Journal of Sociolinguistics

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Migrants' minority‐language newspeakerism: The pervasiveness of nation‐state monolingual regimes in transnational contexts

From a critical sociolinguistics perspective, this paper investigates processes of minority‐language newspeakerism among 23 migrants from heterogeneous socioeconomic and language backgrounds. Informants networked in a cybercafé and a bench in Catalonia, a European society with a majority and a minority language, Spanish and Catalan. Drawing on audio‐recorded interviews, naturally‐occurring interactions and four‐year ethnographic data, I analyze how informants' language practices and ideologies interplay with self‐/other‐ascribed Catalan newspeakerhood. The results show that migrants do not envision themselves as Catalan newspeakers. They employ ethnicist constructions of Catalan as ‘the locals’’ language, and inhabit fluid identities whereby ‘Catalanness’ is vindicated through global Spanish. They invest in Spanish newspeakerhood instead, presenting Spanish as the language of ‘integration’. I conclude that newspeakerism contributes to understanding migrants’ roles in the linguistic conflicts of minority‐language societies; particularly, the ways in which they invest in majority languages, following nation‐state monolingual regimes which pervade as gatekeepers to post‐national citizenship.

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