Wales is a small nation with a long and varied tradition of
bilingualism. The minority language and culture is under threat.
The book seeks to take the temperature of the Welsh language.
Building on a computer analysis of the 1981 Welsh language Census
data, the book provides evidence of a language moving slowly
towards extinction. The aim of each chapter is to examine an issue
which is of significance in most minority language situations, but
is exemplified and encapsulated in the Welsh context. The effect of
television and other mass media, the potential and threat of the
microelectronic revolution, the existence and erosion of heartlands
are issues which are part of the nervous tension of contemporary
Wales and many other minority language regions. The role of
bilingual education is a central issue of the book. A bilingual
education model is described as a basis for analysing some of the
problems and issues of Welsh and worldwide bilingual education.
Another chapter analyses different approaches to curriculum
development in minority language contexts and argues for a dual
approach combining central initiatives and teacher based action
research. Regional variations in the policy and provision of
bilingual schooling in Wales are portrayed, and two further
chapters present recent research into Welsh education. This
research points to the crucial nature of immersion and active
participation in the minority culture as a lifeline for the future
of the Welsh language.
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