Safeguarding language as intangible cultural heritage

Braber, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-2611-1190 and Howard, V., 2023. Safeguarding language as intangible cultural heritage. International Journal of Intangible Heritage, 18, pp. 146-158. ISSN 1975-3586

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The UK currently lacks a national framework for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH). ICH represents ‘living cultural expressions and practices, which are recognised by communities as distinct aspects of identity’ (Alivizatou-Barakou et al. 2017, 129). We argue that language, including dialects, accents and lexicons of UK communities, must be included within approaches which aim to safeguard ICH. As a ‘repository’(Bialostocka 2017) of community practices, language is central to individual and shared identities and feelings of ‘belonging’(Sarma 2015). This paper challenges perceptions that the UK has no ICH (see Waterton and Smith 2009) through a case study of ‘pit talk’ in the East Midlands. It draws on approaches being taken on local or regional levels to preserve and revitalise language heritage (e.g. Howell 2013; ICH Scotland n.d.). We explore the potential benefits, disadvantages and limitations of the UK ratifying UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003. Although we argue that this would be a positive step towards protecting ICH in the UK, we propose that a UK-wide framework, which places community needs at its heart, is key to safeguarding language heritage for future generations.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Intangible Heritage
Creators: Braber, N. and Howard, V.
Publisher: National Folk Museum of Korea
Date: 2023
Volume: 18
ISSN: 1975-3586
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 19 Oct 2023 16:14
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2023 16:14

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