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Josep Soler Carbonell University of Tartu (Estonia) University of Barcelona (Spain) Conference Languages of the Wider World London, 16-17 April, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Josep Soler Carbonell University of Tartu (Estonia) University of Barcelona (Spain) Conference Languages of the Wider World London, 16-17 April, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Josep Soler Carbonell University of Tartu (Estonia) University of Barcelona (Spain) Conference Languages of the Wider World London, April, Local and Global Languages in Different Official Status.

3 Introduction Discuss the interrelation between local and global languages in different settings. Source: fieldwork in Estonia and Catalonia. Main questions: Becoming a minority and its consequences. The adaption (or lack thereof) of a local language. The maintenance of a global language. Highlight the most interesting trends observed from the two study cases.

4 A note on terminology The labels global language and local language, a problematic issue. Global Language: English and only English? The classification of local languages. OR English Spanish Chinese German French

5 More on methodology The tools Participatory observation. In-depth interviews. Focus-group discussions. Ethnographic survey.

6 Results Catalonia: Spanish Autonomous Region. Aprox. 7 M inhabitants. Official languages: Spanish and Catalan. 94,5% understand Catalan language. 48,8% consider it their first language. 44,32% cosider Spanish to be their L1. Source: Institut dEstadística de Catalunya. Estonia: independent State (since 1991), EU member (since 2004). Aprox. 1,4 M inhabitants. Official languages: Estonian. Population (by ethnic filiation): Estonians 68,8%, Russians 25,6%, Ukranians 2,1%, Belarrussians 1,2 %. Source: Estonian Peoples Ministery.

7 Participatory observation: The classroom in Tallin: The classroom in Barcelona: Table Blackboard Teacher L1E L1R EMPTY Blackboard Teacher L1C L1S EMPTY

8 L1 RussianL1 Estonian Estonian language value in terms of: 1.Social activities. 2.Labor activities. 3.Leisure activities. 4.Intellectual activities. 100: Very important. 67: Important. 33: Unimportant. 0: Not at all important.

9 Adopting a local language: For what purpose? Is it a must or a plus? A painful or a playful process? Imposing or promoting its adoption?

10 L1 RussianL1 Estonian : I totally agree. 75: I agree. 50: I neither agree, nor disagree. 25: I disagree. 0: I totally disagree. 1. Estonian is a necessary language in Estonia. 2. Estonian is a language thats worth being developed. 3. I would like my children to master Estonian. 4. Estonian helps you find a better job. 5. If you master both Estonian and Russian, then you might find a better paid job. 6. Id like Estonian to remain the sole official language in Estonia.

11 The loss of status: In Estonia: Clear change Perceived differently by older and younger generations. In Catalonia: Not such an issue. Gradual process. Nowadays tendency: towards a clash of languages roles. What I see here is they are trying to do the same Russians did, because Estonians think there was a Russification during Soviet times, but the other way round. Now there is being Estonification, if we can say so. Thats why Russian has no status now.(...) And look at what other countries are doing. Look at Finland, for example, where only 5% of the population is Swedish and there you have this as an official state language. Thats normal! (JI3EMPL1RUS). I dont think Russian has lost any status, simply because it is still very much widely spoken in all the country, at least in larger cities (JA1ESTL1RUS).

12 Interesting observed trends Languages as a capital value (Bourdieu). Languages and their identity value; the i-value, or the question of authenticity (Gal & Woolard 2005).

13 THANK YOU!


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