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Reading: New Basque speakers: linguistic identity and legitimacy


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New Basque speakers: linguistic identity and legitimacy


Ane Ortega ,

Bilboa’s Begoñako Andra Mari Teacher Training College
About Ane
Tenured professor in the Language Teaching Department at Bilboa’s Begoñako Andra Mari Teacher Training College
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Estibaliz Amorrortu,

University of Deusto
About Estibaliz

Tenured professor in the Modern Languages and Basque Studies Department at the University of Deusto.

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Jone Goirigolzarri,

Universidad de Deusto
About Jone

Profesora colaboradora del Departamento de Trabajo Social y Sociología de la Universidad de Deusto

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Jacqueline Urla,

Universidad de Massachusetts
About Jacqueline

Catedrática en el Departamento de Antropología de la Universidad de Massachusetts-Amherst  

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Belen Uranga

Sociolinguistics Cluster
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The number of Basque speakers has grown considerably in the last 40 years, due largely to the rising number of new speakers, or euskaldunberris, defined here as those people who have learned the language through any means other than family transmission. Although new Basque speakers constitute a strategic group for the future development of the language, until now no detailed study of this collective had been attempted.

In this article we present the results of research into the perceived linguistic identities of new Basque speakers, exploring the participants’ reasons for assigning themselves to one of three principal categories: euskaldun zaharra (native speaker), euskaldunberri (new speaker) and euskaldun (Basque speaker). It is argued that these categories reflect identities that can be situated in a continuum of authenticity that, in turn, correlates with the speakers’ self-perception as legitimate speakers of Basque.

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


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