s linguistic origin in order to determine whether their claim to refugee status is valid. Helen’s article again relates to one of the conferences in our list (cf. 10-11 June, CORI)

Novel Idea

by Wilma Gordon, Mid Calder Primary School

This article reports on the ‘Novel Idea’ eTwinning project between a group of Scottish and French primary school children respectively, aged ten to eleven,  incorporating Modern Foreign Language Education, International Education and Citizenship. The Novel Idea project enabled the pupils of the two classes to co-write a book and to use their knowledge of each other’s language to explore ideas and exchange best practice.  ICT and literacy came to the fore and the children were able to take autonomy to be creative, innovative and imaginative. Children also learned to use new ICT technologies: web conferencing to communicate with each other and stop motion animation to practise their French. A blog further aided communication, enabling the pupils to post their chapters, illustrations and to leave comments. The project has continued for three years and at the end of each academic session the relevant student groups have completed a novel in French and English containing an extremely high standard of language writing.

Key Words: language learning - primary education; citizenship; international education

View full article - Novel Idea

Gaelic in the workplace: helping to create linguistic capacity

by Lindsay Milligan, Glasgow Caledonian University

Proficiency in Gaelic can be of benefit in many job areas, from teaching to the entertainment industry and the public service. Public sector organisations are now being asked by the promotional body for Gaelic, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, to create Gaelic Language Plans, i.e. to describe the ways in which they will incorporate Gaelic into their workplace and work practices. This means of integrating Gaelic into the public sector is modelled on language planning for Welsh in Wales, where similar schemes have been highly successful in helping to support the language and its users. However, the number of Gaelic speakers within Scotland is far smaller than that of Welsh speakers in Wales. Therefore, a key challenge facing Scottish organisations is capacity for provision. In other words, organisations may struggle in their efforts to integrate Gaelic within their day-to-day operations and to make an active offer of Gaelic service.  It is therefore necessary to create long-term solutions to the issue of linguistic capacity, and this paper reviews the efficacy of ‘language learning’ as a method of building linguistic capacity for the integration of Gaelic into the workplace.

Keywords: Gaelic; Scotland; linguistic capacity; language learning.

View full article - Gaelic in the workplace: helping to create linguistic capacity

Language Policy and Educational Development in Africa: The Case of Nigeria

by George Orekan, University of Aberdeen

The paper examines elements affecting language policy and planning, and their impact on education in Africa, with a focus on Nigeria.  It starts by considering the classification of the linguistic diversity in Africa and the relationship between the indigenous languages as well as the exoglossic languages constituting the umbilical cord between Africa and Europe. We then move to a study of the complex linguistic situation in Nigeria.  With an estimated population of over 140 million and more than 500 languages, Nigeria is the largest nation in sub-Saharan Africa and host to 25% of the subcontinent’s population.  It is a country with one of the highest incidences of linguistic diversity although its languages have unequal status and over 35% of the population is illiterate despite the language and education policies in place.  The official indigenous languages and other lingua franca and their relationship with the official foreign languages are reviewed.  Some policy statements are considered with regard to the impact on minority languages in the educational domain.

Keywords: language policy, multilingualism, Africa, mother tongue, language education

View full article - Language Policy and Educational Development in Africa: The Case of Nigeria

Creating a tourist leaflet for young Francophone visitors: Interdisciplinary Project for the Scottish Baccalaureate in Languages

by Katrine Riddle, Madras College

I would like to do a project centred around planning and designing a leaflet promoting places to stay and various attractions in my local area (North East Fife) whilst also providing information relevant to young people on how to survive in the area. The target audience would be young francophones coming to St Andrews.  I will liaise with VisitScotland to research the places I can advertise and the existing facilities for young people. I will also ascertain the best way to set out this information. I will contact young people from 14-18 years of age in our exchange school in Poitiers in order to establish what facilities they would like to use and what they  would like to see in a brochure for young people visiting the town. Visitscotland has a remit for the marketing of Scotland. However in my initial research I have established that they do not have anything specifically aimed at this age range.  In carrying out this project I will need to use my language skills and ICT skills in both the gathering of information through contacts with French pupils as well as learning how best to present it to an interested and knowledgeable audience in both French and English.

Keywords: Scottish Baccalaureate - Languages; languages and tourism; interdisciplinary; French

View full article - Creating a tourist leaflet for young Francophone visitors

What can languages do for you? Interdisciplinary Project for the Scottish Baccalaureate in Languages

by Gregor Hogan, Hutcheson’s Grammar School

I am going to research the importance of languages and language qualifications to Scottish business and Scottish higher education institutions. I plan on contacting two Scottish universities, a Scottish lawyer specialising in overseas work and two Scottish businesses, in order to obtain evidence, information and views from a wide range of sources. I will make contact primarily by e-mail and telephone; however I do plan on using a personal contact for part of my research. In my initial background research I also plan on making use of internet websites and resources. In addition, I plan on carrying out a survey of pupils in their second year of secondary education at Hutchesons Grammar School, to gauge pupils’ enjoyment of languages at this age enjoy and how they rate their value.

Keywords: Scottish Baccalaureate - Languages; interdisciplinary; languages and higher education; languages and work; German 

View full article - What can languages do for you?

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