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The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are also not members of the European Union (EU),2 which has some implications for language policy and funding for minority language development. Lösch (2000) sees attitudes towards the EU in the Channel Islands as varying from enthusiastic vis-à-vis strengthening ties with Normandy (which maintains a cultural centre in Jersey3), to negative, an expression of the historical mistrust of France (Lösch 2000: 101). In all three islands, political and legal independence from the UK and EU is highly valued and strongly defended.

It is therefore necessary to look beyond ‘preservation’ or ‘maintenance’ towards creating sustainable contexts in which people are able to make truly free language choices. In addition to the three positions proposed by Romaine (2008), two further responses to language endangerment can be identified: 4. Address social factors in language shift and language policies. 5. The ‘critical turn’. Position (4), Address social factors in language shift and language policies, is an extension of (3) that includes wider socioeconomic, political and assimilatory pressures on communities associated with minority languages, and thus addresses a wider range of factors in minoritisation and language endangerment.

This strategic border position may have encouraged islanders to distance themselves from a French identity (Lösch 2000). As early as 1206, King John ordered the construction of Castle Cornet to safeguard the harbour in St Peter Port (the Guernsey capital and the main harbour in the Channel Islands) from attacks by enemies in France. Throughout the mediaeval period, the rivalry between the monarchs of England and France continued, culminating in the Hundred Years’ War from 1337 to 1443 (Lemprière 1980: 31).

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