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Reading: Constructing Inequalities in Bilingual Spaces: Teaching Catalan to Female Immigrants

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Constructing Inequalities in Bilingual Spaces: Teaching Catalan to Female Immigrants

Author:

Tulay Caglitutuncigil Martinez

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, ES
About Tulay
Estudiant de Doctorat
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Abstract

Immigrants are generally expected to learn and use the legitimate language as a practical means of access to welfare services and employment. This argument creates a hypothetical connection between the established language regimes and social and economic integration. Although it is not explicitly defined, this connection implies that integration is a unilateral process that should be undertaken by the immigrant population through language acquisition. Nevertheless, language is symbolic capital that can also be used as an empowering or disempowering tool. Access to the legitimate language, distribution of linguistic capital and strategies of legitimization and de?legitimization in specific fields like adult language schooling can indicate how social inequalities and hierarchies are constructed. In this paper, I focus on Catalan language classes provided to Moroccan immigrant women in a small town north of Barcelona. Basing my analysis on a set of qualitative data collected between December 2013 and January 2014, I argue that these classes contradict public policies that promote the use of Catalan. This is because the Catalan language skills that are supposedly taught are, in fact, under-distributed, with the female new speakers mostly legitimized as Spanish rather than Catalan speakers.

How to Cite:
Published on 01 Maig 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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