Catalan Review


Catalan Review (2021), 35, (1), 23–47.


Understanding why parents transmit which of the languages they speak, and how they do so, is especially interesting in the case of mixed and migrant families, since typically these parents make especially well thought out linguistic choices. In this article is presented one such case, from the USA, a rich multilingual society yet where, due to the hegemony of English, intergenerational transmission of other languages is oftentimes weak. Through a questionnaire and interviews, this article examines linguistic practices and ideologies in multilingual families residing in New York City, in which one parent was born in Catalonia or in Galicia. Potential languages for transmission are two locally available and globally projected languages, English and Spanish; and Catalan or Galician. Not only are these minoritized languages in their countries of origin, but they also have virtually no presence in the American landscape. The two groups differ in the sociolinguistic situation of their homeland: while governmental campaigns succeeded in restoring Catalan in the public sphere and as a symbol for national identity, parallel campaigns have not been comparably successful for Galician. In our sample, transmission of Catalan is higher than of Galician; and in many cases Catalan is transmitted at the cost of Spanish, but this is never the case for Galician, while English remains constant. A motivational analysis reveals that the determining factor is the distribution of integrative and personal values among the languages and their symbolic role in the construction of identity.

Access Token
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Ammon, U. “The International Standing of the German Language.” Languages in a Globalizing World. Edited by J. Maurais and M. A. Morris. Cambridge UP, 2003, pp. 231-249. Google Scholar

Aracil, Ll., editor. Papers de sociolingüística. Barcelona: Edicions la Magrana, 1982. Google Scholar

Barron-Hauwaert, Suzanne. Language Strategies for Bilingual Families. Multilingual Matters, 2004. Google Scholar

Bernadó, C., Ll. Comajoan, and N. Bastons. “Anàlisi factorial dels motius d’aprenentatge del català com a llengua segona i relació amb el nivel, el temps d’estada, l’edat i el centre d’estudi dels alumnes.” Catalan Review, vol. 22, 2008, pp. 71-94. Google Scholar

Blommaert, J. M. E., and B. Rampton. “Language and Superdiversity.” Diversities, vol. 13, 2011, pp. 1-20. Google Scholar

Boix Fuster, E., editor. Urban Diversities and Language Policies in Medium-sized Linguistic Communities. Multilingual Matters, 2015, pp. 143-167. Google Scholar

Bradley, D. “Language Attitudes: The Key Factor in Language Maintenance.” Language Endangerment and Language Maintenance: An Active Approach by David Bradley and Maya Bradley. Routledge, 2002, pp. 1-11. Google Scholar

Brennan, T. At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now. Harvard UP, 1997. Google Scholar

Cannato, V. J. American Passage. The History of Ellis Island. Harper, 2009. Google Scholar

Casesnoves Ferrer, R., and Eva Juarros-Daussà. “La influencia de la política lingüística en la transmisión del catalán y del gallego dentro y fuera de sus fronteras.” Empiricism and Analytical Tools for 21st Century Applied Linguistics, edited by Elorza Izaskun, Ovidi Carbonell I Cortés and Reyes Albarrán. Universidad de Salamanca, 2011, pp. 861-874. Google Scholar

Casesnoves Ferrer, R., and Eva Juarros-Daussà. “Les institucions catalanes a NYC: influència en la transmissió i manteniment del català.” Societats i Cultures, més enllà de les fronteres, edited by L. Arroyo and M. Simó. Associació Catalana de Sociologia/ Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2013, pp. 2-25. Google Scholar

Casesnoves Ferrer, R., and Eva Juarros-Daussà. “El catalán entre las dos lenguas más habladas del mundo.” Lengua española, contacto lingüístico y globalización, edited by Roland Terborg, Amado Alarcón, and Lourdes Neri. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2015, pp. 463-492. Google Scholar

Costa, Ll. “The Catalan Migration to New York. A View from La Llumanera de Nova York (1874-1881).” The New York History Review, vol. 6, 2012, pp. 36-53. Google Scholar

Curdt-Christiansen, X. L. “Engaging Language Policy from Macro- to Micro- Level: Migration and Language in Europe,” Language and Education, vol. 32, no. 5, 2018, pp. 391-393. Google Scholar

Del Valle, José. “US Latinos, la hispanofonía and the Language Ideologies of High Modernity.” Globalization and Language in the Spanish-Speaking World, edited by C. Mar-Molinero and M. Stewart. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, pp. 27-46. Google Scholar

Del Valle, Sandra. The Bilingual’s Hoarse Voice: Losing Rights in Two Languages. Language Allegiances and Bilingualism in the US, edited by M. Rafael Salaberry. Multilingual Matters, 2009, pp. 151-171, pp. 80-109. Google Scholar

Dörnyei, Z. The Psychology of the Language Learner: Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2005. Google Scholar

Escobar, A. M., and K. Potowski. El español de los Estados Unidos. Cambridge UP, 2015. Google Scholar

Fishman, Joshua. Language Loyalty in the United States. Mouton, 1966. Google Scholar

Fuller, J. M., and J. Leeman. Speaking Spanish in the US: The Sociopolitics of Language. Multilingual Matters, 2020. Google Scholar

García, Ofelia. World Languages and their Role in a U.S. City. The Multilingual Apple. Languages in New York City, edited by Ofelia García and Joshua Fishman. Second Edition. Mouton de Gruyter, 2002. Google Scholar

García, Ofelia. Livin’ and Teachin’ la lengua loca: Glocalizing US Spanish Ideologies and Practices. Language Allegiances and Bilingualism in the US, edited by M. Rafael Salaberry. Multilingual Matters, 2009, pp. 151-171. Google Scholar

García, Ofelia, and Joshua Fishman, editors. The Multilingual Apple. Languages in New York City. Second Edition. Mouton de Gruyter, 2002. Google Scholar

Gardner, R., and W. Lambert. 1972. Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Newbury House: Rowley, MA. Google Scholar

González Pascual, I., and F. Ramallo. “Language Diversity in Vigo: The Challenges of a Minoritized Language in a Highly Castilianized City.” Urban Diversities and Language Policies in Medium-sized Linguistic Communities, edited by Emili Boix Fuster. Multilingual Matters, 2015, pp. 50-66. Google Scholar

Gunesch, K. “Multilingualism and Cosmopolitanism.” The Multilingual Mind, edited by Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa. Praeger, 2003, pp. 213-232. Google Scholar

Hawkey, J. Language Attitudes and Minority Rights: The Case of Catalan in France. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Google Scholar

Henley, A., and R. E. Jones. Earnings and Linguistic Proficiency in a Bilingual Economy. The Manchester School, vol. 73, 2005, pp. 300-320. Google Scholar

Jiménez-Salcedo, J. “A Minoritized Language on Both Sides of the Border: Legal Framework and Language Policy of Catalan in Andorra and Catalonia.” Multilingua, vol. 38, no. 2, 2018, pp. 155-168. Google Scholar

Juarros-Daussà, E. “Ideologías lingüísticas y transmisión en las poblaciones catalana y gallega de la Ciudad de Nueva York.” LL Journal, vol. 7, no. 1, 2021. Google Scholar

Juarros-Daussà, E., and T. Lanz. “Re-thinking Balanced Bilingualism: The Impact of Global Migration in Catalonia.” Language Problems and Language Planning, vol. 33, no. 1, 2009, pp. 1-21. Google Scholar

Lasagabaster, D., and A. Huguet, editors. Multilingualism in European Bilingual Contexts. Language Use and Attitudes. Multilingual Matters, 2007. Google Scholar

Lindenfeld, J., and G. Varro. “Language maintenance among ‘fortunate immigrants’: the French in the United States and Americans in France.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language, vol. 189, 2008, pp. 115-131. Google Scholar

Lippi-Green, R. English with an Accent. Routledge, 1997. Google Scholar

Lipski, J. Variations of U.S. Spanish. Georgetown UP, 2008. Google Scholar

Loureiro-Rodríguez, V. “Conflicting Values at a Conflicting Age: Linguistic Ideologies in Galician Adolescents.” Bilingualism and Identity, by M. Niño-Murcia and J. Rothman. John Benjamins, 2008, pp. 63-86. Google Scholar

Mar-Molinero, Clare, and Miranda Stewart, editors. Globalization and Language in the Spanish- Speaking World. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Google Scholar

May, S. The Multilingual Turn. Routledge, 2014. Google Scholar

Montrul, S. The Acquisition of Heritage Languages. Cambridge UP, 2016. Google Scholar

Newman, M., M. Trenchs-Parera, and S. Ng. “Normalizing Bilingualism: The Effects of the Catalonian Normalization Policy One Generation After.” Journal of Sociolinguistics, vol. 12, no. 3, 2008, pp. 306-333. Google Scholar

O’Rourke, B. “Language Contact between Galician and Spanish: Conflict or Harmony? Young People’s Linguistic Attitudes in Contemporary Galicia,” Globalization and Language in the Spanish-speaking World, edited by Clare Mar-Molinero and Miranda Stewart. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, pp. 178-195. Google Scholar

O’Rourke, B., and F. Ramallo. “The Native-Non-native Dichotomy in Minority Language Contexts: Comparisons Between Irish and Galician.” Language Problems and Language Planning, vol. 35, no. 2, 2011, pp. 139-159. Google Scholar

Pérez Rey, N. “Unha achega á emigración galega a Nova York.” Estudos Migratorios, vol. 1, no. 2, 2008, pp. 31-91. Google Scholar

Pujolar, J. “Immigration and Language Education in Catalonia: Between National and Social Agendas.” Linguistics and Education, vol. 21, 2010, pp. 229-243. Google Scholar

Schalley, A. C., and S. A. Eisenchlas, editors. Handbook of Home Language Maintenance and Development. Mouton De Gruyter, 2020. Google Scholar

Schmidt, R. “English Hegemony and the Politics of Ethno-Linguistic Justice in the US.” Language Allegiances and Bilingualism in the US, edited by M. Rafael Salaberry. Multilingual Matters, 2009, pp. 151-171. Google Scholar

Shorto, R. The Island at the Center of the World. Vintage Books, 2005. Google Scholar

Silva-Corvalán, C. Sociolingüística y pragmática del español. Georgetown UP, 2001. Google Scholar

Smolicz, J. J., I. Nical, and M. J. Secombe. “Educational Policies and Language Maintenance in Multilingual Settings: Australia and the Philippines.” International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, vol. 3, no. 4, 2000, pp. 242-264. Google Scholar

Sorolla, N., and A. Flors-Mas. “L’ús del català entre els millennials de Catalunya: el pes diluït de l’origen lingüístic.” Revista de Llengua i Dret, Journal of Language and Law, vol. 73, 2020, pp. 50-68. Google Scholar

Tollefson, J., and Miguel Pérez-Milans. The Oxford Handbook of Language Planning and Policy. Oxford UP, 2018. Google Scholar

Tse, L. “Why Don’t They Learn English?” Separating Fact from Fallacy in the U.S. Language Debate. Teachers College Press, 2001. Google Scholar

Vila, F. X. Survival and Development of Language Communities. Prospects and Challenges. Multilingual Matters, 2013. Google Scholar

Wei, L. “Towards a Critical Evaluation of Languages Maintenance and Shift.” Sociolinguistics, vol. 14, 2000, pp. 142-147. Google Scholar

Wiley, T. G. “The United States.” Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity, vol. 1, Oxford UP, 2010, pp. 302-322. Google Scholar

Wölck, W. “Diglossia, Stable Bilingualism and Minority Language Maintenance.” International Journal of Anthropology, vol. 23, no. 3-4, 2008, pp. 221-232. Google Scholar

Woolard, K. Singular and Plural. Oxford UP, 2016. Google Scholar

Yáñez Gallardo, C. “La emigración catalana a América.” La emigración española a ultramar 1492-1914, edited by A. Eiras Roel. Ediciones Tabapres, 1991, pp. 173-188. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details