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Multilingual Matters Ltd.
Multilingualism In Spain

Multilingualism In Spain

by M Teresa Turell


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781853594915
Publisher: Multilingual Matters Ltd.
Publication date: 11/24/2000
Series: Multilingual Matters Series , #120
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

M. Teresa Turell (Ph.D. Universitat de Barcelona) is Professor of English Linguistics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). She has conducted extensive research on Catalan and English sociolinguistic variation. She is the author of No One-to-One in Grammar (1983), Elements per a la Recerca Sociolingüística a Catalunya (1984), Nuevas Corrientes Lingüísticas (1990), La Sociolingüística de la Variació (1995).

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Spain's Multilingual Make-up: Beyond, Within and Across Babel


The Genesis of the Book

Multilingualism in Spain deals with the sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of both established and new migrant minority groups in Spain. The philosophy behind the topic of this book involves the idea of a multilingual Europe where all official languages of the historical European nations are respected on an equal footing, and where all the so-called 'lesser used' languages of the regions of Europe are backed and reinforced. However, the philosophy of this book goes beyond that. It promotes respect for all those mainly non-European linguistic minority groups and speech communities, which have had to migrate and leave their country of origin for whatever reason, so that they are respected and given equal social, educational and linguistic opportunities.

Article No. 3 of the Spanish Constitution (1978) recognises Spain's national and linguistic plurality to the extent of granting an official status not only to the Spanish language in the whole territory, but also to the other 'Spanish' (that is, pertaining to Spain as a state) languages spoken in the Autonomous Communities commonly known as 'historical', that is, Basque, in the Basque country, Catalan, in Catalonia and the other Catalan-speaking countries (the Valencian country, including Valencia, Castello and Alacant and the Balearic and Pitiuses Islands, comprising Majorca, Minorca, Eivissa and Formentera) and Galician, in Galicia. This legal recognition has brought with it twin consequences, as Siguan (1992: 9) points out. In the first place, the fact that nowadays, slightly over 40% of Spanish citizens live in these Autonomous Communities in which Spanish shares its official status with Basque, Catalan and Galician; in the second place, the issuing and implementation of linguistic policies by these 'historical' communities' statutes designed to defend and promote these languages. In my view, this legal recognition takes a stand which has had and will have further, more subtle consequences: the recognition that there are migrant communities and many other languages spoken in Spain.

However, this new deal will have to fight its way through because in origin it is actually a response to not very positive reactions to already existing bilingualism in the above-mentioned established 'historical' communities involving, as mentioned, Catalan, Basque and Galician, and to ignorance of the other in situ languages of Spain: Aragonese, Astur-Leonese or Bable and Aranese. The achievement of these new goals will have to confront (1) the monolingual speakers' linguistic intolerance towards speakers of the main minority languages, and of these other in situ languages of Spain, and (2) society's linguistic intolerance towards speakers of regional dialects, not only of Spanish (Andalusian, etc.) but also of Catalan, of Basque and of Galician, with preference for the Standard variety and clear attempts to make linguistic diversity non-existent. Furthermore, the achievement of this new deal will have to overcome widespread ignorance of the 'lesser known' but also established communities, by which I mean the deaf communities, on the one hand, and the Gitano and the Jewish communities, which migrated in the past but have long been established in Spain, on the other, and the languages they use. The latter include the different Sign Languages, the Calo spoken by some members of the Gitano communities in Spain, and Yiddish, Jaketia, and Judeo Español or Ladino. In the case of the new migrant communities, there is a marked hierarchy of host community preferences or attitudes towards them and the languages they speak, so that some languages (and speakers) are granted higher prestige (French, English, Italian, German) than others (Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Tagalog, Igbo, Walof, Yoruba, Hausa).

Linguistically speaking, therefore, beyond the implementation of European programmes such as Erasmus, Lingua and Socrates and the 'official' European policy in relation to education, a correct, complete and consistent proposal of multilingualism would have to be predicated on the following: (1) respect for the existing linguistic diversity, and for all the languages of all the countries and nations that constitute Europe, (2) respect for the right of each individual to use her or his own language, not only within that person's territory, but also outside it, and not only by all the citizens from all the states already recognised as forming the future Europe, but also by all those who have abandoned their country and homeland, and (3) respect for the enriching right of each individual to learn and use, two, three or more languages, intent on better communication between humans, based upon understanding and not misunderstanding. The implementation of these premises necessarily involves having information on these minority groups' languages and the extent of linguistic plurality.

Apart from Siguan's España Plurilingüe (1992), which only analyses the situation of official and co-official languages as established by the 1978 Constitution, there is no other extensive account of language diversity in Spain. From what has been said above, it should be clear that apart from Spanish, which is the only official language in the whole of the Spanish territory and which has been thoroughly analysed and described, both formally and from the point of view of its variation, and Catalan, Basque and Galician, which are co-official with Spanish in Catalonia, the Valencian Country, the Balearic and Pitius Islands, the Basque Country, Nafarroa (Navarre) and Galicia, respectively, there are many more languages, and many more speech communities. These have either been present in situ for many centuries and contributed to the grounding of what is now known as contemporary Spain, have settled in Spain as a result of past migration, or are relatively recent having migrated into Spain during the last 20 years.

The genesis of this book has to be traced back to the period of 1988–93 when I was co-directing a Master's course in Teacher Education in Spanish as a Foreign Language whose participants originated from many of the communities that have been migrating and settling in Spain for the last two decades. Their motivation for taking such course was basically educational — to be able to teach Spanish to the members of their own minority group and do it with more awareness of their pedagogical and methodological needs. Yearly, the Ministry of Social Affairs provides information on migration, which is published in the Anuario de Migraciones, However, available information includes only demographic information on the new migrant communities, and although there exist isolated, basically anthropological, studies, there is no integrated account of the historical, social, and especially linguistic patterning of their settlement in Spain. Preliminary observation of these communities also confirmed that there was no detailed study on a number of variables that would give us a more global idea of such aspects. Accordingly, in 1993 a project on linguistic minority groups in Spain was set up to investigate the sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of these communities in order to achieve better understanding of Spain's multiethnic and multilingual make-up.

In this respect, the main aim of this book, which derives directly from the need to have available comprehensive accounts of language plurality, is to contribute to the description of all these languages and communities, considering in particular those which have never been described and updating the available data on the officially recognised languages of Spain with the exception of Spanish. A secondary aim is to learn more about the different languages and communities that constitute this multilingual organism in order to contribute to the ever necessary understanding between people and peoples, migrant and host, in a changing world whose future can only be conceived in terms of intercultural exchange.

Minorities in Spain

In the last two decades minority groups have emerged as a major concern for educational and language planning policies. Definitions and taxonomies are always difficult to make in a time of change, and in particular the concept of 'minority' is very difficult to define but, following Churchill (1986), three types of minority groups can be established: indigenous, established and new migrant minorities. They are generally distinguished by their specific linguistic and cultural traits, although language is not always a decisive factor since a minority group may not have a distinctive language of their own and still be a minority. According to this author, 'Indigenous' peoples are 'groups long-established in their native countries whose life style follows a traditional mode considered archaic by contemporary industrial societies' (p. 6). 'Established' minorities are 'groups long-established in their native countries whose life style has generally tended to evolve along the same lines as that of the remainder of their national society, though sometimes falling behind in the rate of evolution (p. 6). 'New migrant' minorities are 'groups perceived to have migrated recently to their current place of residence' (p. 6).

For analytical and taxonomic purposes, the terms adopted in this book to refer to minority groups in Spain are established and new migrant minorities, since they are particularly relevant to set up the context of study of Multilingualism in Spain. Large established communities include the Basques, the Catalans, and the Galicians, that is, the 'historical communities' (so described by law) which have been granted certain linguistic rights in the 1978 Constitution and some social, historical and economic rights through the different Statutes of Autonomy, as well as some economic advantages through the Central Government policy known as the 'Estado de las Autonomías' (the State of the Autonomies). Smaller established minorities also include the Astur-Leonese speakers, in Asturias, the speakers of Aragonese, in Aragón, and the Aranese people, the Occitan speech community of the Aran Valley. The Gitano and the Jewish communities, on the other hand, do not fit any of these definitions. In the case of the Gitanos because, even if their life-style is considered traditional and archaic by Spanish contemporary industrial society, they are part of the grounding of present-day Spain; in the case of the Jewish communities because, even if they have adopted the language(s) of the host community and their life-style has generally evolved as that of the rest of the their national society, they keep their traditions and religious practices. And in both cases, while being originally migrant communities, they migrated to Spain many centuries ago, and particularly in the case of the Gitano community, they have been prosecuted for over five centuries; therefore, for our purposes they will both be considered established minorities. Finally, the Deaf communities in Spain will also be considered established minorities because they have always been present in Spain although they have seldom been granted any recognition and respect.

The new migrant minorities are easier to define. They include those communities that have migrated recently or not so recently for several reasons. These include minorities from Western Europe such as, the Austrian, Belgian Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Southern Irish, Italian, Luxembourgian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swiss, Swedish, and British; from South America, such as, the Brazilian; from North America, that is, the US American and Canadian, and other English-speaking countries, including New Zealand and Australia; others from Black Africa (the Gambian and Senegalese), from the Maghreb (the Moroccan and Algerian), from Cabo Verde, and Egypt; still others from Asia, including the North Korean, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, the Middle East (the Lebanese and Jordanian) and Philippino; and finally, from Eastern Europe, including Russia and the former URSS.

Many taxonomies have been proposed (Churchill, 1986; Fishman, 1989; Fase et al. (eds), 1992) to characterise minorities. In the case of minority groups in Spain, their study has allowed to establish the most important factors that define them. These factors can be grouped under three typologies: sociodemographic, sociolinguistic and sociocultural patterns. Sociodemographic patterns have to do with absolute numbers (large minorities, such as the Catalan, the Basque and the Galician vs. smaller minorities, such as the Aranese in the Aran Valley, the Astur-Leonese in Asturias, or the Aragonese in Aragón; large migrant minorities continuing to increase, such as the Maghrebi vs. large stable migrant minorities, such as the British); length of settlement (long-standing minorities, such as the three 'historical' minorities, and also the Gitano and the Jewish minorities vs. more recent migrant minorities, such as the new migrant minorities; type of settlement (rural (i.e. the Black Africans and some sections of the Maghrebi communities in Catalonia; the Cape Verdeans in León and other areas of Castille) vs. urban (some other sections of the Maghrebi communities, the Gitano communities in their present-day settlement), and other factors such as motivation, family structure and social conditions. Sociolinguistic patterns are related to issues such as language maintenance (among the established minorities, the Catalans; among the new migrant, the Chinese community), language shift (the Jewish communities from Central and Eastern Europe which settled in Spain in the 1880s and adopted the language(s) of the host communities), and different degrees and types of bilingualism (Lambert, 1975): additive (in the case of the children of the so-called 'historical' communities vs. subtractive (in the case of the new migrant minorities from the Third World, such as the Maghrebians, the Black Africans, the Cape Verdean). Finally, sociocultural patterns have to do with their culture and traditions, the degree of culture proximity/distance, their degree of contact with the members of the host communities, and their degree of social organisation and political awareness ranging from (1) minorities which migrate and integrate, and have been described as more open (i.e. the Brazilians, the Italians, the US Americans), (2) minorities which integrate without giving up their own traditions and customs (the UK community, the Maghrebi communities), although some may give up their language(s) (some of the Jewish communities), have been described as less open, and some attain structured social organisation patterns, and finally, (3) those minorities characterised by different degrees of cultural isolation (the Gitano communities) and even ghettoisation (the Chinese community).

In this book, the terms 'minority' and 'community' have been used indistinctively, although it may be useful to point out that the term 'minority' seems to be more adequate to refer to its situation vis-à-vis the state, in this case, the Spanish state. Conversely, the term 'community' seems to be more relevant to refer to its internal idiosyncratic characteristics.


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Copyright © 2001 M. Teresa Turell and the authors of individual chapters.
Excerpted by permission of Multilingual Matters.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Viv Edwards, vii,
Acknowledgements M. Teresa Turell, ix,
The Contributors, xi,
1 Spain's Multilingual Make-up: Beyond, Within and Across Babel M. Teresa Turell, 1,
Part 1: The Larger Established Minorities,
2 The Catalan-speaking Communities Miquel Angel Pradilla, 58,
3 The Basque-speaking Communities Jasone Cenoz and }osu Perales, 91,
4 The Galician Speech Community Carme Hermida, 110,
Part 2: The Smaller Established Minorities,
5 The Occitan Speech Community of the Aran Valley Jordi Suils and Angel Huguet, 141,
6 The Asturian Speech Community Roberto Gonzalez-Quevedo, 165,
7 The Sign Language Communities Rosa Vallverdu, 183,
Part 3: The Other Established Minorities,
8 The Gitano Communities Angel Marzo and M. Teresa Turell, 215,
9 The Jewish Communities Barbara Vigil, 235,
Part 4: The New Migrant Minorities,
10 The Brazilian Community M, Teresa Turell and Neiva Lavmtti, 254,
11 The Cape Verdean Community Lorenzo Lopez Trigal, 271,
12 The Chinese Community Joaquin Beltran and Cresen García, 282,
13 The Italian Community Rosa M, Torrens, 301,
14 The Maghrebi Communities Belen Gari, 329,
15 The Portuguese Community Lorenzo Lopez Trigal, 344,
16 The UK Community M, Teresa Turell and Cristina Corcoll, 355,
17 The US American Speech Community M, Teresa Turell and Cristina Corcoll, 373,

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