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Mentor

Dr. Beatriz Reyes-Foster

Abstract

Endangered languages are those that are spoken by a very small percentage of the population and are at risk of disappearing with all the knowledge and diversity they contain. Endangered languages often become endangered because the speakers and the society perceive the language as low status or of little use, and a positive change in perception of the language could aid in revitalizing the language. Institutions such as governments, businesses, and universities have recently begun supporting endangered languages in several areas, and this support could greatly affect language ideologies, perceptions of and attitudes about the language. In this research project, I intend to explore the effects on how an endangered language is viewed by both speakers and non-speakers when it is supported by linguistically dominant institutions such as business and higher education. This research was conducted in various areas of Scotland and Ireland and consists of survey data, ethnographic interviews, and participant observation. Specifically, this research aims to answer the following research questions:

  1. What is the relationship between institutional support and language ideologies?
  2. How do different forms of institutional support affect language ideologies?

Institutional support of endangered languages could provide these languages with validity and recognition as a language, as well as offer economic and status advantages to speakers, creating positive attitudes about speaking and learning the languages. This positive change in the way these languages are perceived could be a crucial step in revitalizing endangered languages and preserving the linguistic diversity of the world.

KEYWORDS: endangered languages; languages; language ideologies; Scotland; Ireland

About the Author

Christy Box graduated summa cum laude from UCF with a degree in anthropology. Her research interests are endangered languages and media representation of marginalized groups. She received the Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher Award, Burnett Research Scholars Grant, and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fieldwork Fellowship for this research. She was a research fellow for UCF Global Perspectives and researcher for the Research and Mentoring Program.

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