Bridging divisions between majority, national minority and immigrant languages through the plurilingual approach

Nina Carlsson and Charo Reyes at the Faber ResidencyThe demographic changes that are taking place globally also affect Catalonia considerably. These changes lead to situations that question the status quo; there are new languages, new religions, population pyramids that change the configuration of our societies; new beliefs, and new economic and job opportunities. The Faber d’Olot residence, linked to the Ramon Llull Institute, planned for 2019 a residence entitled “Migration Policies, Diversity Policies”, in which sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, historians, social educators, economists, lawyers, researchers and professionals in the field were invited to participate, with the intention of debating the challenges that governments, institutions and citizens face when managing these changes.

Charo Reyes, researcher at EMIGRA/Cer-Migracions and Europa Sense Murs (Europe Without Walls), and Nina Carlsson, PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Södertörn, Sweden, have been two of the residents that Linguapax has brought to the residency, with the aim of tackling, with concrete proposals, the challenge of managing linguistic diversity: language policy as a cross-cutting public policy, and language planning as a mechanism for fostering respect, for multiple identities, and for the integration and definition of languages in education, and as a strategy for describing the linguistic landscapes that are drawn in large urban concentrations.

In this video, recorded by Linguapax, Charo Reyes and Nina Carlsson talk about the subject and put some questions on the table

  • Do we need to learn the two official languages of a country in order to become full-fledged citizens?
  • What are the implications of arriving in a new country without knowing the context and the languages spoken in it, and with the political tensions that may be implicit in the language?
  • Both Catalonia and Finland has two official languages (Catalan and Spanish, and Finnish and Swedish, respectively). What consequences does learning one or the other have on the lives of newcomers?
  • Do social movements based on linguistic identities affect migrants? Are migrants aware of the implications for them of learning one language and not the other?
  • How is space and languages distributed in the Catalan educational system? Does the monolingual perspective of schools want to reflect the protection of the territory or national identity? How come we plan to promote multilingualism in schools, but at the same time we maintain the same monolingual discourse?
  • Have we normalised monolingualism? Who has the power to capitalise on languages?

Access the interview here.