by Sara Peacock
Sara Peacock explores the striking commonalities between manifestations of prejudice against LGBT+ people and Welsh speakers, and how strategies used by the LGBT+ community to resist discrimination and carve out space for self-expression could be fruitful for protecting the Welsh language.
Language planners in Wales have worked tirelessly to raise the institutional status of the Welsh language, culminating in its designation as an official language in the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011. What has proved more intractable, however, is encouraging language use by individuals. There are many reasons for this reticence (not least the variable quality of service provision within the public and private sectors), but one particular element proving hard to address involves prejudices and attitudes that are deeply entrenched in Welsh society: self-identifying as a member of the group ‘Welsh speakers’ can be problematic for some. I suggest here that considering tactics used by other groups where self-identification can be difficult – specifically, the LGBT+ community – can generate fruitful ideas for addressing language use.Sign in to read more