Challenging monolingual ideologies in minority language contexts: examples from Galicia and Cape Verde

5:15pm - 6:00pm / Wednesday 12th December 2018 / Venue: The Language Lounge, 1-7 Abercromby Square, Abercromby SQ (West)
Type: Seminar / Category: Department
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Western societies continue to be dominated by hegemonic language ideologies that position monolingualism in the standard national language as the norm. Such ideologies conceal heterogeneous linguistic practices ‘on the ground’ and serve to silence the linguistic diversity of minorities and migrants (Gal, 2006). This is particularly pertinent in Europe, which is experiencing increased linguistic diversity as a consequence of the new patterns of migration that have arisen due to globalisation. Such ideologies, however, are not only prevalent in Europe: The governments of many African post-colonies have adopted monoglossic ideologies that draw strongly on the notion of linguistically homogenous nations and are rooted in 18th century German romanticism, whereby a social group’s right to statehood, territory and political autonomy is thought to be inherently linked to their linguistic homogeneity.

Despite public discourses and political agendas that are entrenched in monoglossic language ideologies (both in Western societies and in post-colonial African contexts), there is extensive discussion amongst scholars about the value of multilingualism and multilingual education. This lecture, therefore, will draw on the cases of Galicia and Cape Verde to explore the tension between the monolingual habitus of the education system and the multilingual society which it serves (Piller, 2016), questioning the importance of grassroots initiatives for challenging and contesting monolingual paradigms from the bottom-up.

Nicola Bermingham joined the University of Liverpool as Lecturer in Hispanic Studies in 2017. Nicola specialises in Sociolinguistics, and her research interests include Migration Studies, Minority Languages and Education. Her most recent project, entitled 'Monolingual Schools in Multilingual Societies: An Exploration of Language and Education in Cape Verde', explores how the language of instruction in schools can act as a tool to reinforce socio-economic inequalities. Nicola has also conducted extensive research on language and immigration in Galicia, Spain.

This event will be followed be a departmental drinks reception.