Immigrants as new speakers in Galicia and Wales: issues of integration, belonging and legitimacy

Nicola Bermingham*, Gwennan Higham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Immigrant integration in nation states increasingly focuses on the importance of learning the national state language. This is evidenced by increased emphasis on rigorous language testing and tighter citizenship regulations. This paper analyses immigrant integration in two sub-state contexts, Galicia and Wales, where presence of a national language as well as a local language reveal different linguistic complexities and realities which concern the new speaker. How do immigrants respond to bilingual host community settings? To what extent are new speakers able to claim ownership on more than one host community language? Are new immigrant speakers of Galician and Welsh considered ‘legitimate’ speakers of these languages? To answer these questions, this paper will compare and contrast results from two ethnographically based research projects, showing that immigrants in both these contexts are challenging traditional concepts of new speakers of minority languages, opening up new ways of belonging and also revealing boundaries to their pathways of becoming legitimate new speakers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-406
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number5
Early online date3 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2018


  • Galician
  • Immigrant integration
  • legitimacy
  • new speakers
  • Welsh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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