Two-way Integration of Heritage and Minoritized Speakers: Voices from Catalonia

Juarros Daussà, E., Lanz, T. & Pera i Ros, R., 2020, The Impact of Migration on Language and Culture Areas. Hoinkes, U. & Meyer, M. (eds.). Peter Lang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Complex civil societies which emphasize inclusion and equality crucially need to balance community needs with those of multilingual and multicultural individuals regardless of their migratory status. This is a delicate process especially in contexts with a long-standing struggle for maintaining a local minoritized language. The process is even more delicate in contexts where a multitude of new languages have been introduced through migration. Adapting Modood’s (2012) two-way integration model, we claim that in such contexts, promoting the acquisition of the local minoritized language among the immigrant population within a climate of respect and support for immigrant heritage languages, is the most cost-effective and promising security strategy for sustained social harmony. To that end, we argue that coordination and collaboration among policy makers, educators and families, is vital. As a relevant case study, we present the example of Catalonia. Catalan demographics have deeply changed due to globalized migration, with the foreign-born population currently representing 13.6%. As a result, there are around 300 languages spoken today in the region. Having left bilingualism in Spanish and Catalan behind, policy makers nowadays need to successfully protect their historical language(s) on the one hand, and, on the other, support the new linguistic diversity. Work on both old and new speakers of Catalan is already available (Vila 2013, O’Rourke et al. 2015); to complement it, we here present original data on languages other than Catalan within 10 immigrant communities with relative salience in Barcelona, including Arabic, English, Punjabi, Quechua, Romanian, Amazigh, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Wolof. Through ethnographic interviews and narrative discourse analysis, we (once more) observe that immigrants assign great importance to the preservation of their language(s), and would appreciate more initiatives promoting intercultural communication and multilingualism. In exchange, they are willing to become users of Catalan as well as Spanish, and even to contribute to the values and goals of today’s Catalonia, a community at a historical crossroad. This case illustrates how skillful policy making within an inclusive civil society context can create an atmosphere which rewards migrants’ initial open-minded attitudes towards cultural and linguistic accommodation, while simultaneously bolstering conservational goals. We generalize this case to offer guidelines on positively dealing with other diverse populations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of Migration on Language and Culture Areas
EditorsUli Hoinkes, Matthias Meyer
PublisherPeter Lang
ISBN (Electronic)9783631815427
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • heritage languages, migration, multiculturalism, two-way integration, Catalonia, mirror effect, multilingual education

ID: 72260180