Perceptions of creativity and authenticity when acquiring a minoritised language as an adult

Michelle MacLeod, Marsaili MacLeod, Lindsay Dombrowski

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This paper explores the way in which a highly prescriptive approach to teachingan additional language allows students to develop the ability to creatively use the target language, and the way in which this impacts upon their understandings of ‘authentic’ language use. It reports the results of a study into teacher and student experiences of acquisition when using a structured teaching approach that was influenced by pedagogy from Situational Language Teaching and the Audio-Lingual Method. This approach uses routines and patterns, as well as chunk learning and formulaic utterances to guide adult learners towardoral/aural proficiency in Gaelic. Data was created through an online studentsurvey and interviews with students, tutors and the course author; these dataare supplemented by observation of classes. Results confirmed that lack offlexibility in the classroom discouraged learners from developing the capabilityto creatively use Gaelic, and this is consistent with previous literature in thearea. Our dataset further highlighted that there were issues pertaining toconfidence in ‘authenticity’ rising from the use of formulaic utterances toteach grammar and lexicon; these issues are exacerbated by the perception oflanguage standard in a minority language context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-69
Number of pages22
JournalScottish Gaelic Studies
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2019


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