Photo of Inge Birnie
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Personal profile

Personal Statement

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.

External positions

Member of the expert group on Early Language learning, European Centre for Modern Languages

1 May 20171 May 2019

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Projects 2017 2019

Research Output 2014 2019

Open Access
language education

Gaelic language in public domains

Birnie, I., 1 Nov 2018, Gaelic in Contemporary Scotland: The Revitalisation of an Endangered Language . MacLeod, M. & Smith-Christmas, C. (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

official language

Activities 2016 2019

  • 7 Types of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation
  • 6 Participation in conference
  • 4 Membership of committee
  • 3 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

For Gaelic to survive in Scotland, it's not enough to learn it - more people need to use it in their daily lives

Ingeborg Birnie (Blogger)
18 Dec 2019

Activity: Other activity typesTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Le bi- plurilingualism dans l'êducation

Ingeborg Birnie (Participant)
22 Nov 201923 Nov 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course