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Winter 2009

Home, school and playground: linguistic usages when lessons are over. Summary and analysis of the socio-demographic and study at secondary schools in Catalonia, by Natxo Sorolla


The aim of the study presented here is to analyse the socio-linguistic situation at secondary schools in Catalonia based on the data obtained from the "Socio-demographic and linguistic study at secondary schools in Catalonia", carried out in 2006 by the Department of Education of the Government of Catalonia with the cooperation of the Linguistic Policy Office. Firstly, a review is made of the methodology applied when this survey was carried out. Then, the results obtained on the various issues dealt with are described: the socio-demographic details of the pupil and his/her family, the main socio-linguistic details, linguistic competences, usages and representations and cultural consumption. An explanatory view of the data obtained in the study can be exhaustively consulted in the publication from the Education System Higher Assessment Council (2008), which can be viewed online (CSASE 2008). Secondly, a final section is incorporated focusing on the family language and linguistic usages with friends in order to highlight the main factors explaining the relationship and changes between one variable and another.

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1. Characteristics of the Study and Methodology

2. Descriptive analysis of the study
2.1. Socio-demographic details of the pupil
2.2. Family socio-demographic details
2.3. Basic socio-linguistic data
2.4. Family language
2.5. Knowledge and general language usages
2.6. Language and school context
2.7. Language with friends
2.8. Cultural consumption, new technologies and language
2.9. Opinions on linguistic usages
3. Multivariable analysis
3.1. Family language and language with friends
3.2. Multivariable analysis of the language spoken with friends
3.3. Analysis according to linguistic group
4. Conclusion
5. Bibliography

1. Characteristics of the study and methodology

The ”Socio-demographic and linguistic study at secondary schools in Catalonia” (CSASE 2008) has a total of 1,393 valid questionnaires and was carried out in May 2006. The initial design of the sample was applied at a total of 51 schools, which are the same centres as took part in the international PISA study in 2006 (CSd’A 2006a, CSd’A 2006b). Two-stage stratified sampling was used. In the first stage, 51 schools with 15-year-old pupils registered were chosen. At a second stage, up to a maximum of 35 pupils per school in the 4th year of secondary education were chosen at random. The schools forming part of the sample were allowed to decide to exclude from the application a small percentage of pupils who they considered did not have the capacity to carry out the test, either because they had diagnosed special educational needs or because they did not have sufficient mastery of the teaching language because of their recent incorporation in the Catalan education system.

The questionnaire consisted of 51 questions and was answered by all pupils assessed in an approximate time of one hour. These 51 questions can be divided into eight blocks: personal details, family details, linguistic knowledge and usages, school language and context, study habits, language outside school, cultural consumption, and language and representations.

2. Descriptive analysis of the study

2.1. Socio-demographic details of the pupil

The pupils surveyed in this study were those in the 4th year of compulsory secondary education, born in the early 1990s and aged between 15 and 16. As for the gender distribution, the number of girls is greater (56%) than the number of boys (44%).

Almost half (45.7%) are studying in cities with more than 100,000 population, while more than one in three (37.4%) are studying in medium-sized towns and one in six (16.9%) are doing so in towns with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants.(1)

As we explained in the Characteristics of the Study and Methodology section, the sample does not include the recently-arrived part of the population. The majority of those surveyed (91.8 %) were born in Catalonia. Those born outside Spain represent 5.5% of the sample and those born in other parts of Spain 2.7%. Although those born outside Catalonia are close to representing one in ten of those surveyed, slightly more than half of them have already been in Catalonia for more than 10 years, as, when they arrived, they were aged six or under. The other half consists of more recently-arrived pupils, having arrived after 2001.

2.2. Family socio-demographic details

Despite the high proportion of native pupils in the survey, the number of children of immigrants is very considerable. Of all the pupils, only half have two parents born in Catalonia. If those who have one of their two parents born in Catalonia are added, they add up to three quarters of the total. It must be specified that the mothers or fathers not born in Catalonia have been in the country for a long time: two thirds have lived there for more than 20 years and almost a fifth between 10 and 20 years.

The educational level of the parents is quite balanced between those who have university qualifications – almost a third of valid cases – and those with secondary education – a quarter. Meanwhile, those who have primary or unfinished education form a greater proportion – around 45%.

As for their employment situation, the majority of fathers work full-time (79.7%), while a smaller number of mothers work outside the home, with only 45.5% working full-time and 26.6% working part-time. Finally, the majority of parents continue to be married or live together, while a smaller number – 14% - are separated or divorced.

2.3. Basic socio-linguistic data

Among the population of the 4th year of compulsory secondary education, the number of pupils who have as their initial language(2) Catalan is similar (39.9%) to those speaking Spanish (42.9%). There is also another, much smaller, group of the population stating that their initial language is both Catalan and Spanish (14.1%). Finally, there is a small group with other initial languages, making up 3% of the population.

Gràfic 1 - Llengua inicial. Recordes quina llengua vas parlar a casa quan eres petit/a? Estudi sociodemogràfic i lingüístic als centres d’educació secundària de Catalunya, 2006. Percentatges



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