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Language Revitalisation in Gaelic Scotland

Linguistic Practice and Ideology

Stuart S. Dunmore

Hardback (Forthcoming)

Explores the long-term outcomes of bilingual education and their implications for language revitalisation

  • Surveys the history of Gaelic-medium education in Scotland and the use of Gaelic beyond the classroom
  • Samples 130 participants to examine language practices and attitudes to bilingualism
  • Uses an ‘ethnography of speaking’ approach to explore 46 interviewees’ beliefs and ideologies about Scottish Gaelic
  • Provides the first in-depth assessment of language use and attitudinal perceptions among adults who received an immersion education in a minority language

Gaelic-medium education (GME) has been offered in Scottish primary schools since 1985. Situated within the interrelated disciplines of sociolinguistics and sociology of language, this book explores the language use and attitudinal perceptions of a sample of 130 adults who received GME at primary school. As the first students to have received a bilingual education are now in their late 20s and 30s, this volume offers a timely examination of the long-term outcomes of the system in its earliest years, and of the future prospects for Gaelic language maintenance and revitalisation in Scotland.

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1: Gaelic Scotland: Bilingual life in the 21st century? 2: Language, culture and identities: Theoretical perspectives
3: Exploring outcomes of Gaelic-medium education: Research design and analysis
4: Linguistic practice, Gaelic use and language socialisation: Findings from qualitative and quantitative analyses
5: Underlying language use: Gaelic language ideologies and attitudes
6: Bilingual life after school? Linguistic practice and ideologies in action

About the Author

Stuart S. Dunmore is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh.


With Scottish Gaelic in decline for almost a millennium, Dunmore’s book fills a crucial gap in our understanding of the long-term social and linguistic outcomes of Gaelic medium education. It will inform policy makers and activists in Scotland and worldwide, where revitalization efforts are underway to create new speakers and domains through schooling. 

- Professor Emerita Suzanne Romaine, University of Oxford

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