Language socialisation and muda: The case of two transnational migrants in Emmaus Barcelona

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This article investigates the relationship between socialisation and the
concept of linguistic muda in a community of practice that belongs to a social
movement called Emmaus. Based on a long-term ethnography (2008–2017), the
article focuses on two transnational migrants who undergo a linguistic muda
into functionally bilingual Catalan through participation in communal activities
at Emmaus Barcelona. The analysis firstly traces the tensions arising in linguistic negotiation during a migrant novice’s initial participation in assemblies as a
“socialising routine”. Although established participants of all origins projected a
preferred bilingual stance and routinely code-switched, newly-arrived migrants
were initially addressed in Spanish, in line with the commonsensical sociolinguistic behaviour routinely adopted with migrants in Catalonia. Analysis of the two migrants’ socialisation trajectories in Emmaus illuminates the changing sociolinguistic norms in Catalonia that legitimise transnational migrants’ linguistic mudes in this community. In conclusion, acceptance as a legitimate speaker of Catalan at Emmaus Barcelona can be viewed as a means to an end: that of becoming a legitimate member, capable of participating in joint (inter) actions such as assemblies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-163
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019

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