Continuity and change: language ideologies of Catalan university students

Byrne, Steven; Bertran, Aleida and Tudela Isanta, Anna (2022). Continuity and change: language ideologies of Catalan university students. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development (Early Access).



Catalonia is an interesting site for language ideology research for several reasons. It is a multilingual and multicultural territory, where both Catalan and Spanish enjoy the status of co-official language. Adding to this, over the course of the last two decades there has been a growing movement that has called for the independence of Catalonia from Spain, one which frequently places linguistic concerns at its centre. Against this backdrop, we report on a project that qualitatively examines the language ideologies of university students in the period after the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. Specifically, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 33 undergraduate students attending three universities from the wider Barcelona area. We examined the language ideologies of this cohort through the theoretical lens of linguistic authority, in particular, the concepts of anonymity and authenticity. Two central themes emerged from the data analysis: ‘Catalan: “lingered” authenticity?’ and ‘Spanish: glocal anonymity’. The findings reveal a complex array of language ideologies toward both Catalan and Spanish. Furthermore, in an ever-changing socio-political and sociolinguistic landscape in Catalonia, we maintain that qualitative methods can act as a powerful tool when examining cases of complex multilingualism.

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