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  • Author or Editor: Fiona O’Hanlon x
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This chapter explores civil society’s past and present role in addressing the existential threat facing two ‘minority’ languages, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. The new analysis in Chapter 5 highlights the key past role played by civil society organisations in staving off language death and reversing language decline in the two countries. This involved mobilisation, protest and civil disobedience and has resulted in new legal rights and a significant expansion of minority language education. The analysis also presents a series of new findings on the contemporary role of national festivals in seeking to promote minority language use in social contexts. This matters because while both languages have seen an increase in the number of speakers, much of the gain has been associated with formal state education. The wider literature warns us that a language which is confined to the educational sector is not a living language. Therefore, much depends on civil society organisations’ co-working with state agencies to promote language use in social settings. The case studies are the Eisteddfod Cenedlaethol (National Eisteddfod) in Wales and Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (Mòd) in Scotland. The latter being an eight-day annual Gaelic language and culture festival.

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