Bilingualism on display: The framing of Welsh and English in Welsh public spaces

Cambridge University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Language in Society, 2012, 41 pp. 1 - 27
Issue Date:
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This article develops an interpretive perspective on public displays of bilingualism. Photographic data from contemporary Wales illustrate how public bilingualWelsh and Englishdisplays are organized in different frames, reflecting historically changing language-ideological priorities and more local symbolic markets. In institutionally driven displays, theWelsh language is framed as an autonomous code in parallel with English, displacing an earlier pattern of representing Welsh subordinated to English norms. In other frames Welsh is constructed as the only legitimate heartland language, or as an impenetrable cultural curiosity. In the most open and least institutionalized frame, Welsh is displayed as part of a culturally distinctive but syncretic cultural system. These framing contests dramatize deeper tensions that surface in attempts to revitalize minority languages under globalization. (Wales,Welsh, bilingualism, language display, language ideology, linguistic landscapes, metaculture)*
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