The social context of Welsh-medium bilingual education in anglicised areas

Wynford Bellin, Sean Farrell, Gary Higgs, Sean White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Principal component analysis of indicators from the 1991 Census was used to characterise the social context of school age Welsh speakers in South East Wales. The area had been largely anglicised by the Census of 1971, but the growth of Welsh-medium education was responsible for net gains in numbers of younger Welsh/English bilinguals. Doubts as to whether young people will remain active bilinguals after leaving school have been raised. The inter-relationships between figures for Welsh speaking in the Census and other social indicators were examined. Being categorised as a young Welsh speaker was found to cut across an economic advantage/disadvantage dimension, and so was a matter of life style rather than a by-product of parental choices unrelated to language resurgence. Probing life styles by means of interviews where Welsh-medium and English-medium schools could be matched on the economic advantage/disadvantage dimension showed that deciding for Welsh-medium education was embedded in authentic local life styles. Although networks of people at more local spatial scales were involved in Welsh-medium education, they were linked to wider scale networks establishing domains for Welsh language use in the public sector and local government.
Original languageEnglish
Article number00071
Pages (from-to)173-193
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 1999

Keywords

  • Welsh/English bilinguals
  • census
  • spaces of dependence
  • spaces of engagament
  • language planning
  • bilingual education

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