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Sociolingüística catalana

Acquisition of the Catalan language by Moroccan students in Compulsory Education, by Lluís Maruny Curto and Mònica Molina Domínguez


Speech proficiency was therefore assessed taking the following factors into consideration:

  • The number of turns of phrase used by the student in each section.

  • The number of UIRs produced by the student in each section.

  • The "speech density", or relationship between the UIR and the number of turns of phrase.

  • The "speech autonomy", or number of UIRs produced in a single turn of phrase.

  • The degree of subject development in each section.

  • The presence of particular problem areas in speech: difficulties in understanding the enunciation; specific grammatical limitations; incoherence; unjustifiably incomplete speech; low level of co-operation and overuse of Spanish.

  • The presence of qualitative speech elements: the contribution of clarifications and detail or thematic expansion.

In order to evaluate reading ability, the following factors were explored:

  • Ability to read aloud, from the fable text.

  • Recollection of previously-read books.

  • Comprehension of narrative texts (by giving an explanation of the fable after reading it a second time in silence).

  • Comprehension of informative texts: news.

  • Comprehension of expository texts.

The identification and understanding of the key ideas in each text were of particular importance when it came to evaluation.

To evaluate competence in writing, students were asked to re-write the fable The fox and the crow after having shown complete comprehension of the text in question. Points evaluated included the coherence of the text, its cohesion, and the appropriateness of the style and content.

5. Language use of the Moroccan Students taking part in the sample

While not being the main aim of this research, several sociolinguistic aspects were thrown up during the interviews which could help to define the general framework of Catalan language learning at school for these students.

  • From our sample, almost half spoke Berber (23) while the rest spoke the Moroccan form of Arabic (26).

  • Out of 49 students, 27 stated that their mother had no knowledge of Spanish, 11 said that she knew a little bit and five students said that she had a good knowledge. Not one student stated that their mother knew Catalan. All students spoke their native language with their parents.

  • However, some of the older students from group C at ESO level said that they often spoke Spanish with brothers and sisters. No student said that they spoke Catalan with their siblings.

  • Out of 49 students, 33 stated that in public (playing, shopping, walking…) they mainly speak in their native language or in Spanish. Seven students mentioned Catalan as being the language they most used in public. Seven more students said that they used both languages indiscriminately. Only two students stated that they used their native language predominantly when out in public.

  • The majority of students stated that they watch television in a variety of languages (Arabic, Catalan and Spanish). Eleven students said that they mainly watch Catalan channels and another 11 mainly watch the television in Spanish. As for types of programme, the majority mentioned the following as their favourites:

  • In Arabic: news, films or series.

  • In Spanish: game-shows or series.

  • In Catalan: cartoons and children’s programmes (the majority of students who watch the Catalan channels come from Primary school).

6. Results in relation to the variables under study

In the data gathered in this sample and within this research study, the evaluation of ability in both oral and reading aspects has demonstrated that the variable of length of stay has great relevance and significance, as was surmised.

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