Language diversity and linguistic identity in Brittany : a critical analysis of the changing practice of Breton

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This thesis explores the ways in which linguistic diversity is represented, articulated and theorised in the context of the promotion of Breton, a minority or lesser-used language spoken in the region of Brittany in western France. In doing so it seeks to provide a critical analysis of the changing practice of Breton and the different ways in which the language is mobilised as a vehicle for personal and collective identity. It provides a historical reading of the development of a sense of Breton identity through the language, locating the changing practice of Breton, particularly following the revival movement that began in the 1960s, in a socio-political and socio-cultural context. In tracking these functional and symbolic transformations of Breton, the thesis takes a theoretical approach that can broadly be described as belonging to the discipline of critical language studies. Working from this critical perspective, it explores the way different language ideologies frame issues of linguistic diversity and examines the way notions of language, linguistic diversity and identity are epistemologically constructed. In doing so it argues the need for greater critical awareness of the effects these ideologies may have on diversity, with a view to developing more effective ways of promoting diverse language practices and linguistic identities in Brittany.
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