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Contesting sub-state integration policies: migrant new speakers as stakeholders in language regimes
Language Policy, Volume: 18, Issue: 4, Pages: 513 - 533
Swansea University Author: Gwennan Higham
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This paper aims to illuminate the role of sub-state languages in the integration process of migrants in two sub-state regions: Wales in the UK and the Basque Autonomous Community in Spain. We investigate how language and the idea of ‘belongingess’ based on language learning and knowledge are constru...
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This paper aims to illuminate the role of sub-state languages in the integration process of migrants in two sub-state regions: Wales in the UK and the Basque Autonomous Community in Spain. We investigate how language and the idea of ‘belongingess’ based on language learning and knowledge are constructed in the integration policies in these two officially bilingual regions. We analyse policy documents on the topic of integration of migrants in the respective state and sub-state regions, as well as exploring how the role of language is in turn understood, accepted or contested by migrants. Using ethnographically oriented methods of enquiry such as observations of linguistic practices as well as semi-structured interviews with migrant learners of Welsh and Basque, this analysis seeks to contribute to the growing field of LPP as a multifaceted area of study, and in this case, position migrants as agents in policy-making processes. We find that despite distinctive and ambiguous roles ascribed to the respective official languages of each region, migrant new speakers ascribe certain values and roles to each language, which are not necessarily acknowledged or envisaged as such in integration policies. We propose that taking the voice of migrant new speakers learners into account would improve language and integration policymaking in these two sub-state regions and help to redefine the role of language resources in national ‘belongingess’ according to the needs of the stakeholders involved.
migrant integration, minority languages, belonging, language policy, new speakers