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Written by Maria Blanca Escudero Fontan, trainee in the Direction of the Directorate B and in Term Coord.Linguistic imperialism—a term used to conceptualize the dominance of one language over others—has been debated in language policy for more than two decades.When the construct is investigated in relation to sign languages that lack visibility, and thereby fall under the radar of most linguistic research, the case for linguistic imperialism is much stronger—even in 2017.
Scots has its own history, a wide variety of unique grammatical features, a huge store of idiomatic expressions and a number of sounds that are never used in English.
For these reasons, many linguists and academics today agree that Scots is a language in its own right. North-East Scots (Doric): The History, Present & Future (Complete Video).
Scots has often been mistaken for slang, and it is not widely known as a language in its own right or that it is of Anglo-Saxon origin.
The reality is that Scots has some 60,000 unique words and expressions. AMC’s FITS Project produces video on the origins of the Scots language.
We, however, concur with Phillipson’s assessment that linguistic imperialism is still highly relevant today, which we will illustrate via an examination of the treatment of ISL in the Republic of Ireland.
We argue that in their dismissal of linguistic imperialism, researchers have focused too heavily on the role of English in relation to languages that have national or regional recognition.
Nowadays, English attracts the label of a global ‘lingua franca’, which portrays a positive connotation for communication purposes.
However, Phillipson (It is easy to argue the existence of linguistic imperialism from an ideological point of view, but much harder to prove that these advantages and disadvantages were the result of intentional political actions.
The paper, therefore, challenges some views in language policy that linguistic imperialism lacks credibility by highlighting a current case of minority language (ISL) users under imperialistic-like control of policy geared towards a dominant language (English).
This paper aims to apply the notions of linguistic imperialism—a term that has been used to criticize English-speaking nations’ oppression of other languages—to the treatment of Irish Sign Language (ISL).