Home > Community, Research, UGC, Video > Dr Emily McEwan-Fujita: Research & Rocaidean

Dr Emily McEwan-Fujita: Research & Rocaidean

EmilyMcEwenFujitaDr Emily McEwan-Fujita conducted a large part of her PhD fieldwork in Uist in 1999/2000, and went on to complete her doctorate in Anthropology with the University of Chicago.

Since then she has published numerous articles on the subject of Gaelic and its revitalisation both in Scotland and Nova Scotia, where she now lives. Most recently she has become an active blogger. She wrote an interesting piece last month on Gaelic revitalisation and rocket science.

Here Emily talks (in Gaelic) about some of her observations on learning Gaelic in Uist, and how she came to write her piece:

Good to hear a new voice on Guthan nan Eilean!

And, with her kind permission, here’s the piece itself, “re-blogged”:

Saving Gaelic – Is It Rocket Science?

A few years ago, someone criticized my work, saying that Gaelic language revitalization wasn’t rocket science. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, because she was right. Language revitalization isn’t rocket science — it’s far more difficult.

Rocket science, or any type of engineering, formulates and solves problems. Get the math right, solve the problem. On to the next problem. Something breaks or goes wrong? Find the math or programming mistake and fix it. Human error is a factor, but the math is reliable.

Language revitalization, on the other hand, is not so simple.

The International Space Station - definitely rocket science.

A formal definition of language revitalization is: “the attempt to add new linguistic forms or social functions to a language which is threatened with language loss or death, with the aim of increasing its uses and users” (Kendall King 2001, p. 4). Basically, it’s the effort to save a language that is gradually going out of daily use.

Why is it so difficult to save a language? Because it involves a deliberate effort to change people’s opinions, ideas, feelings, and behaviorsRead more… 

You can read more posts from Emily on her blog: emilymcfujita.com/blog/

Categories: Community, Research, UGC, Video
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  1. 20/04/2015 at 3:22 pm

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