Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 1, No 3 (2007)

Young People's Social Networks and Language Use: the Case of Wales

Delyth Morris
Issued Date: 9 May 2008


This paper outlines the results of a project carried out in Wales between 2003-2005, looking at the social networks and language use of young people aged 13-17 years. Twenty four participants were studied in twelve different areas of Wales, making a total sample group of 288. The participants were selected on the basis of their own Welsh language competence and that of their parents. The resulting network configurations across the various locations portrayed quite different responses regarding the young people’s use of the Welsh language. The major determinant of the Welsh language density of the networks was the language used by the respondent in the home. The analysis of the data allowed the development of a typology of locations distinguished by the incidence of the use of Welsh in different social networks. Three types of communities emerged – firstly, those which integrate dominant language speakers; secondly, communities containing two distinct language groups; and thirdly, communities where Welsh is rapidly being assimilated into the normative context where English is the predominant language.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v1i3.435


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