And, in the case of the children of couples who speak other languages,
an important level of correlation is achieved only with informal
language usages with teachers. If we also add the pupil's initial
language, quite a robust model is completed with only two explanatory
Table 10. When you were little,
what language did your father and mother speak with one another?
= Other languages
Average language outside class with teachers
As we have seen, language use with
friends is explained by different factors. In the case of usage
by pupils in general, it is explained, above all, by family, school
and ideological factors. But the very diversity of usages within
each linguistic group, with these groups defined according to the
language spoken between the parents when the pupil was small, is
linked to a more complex perspective which is, above all, more difficult
to interpret. The reason why some children of Spanish-speaking couples
normally use Spanish with their friends, or why the children of
Spanish-speaking couples use Catalan, is not easy to explain with
the variables available.
The children of Catalan-speakers incorporate Spanish, in the first
place, when this has been the language their parents have transmitted.
But they also do so when, in their opinion, the use of Catalan should
be maintained or should increase everywhere. One of the most outstanding
facts is that the language spoken with brothers and sisters appears
to be slightly more important than the language spoken with parents.
This would emphasise the fact that the use of Spanish by this group
with friends tends to be more consolidated in transmission from
parents rather than usage with brothers and sisters.
This is quite the contrary of what happens with the children of
Spanish-speaking couples who also speak Catalan with their friends,
where it appears that the adoption of Catalan among brothers and
sisters would tend to be slightly less important than transmission.
But among the factors that would best explain the adoption of Catalan
as the language of communication by the children of Spanish-speaking
couples would be the adoption of the language to speak with teachers
in more informal usages. The perception of the use of Catalan in
the immediate context and among the linguistic reference group also
stands out among these factors. Particularly the first of the two
– the perception of usage in immediate contexts – would
indicate that the contexts that are perceived by the pupil as most
Catalan-speaking would help with the adoption of this language in
interactions with friends.
The factors that explain language usage with friends are many and
varied, and they form quite robust models. But the models are not
so robust in segmenting pupils according to the language their parents
spoke with one another when the pupil was small. This is above all
due to the fact that use with friends is mediated by the family
language. And, broadly speaking, family language shapes pupils'
language usage with their friends, with some nuances and considerable
flows from one side to the other. However, in general, Catalan-speakers
speak Catalan with their friends and Spanish-speakers speak Spanish
with their friends. Despite this, with the variables we have, it
can be highlighted that the children of Catalan-speaking couples
also speak Spanish, above all when this has been the language which
has finally been transmitted to them at home, with the strong support
of ideological factors. Meanwhile, the children of Spanish-speaking
couples are particularly outstanding in incorporating Catalan in
interactions with friends when they also use Catalan in informal
contact with teachers and when they perceive that Catalan is used
a great deal in their social context. These are precisely the two
factors which we highlighted because they can differentiate the
linguistic contact of native people and immigrants down to the '80s
concerning the children and grandchildren of both linguistic communities.
In the first place, with the current school model, schoolchildren
have seen their exposure to the minoritarised language – Catalan
– grow, regardless of their family language. And, secondly,
habitual interactions between the members of the linguistic groups
are multiplying. The effects of the ethno-linguistic barriers characteristic
of societies receiving migrations are thereby softened.
In summary, we can see that school plays an important role in the
incorporation of Catalan into language usage with friends for the
children of Spanish-speakers. But it is by no means the only factor.
And the universalisation of the knowledge of the Catalan language
must also be deeply involved. But it is precisely its universalisation
that makes it a factor outstripped by other less important variables.
And one of these significant factors is precisely the use of Catalan
with teachers, although outside the classroom; that is, in one of
the most colloquialising aspects of the language. With these results,
the great importance of school in the bilingualisation of the usages
of children of Spanish-speaking parents is perceived. But not only
in school's role as transmitter of a language with an important
academic value, also as the transmitter of the language with the
value of informal and colloquial usages.
Concerning the quality of the data and its results, we have found
some limits. The main one concerns going into depth in discovering
the socio-linguistic context in which the pupil lives. We have been
able to discover that the children of Spanish-speaking couples use
Catalan with their friends in contexts where they perceive that
Catalan is used a great deal. But we have not been able to show
empirically whether the actual presence of the language among the
other pupils in their class or their school, or among the people
around them or in their town have the greatest effect on the pupil's
usage or to what degree this occurs. The explanatory power of the
models would greatly increase if we knew with whom pupils interacted.
Who are their friends? And which languages do these friends speak
at home or with other friends? This analysis, looking at the social
network closest to the pupil in greater depth, would help us to
objectivise the context closest to the pupil. It would also be possible
to have, for each pupil, the index of the presence of Catalan in
the home for the other pupils in their class, as a measurement of
the linguistic environment.
Finally, we have shown that the analysis and interpretation of
family usages has never been a simple operation. Despite this, in
the generations born from the '80s onwards, and above all in the
'90s, we detect that these different points of view the family language
are not so clearly inter-related as they are in other age groups,
And where it used to be easy to link the initial language to the
language spoken with the parents, there are now disparities which
require intensive study; a study that would incorporate the initial
language, the language with the parents, with the brothers and sisters
and with the grandparents, and the language spoken between the parents.
It would also make a detailed analysis of the links between all
the different variables.
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