2014 | special issue | 51-64
Article title

Separated multilingualism? The experience of students’ multilingualism in minority language education in Brittany (France)

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This article presents the results of a three-month empirical study in a private minority immersion school of the non-profit association DIWAN in Brittany (France). The private minority schools of DIWAN, founded in 1977 as a reaction against monolingual language policy in France, were modeled on Canadian immersion schools, which first appeared in 1965 in Ontario, as well as on Ikastolas (Basque country) and Welsh language schools (Wales). The network of DIWAN immersion schools has created a linguistic regime, ideologically founded in language revitalization. The regime guarantees an artificially secure Breton-only space in schools, along with the teaching of two foreign languages (English and German or Spanish) and classes in the students’ mother tongue French. Nowadays this artificially created Breton-only space is definitely in opposition to a globalized and flexible world. In this context, the research study questions the following: “How do the students experience their multilingualism?” — hypothesizing that the students do encounter separated multilingualism. The study is based on the theoretical concept of multilingualism and on the models of multilingualismencouragement in schools. In addition, there are references to the theory of the production of social space, the concept of language regime and also the study of material semiotics. The empirical part of the study combines language biographical and ethnographical approaches in the form of language portrayals and narrative interviews, as well as linguistic landscaping.
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