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Title: Investigating current language policy in Alicante : a case study
Author: Burgess, E. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 7343
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis provides an assessment of language policy (Spolsky, 2004) in Alicante, one of three provinces in the Valencian Community in the south east of Spain. The Valencian Community was founded in 1982 during Spain’s transition to democracy. Its Statute of Autonomy (Corts Valencianes, 1982), which was created in the same year, declares Castilian (the language of the state) and Valencian (a geographic variety of Catalan) as co-official in the autonomous community. Prior to this, Franco’s regime (1939-1975) had prohibited the public use of regional varieties such as Valencian. Yet, whilst the two languages now share equal official status, there is disparity between official language statements and de facto language policy (Shohamy, 2006). This project contributes to the growing research areas of language policy and language revitalisation. The findings of this study are positioned in the context of Catalan-speaking territories, Spain, and the wider European setting. This thesis provides a localised view of language policy in Alicante and uncovers the complexity of the current sociolinguistic setting. In order to present such a nuanced view of local language policy, this project draws upon qualitative and quantitative data collected during the administration of fieldwork questionnaires in 2014 in the towns of Sant Vicent del Raspeig and La Vila Joiosa. Both towns are in the province of Alicante; Sant Vicent del Raspeig is in the comarca (county) of L’Alacantí whilst La Vila Joiosa is in La Marina Baixa. This thesis examines a number of themes that emerged from the data, including the evolution of the composition of linguistic repertoires and the perception and construction of Valencian identities. This project also discusses the closure of the Valencian public broadcaster Ràdio Televisió Valenciana (RTVV) and examines how external factors, in addition to internal components, contribute to language policy. Data revealed that there is not one clearly identifiable language policy in Alicante; rather multiple layers of language practices, language management and language beliefs operate and intersect at various levels to contribute to a complex local language policy. This complexity is due in part to the social, linguistic, cultural and historical change experienced since the transition to democracy. Of particular significance is the increased access to Valencian which has resulted from the introduction of language legislation and the inclusion of Valencian in the education system (Blas Arroyo, 2002). As such, more language users are able to acquire standard Valencian, and its surrounding ideologies (Milroy, 2001; 2007), and also literacy. Consequently, language policy continues to evolve to reflect such changes as more language users are exposed to Valencian. However, data suggest that previous conditions and consolidated ideologies inherited from the past also continue to be influential and contribute to current language policy. This range of language practices, management and beliefs informs a complex and dynamic language policy. This project presents the case of language policy in Alicante and contributes to current research in Hispanic Studies and Sociolinguistics. The findings of this study further our understanding of language policy and its development in response to changing sociolinguistic conditions, such as increased access to minority languages in the present European context as a result of language revitalisation efforts. The findings presented here should encourage further research and debate, not only in the context of Spain, but also in other European contexts where a minority language has undergone language revitalisation, which has resulted in a change to traditional sociolinguistic order.
Supervisor: Tufi, S. ; Cullell, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral