The naïf, the sophisticate, and the party girl

Regional and gender stereotypes in Breton language web videos


  • Madeleine Adkins University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Jenny L. Davis University of Colorado at Boulder



Breton language, language revitalization, language endangerment, new media, language education, gender


Expanding upon research that has explored the reproduction of hegemonic gender norms in foreign language education, this paper analyses the stereotypes of gender and sexual hegemony, as well as a potentially subversive counterexample, in a Breton language web-based video comedy series designed to celebrate and promote the language, and explores the potential impact of these norms in this critically important endangered language revitalization context. Given that there is almost no intergenerational transmission of the Breton language, and that only a limited number of young people are educated in immersion and bilingual programmes, the Breton language has already largely disappeared from everyday life in Brittany; in response to this reality, Breton language media outlets have been established to reach out to the younger generation of speakers and encourage them to maintain interest in Breton after leaving school. This study offers insights into the complex interweaving of tradition, gender, and modernity in language revitalization efforts, and discusses the impact of such programming upon the Breton language community in Brittany and the Breton diaspora.

Author Biographies

Madeleine Adkins, University of Colorado at Boulder

Madeleine Adkins teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research interests include language revitalization, Breton, Irish, language and identity, and sociocultural linguistics.

Jenny L. Davis, University of Colorado at Boulder

Jenny L. Davis is a PhD Candidate in Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the Henry Roe Cloud Fellow in American Indian Studies at Yale University. Her research interests are in language revitalization, language and identity, and language, gender and sexuality.


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How to Cite

Adkins, M., & Davis, J. L. (2012). The naïf, the sophisticate, and the party girl: Regional and gender stereotypes in Breton language web videos. Gender and Language, 6(2), 291–308.