Intervention, participation, perception: case studies of language activism in Catalonia, Norway & Scotland
Puchowski, James Konrad
This thesis brings together and contextualises three papers, each examining a case-study of language activism. The corresponding research project presents linguistic ethnographic and discourse analytical research in the socio-political contexts of contemporary Catalonia, Norway, and Scotland, examining metadiscourses of Catalan, Norwegian Nynorsk, and Scots language activists, and touching also on how these metadiscourses are embedded dynamically in wider social talk. Emerging out of this research project is a broader theoretical discussion around existing definitions and approaches to document language activism in language studies; insights are drawn from (1) an observation of “non-native” Catalan language activists, (2) an analysis of the extension of Norwegian Nynorsk activist metalanguage to encompass Sámi and Kven language issues, and (3) an evaluation of the role of linguists and other academics in the institutional legitimation of the Scots language. Drawing on theories and frameworks in linguistic anthropology and sociocultural linguistics, the conclusions of this thesis offer a springboard for further discussion regarding how language activism may be both deconstructed as a linguistic idea, and viewed as instances of metapragmatic intervention, without essentialising who can, or who cannot, be a language activist within a given sociolinguistic context.