Introduction: Language and speakerhood in migratory contexts

Marquez Reiter, R. and Martín Rojo, L. (2019). Introduction: Language and speakerhood in migratory contexts. International Journal of the Sociology of Language(257) pp. 1–16.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2019-2018

Abstract

This special issue brings together a collection of case studies that examine the making of speakerhood as experienced by migrants in Spain and Portugal. It focuses on moments in the life course of speakers as they navigate across transnational contexts where they face various linguistic demands. This involves being confronted with the norms, requirements and the values that define who is considered to be a speaker of the “language” or “languages” of the receiving community and being assessed in accordance with a given measure, that is, a canon of speakerhood in a particular community. The findings reveal the complexity of linguistic appropriation and the fundamental inclusive and exclusive nature of the making of a speaker in a world characterized by ambivalent historicities and uncertain investment outcome. The special issue allows to critically question notions such as nativeness and new speakerness through a theoretical and political engagement with speakerhood, and to interrogate what it means for whom to navigate linguistically and socially in receiving societies where personhood remains solidly attached to speakerhood.

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