Migration represents an important aspect of the Catalan reality. Catalonia experienced several migration waves, but has been also the starting point for many emigrants. Throughout the 20th century, after considerable internal migrations, Catalonia received large numbers of new comers, first from other Spanish regions and, subsequently, from foreign countries. Since the 80s Catalonia received the first modest flows of international migration, with the presence of some migrants mainly from Morocco, but also to the Senegal, Gambia and Philippines. The arrival of newcomers increased along the first half of the last decade, while it experienced a certain decrease during the phase of economic recession. On January 1, 2014, migration constitutes an important demographic reality in Catalonia, since the foreign population represents 15% of the population in Catalonia. Currently, migrants from Morocco represent the most relevant collective in Catalonia and in the city of Barcelona as well. The presence of people proceeding from the area Indo-Iranian area (Pakistani, Hindi and Bengali) and China has increased exponentially in Barcelona. In certain cases in their origin countries they are informed about the presence of job opportunities in Catalonia, but they rarely know that it is important to have a certain learning background of Catalan and Spanish. Most of the people who every year arrive to Barcelona are unaware about the bilingual reality of Catalonia. Upon arrival, they realize that the street signs are written in a language that they don't know and that in shops or in the TV they listen a language that is similar to Spanish, but possesses her own entity and characteristics. In order to get access to certain jobs they would need to learn the language (or languages) of their host country, in respect of the legal framework. It is from this demographic and socio-linguistic context that we focus our research on the acquisition of Catalan as a foreign language in the multilingual context of Barcelona, which is characterized by up to 277 different languages that are used by individuals from several cultures to develop their daily life. From a multidisciplinary perspective, the main aim of this work is to show that, with the same number of hours of Catalan teaching, the interlanguage status in Catalan shows significant differences according to several linguistic, sociolinguistic and social-affective variables. In order to evaluate the communicative and linguistic competence of students we employ the standard scales of the Common European Framework Reference for Languages (CEFR, 2003). The sample consists of 76 students with non-romance L1 (Indo-Iranian, arabic and chinese) and Spanish-speakers enrolled at Catalan A2 level courses that are coordinated by the Centre for Language reception in Barcelona (Centre d’Acolliment Lingüístic de Barcelona). On the basis of the ethnographic methodology Casual Speech, we collect information about: the reaction in front the fact of having to learn two languages in the same territory, language preferences in the choice of Catalan or Spanish as host language, the similarities and the differences between the socio-linguistic situations of the origin countries and the Catalan one, the reactions of the closest environment (i.e. friends, relatives, etc.) to the learner when they get to know that he/she is studying Catalan, the opinions about the importance or not to know the Catalan in Catalonia, etc. Adopting the Social Psychology of Language framework, we identified the range of motivations that push the pupils to studying Catalan. It seems that the motivational orientations do not constitute a closed list, but, as highlighted by Dörnyei (1994: 275): The exact nature of the social and pragmatic dimensions of L2 motivation is always dependent on who learns what languages where. Therefore, we present specific motivations in the field of learning Catalan as LE in a multilingual context as that of Barcelona. In this paper, we also collected dialogues about the Catalan language – positive and negative attitudes – and some notes about students’ perceptions about linguistic behaviours – linguistic convergence – of autochthonous in front of strangers. These evidences allow us to propose measures aimed at increasing the confidence of the Catalan population and break the ice to using Catalan in any conversation regardless of the origin of the interlocutor.
|Date of Award||15 Jul 2014|
|Supervisor||Ana Bartra Kaufmann (Director) & Joan Albert Argenter Giralt (Director)|