'If we don't study the language, the history will be lost': motivation to learn Welsh in Argentine Patagonia

Darío Luis Banegas, Grisel Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examines the motivations of learners studying Welsh in the city of Esquel, Argentine Patagonia. Welsh is considered a heritage immigrant language in this region, given the fact that a group of Welsh settlers arrived in 1865 and established successful settlements. After a flourishing period, the process of acculturation reduced the number of Welsh speakers. However, through different projects, Welsh has started to grow in the community by attracting Argentines with and without Welsh roots to learn the language. Framed as a qualitative study, this article presents the findings that emerged from in-depth interviews with ten adult and young learners at a local Welsh learning centre in Esquel. Based on the qualitative data collected and on complementary theories of language learning motivation, it may be concluded that for the participants motivation is driven by family and community-driven interests in language maintenance and revitalisation. Also, integrative orientation, influenced by the official narrative of overrepresenting the Welsh in Patagonia (Berg, K. 2018. “Chubut, Argentina: A Contested Welsh ‘First-Place’.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 24: 154–166. doi:10.1080/13527258.2016.1274667), was identified as influential.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Early online date17 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2020

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Keywords

  • Welsh
  • heritage language
  • motivation
  • language learning
  • Patagonia
  • Welsh language

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