Eva Juarros Daussa – University of Copenhagen

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Small Fishes in a Big Pond: Language Practices and Ideologies among Catalans in North America

Eva Juarros Daussa, University of Groningen (Poster session Thursday 16:00)

The United States of America is a rich multilingual society. However, due to the dominant ideology promoting the hegemony of English, intergenerational transmission of other languages is oftentimes weak. I present a study of linguistic practices and ideologies by multilingual families residing in New York City, in which one of the parents is born in Catalonia. Potential languages for transmission are: two locally available and globally projected languages, English and Spanish; and Catalan, not only a minoritized language at home, but also one with no presence in the American landscape. In the sample of 62 families, parents transmitted Catalan in a surprising proportion, and in many cases at the cost of Spanish. A motivational analysis revealed that the determinant factor was the distribution of integrative and personal values among the languages and the symbolic role that the languages had in the construction of identity. This population is briefly compared with the NYC Galician community, which presents similar sociolinguistic characteristics, but opposite linguistic choices. An analysis of language ideologies reveals that the spreading ideology of minority cosmopolitanism in Catalonia, but not Galicia, might also be influencing language choices in the diaspora.