Language use in the context of double minority: the case of Japanese–Catalan/Spanish families in Catalonia

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Abstract

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This study explores language use in Japanese–Catalan/Spanish families in Catalonia with a special attention to Japanese. In a community such as Catalonia wherein two languages of different status are in conflict within its own territory, the ability of families to maintain a socially ‘weaker’ language and transmit yet another language that does not have an official status within the community raises an important question: how do these cross-linguistic families cope with a ‘double minority context’ in terms of organising their language use within the family? Analysing the data collected through a questionnaire survey conducted with 29 Japanese–Catalan/Spanish-speaking families living in Catalonia revealed that the parents in said families adopted a mostly monolingual use of Spanish; however, this practice does not affect the families’ Catalan and Japanese use. Not establishing a single common language for the family may be one of the strategies to combat the threat to minority languages. In general, especially for the survey participants, Catalan and Japanese remain significantly utilised. Our study also found that sibling existence can influence language-use patterns between parent and child(ren), with monolingual practices tending to be used in single-child families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-418
JournalInternational Journal of Multilingualism
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Catalan
  • Japanese
  • Language use
  • cross-linguistic families
  • heritage language
  • language transmission

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