European Journal of Cultural Studies

Journal Paper: Legitimating inaction: Differing identity constructions of the Scots language

Unger, J W (2010) ‘Legitimating inaction: Differing identity constructions of the Scots language’, European Journal of Cultural Studies 13(1): 99-117, DOI: 10.1177/1367549409352968.

Abstract

The Scots language plays a key role in the political and cultural landscape of contemporary Scotland. From a discourse-historical perspective, this article explores how language ideologies about the Scots language are realized linguistically in a so-called ‘languages strategy’ drafted by the Scottish Executive, and in focus groups consisting of Scottish people.This article shows that although the decline of Scots is said to be a ‘tragedy’, focus group participants seem to reject the notion of Scots as a viable, contemporary language that can be used across a wide range of registers.The policy document also seems to construct Scots in very positive terms, but is shown to be unhelpful or potentially even damaging in the process of changing public attitudes to Scots.

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