From native speakers to “new speakers” – problematizing nativeness in language revitalization contexts

Bernadette O'Rourke, Joan Pujolar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    Within the field of applied linguistics the concept of nativeness has over the recent decades come to be recognised as problematic. The problematization of the native speaker concept has, however, been more recent in other areas of language analysis including the field of minority language research and language revitalization, the sub-field on which we will focus here. Researchers interested in minority language communities such as Irish, Basque, Welsh, Corsican etc., and associated processes of language shift and revitalization, have by and large tended to focus much of their attention on native and/or heritage communities. Significantly less attention has been given to non-native or what we are referring to here as "new speaker" varieties and categories. In this paper we are interested in examining why this has been the case and how the treatment of nativeness in this subfield fits with the broader epistemological debates around the native speaker concept in the field of applied linguistics and linguistics more generally.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-67
    Number of pages21
    JournalHistoire Épistémologie Langage
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • minority languages
    • language revitalization
    • language shift
    • new speaker


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