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I joined the School of Education in September 2017 as a lecturer in Gaelic. I completed my PhD, "Gàidhlig ga bruidhinn an seo? - Linguistic practices and language management initiatives in Stornoway, the Western Isles of Scotland at the University of Aberdeen. This PhD was fully funded by Soillse and aimed to evaluate the linguistic practices of a community with a large percentage of Gaelic / English bilinguals, with a particular focus on the public domain and how the statutory language management initiatives of public organisations, created under the provisions of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. This study adopted a multimodal approach, including ethnographic observations of linguistic practices in the public domain to provide an evaluation of the overall level of Gaelic language use in the community, as well as language use diary-interviews with individual Gaelic / English bilinguals to assess the ideologies driving the practice and how these influence the de facto language policy.
I was awarded a £25,000 research grant by Bòrd na Gàidhlig to develop the use of language use surveys for the evaluation of the sociolinguistic vitality of Gaelic in the heartland communities of the languages. This study, due to be published in the early part of 2020, highlighted the importance of the inclusion of Gaelic in the linguistic soundscape of a community for the future sustainability of the language.
I am the co-chair of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education Languages group which has representatives of all initial teacher education institutions in Scotland. I am the Strathclyde Representative and vice-convenor of the Faclair na Gàidhlig steering group.
I am member of the Council of Europe's European Centre of Modern Languages Expert Group on early language learning, working with an internation team on a three-year project entitled 'Inspiring language learning and teaching in the early years - why it matters and what it looks like for children 3 - 12' (completed in 2019) and currently working on a four-year project entitled 'Parcours Linguistiques de jeunes enfants: Rendre visible l'apprentissage précoce des langues'.
I am registered with the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) and have experience of teaching across all sectors from nursery to tertiary education. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):
external examiner STREAP, University of Aberdeen
1 Sep 2020 → 1 Sep 2023
Member of the expert group on Early Language learning, European Centre for Modern Languages
1 May 2017 → 1 May 2019
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PALINGUI: PALINGUI – Language learning pathways of young children – Making early language learning visible
1/01/20 → 31/12/23
Project: Knowledge Exchange (Services/Consultancy)
Birnie, I., 23 May 2022, Postmodern Individuals in Urban Communicative Settings. Fedorova, K., Nekvapil, J. & Smakman, D. (eds.). Abingdon, 13 p. (Studies in Language and Identity).
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter6 Downloads (Pure)
Bon Trabalh? Reflections and observations from Occitan immersion education – lessons for Gaelic Medium education in Scotland?Birnie, I., 14 Sep 2021, In: Scottish Languages Review. 36, p. 35 - 45 11 p., 4.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile9 Downloads (Pure)