Dr. Jack Knipe Has Research Published In Scholarly Book

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Monday, February 17, 2020 - 11:30am
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Limestone College Assistant Professor of English and Spanish Dr. Jack Knipe recently had research published in the book Indigenous Language Acquisition, Maintenance, and Loss and Current Language Policies.

His chapter, titled “Critical Language Pedagogy in Scotland: The Case of Gaelic Medium Education,” focuses on the application of critical theory and current second language acquisition theory in Gaelic Medium Education.

The book as a whole analyzes teaching practices and policies that relate to Indigenous languages.

 “The research topics and findings have implications even here in our own back yard,” Knipe explained. “Languages like Cherokee and Gullah have more in common with Scottish Gaelic than you would think in terms of social situation.

“Scottish Gaelic, one of Scotland’s Indigenous languages, has dwindled and now has fewer than 60,000 speakers,” he continued. “That’s roughly the population of Cherokee County. Most formal schooling throughout the country is done in English. Gaelic Medium Education, which started in the 1980s, involves teaching all k-12 classes through Scottish Gaelic. As social justice and human rights become more of a focus in education, many of these Gaelic Medium Education schools are popping up all over Scotland in an effort to revive the language.”

The research Knipe has been conducting includes understanding how to better teach languages, including lesser-used languages. His research also explores the political nature of teaching and how many languages and dialects have been forced out of educational settings.

“Gaelic did not end up with so few speakers just by chance,” he noted. “Its endangered status is the result of centuries of oppression and discrimination of Gaelic-speakers, as well as an economic incentive to abandon Gaelic for English. I think when it comes to language and education, you will never run out of things to research.”

Knipe has also studied other Indigenous languages around the world, such as the Mayan language Ixil in Guatemala. He has recently been invited to conduct research on the pedagogical practices of teachers at a diverse suburban school in New Zealand that promotes Māori language and culture.

A linguistics scholar, Knipe has written and presented on the Welsh culture and language in Argentina, language attitudes toward speakers of Spanish, Spanglish, and African American Vernacular English in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC, and linguistic changes (e.g., the low back vowel merger) occurring in the Upstate and Low Country of South Carolina.

As his mother is from the Highlands of Scotland, Knipe travels regularly between the USA and Scotland to visit family and to conduct research. Knipe earned his Ph.D. in International Education and Linguistics from George Mason University. He also works as the International Student Liaison at Limestone College.

His research explores the links between language, power, identity, and education. He has conducted research regarding education abroad, intercultural competence, and acculturative stress and second language acquisition experiences of international students studying in the United States.