Bernie O’Rourke is Reader in Spanish and General Linguistics at Heriot-Watt University. Her research focuses on the role of language in the construction of social difference and inequality, drawing on theoretical frameworks and concepts within the general area of sociolinguistics and the sociology of language. In this research Bernie examines these processes as they unfold in the case of indigenous and non-indigenous minority languages in different European contexts including Irish, Gaelic and Galician and migrant languages spoken in Ireland and Scotland such as Urdu, Arabic and Polish.
She is Chair of the EU COST network entitled 'New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges'. Together with researchers from some 20 European countries, she is investigating the policy implications around acquiring, using and adopting new languages in the context of a multilingual Europe.
Working Group: Arts, Humanities and Society