Neofalantes as an active minority: Understanding language practices and motivations for change amongst new speakers of Galician

Bernadette O'Rourke, Fernando Ramallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this article we use Moscovici’s (1976) notion of active minorities as a framework to explain the linguistic practices and motivations behind linguistic change amongst new speakers of Galician. Revitalization policies since the 1980s brought about changes in the symbolic and economic value of Galician on the linguistic market. However, this has not been significant enough to change the rules of social mobility and Spanish has continued to be the language of prestige. Despite this, neofalantes (new speakers of Galician) have opted for linguistic change and engage in the process of majority language displacement. We argue that this displacement can at least in part be explained by a move away from functionalist models of language contact and shift and towards an understanding of these processes from a language conflict perspective. This allows us to explain the practices of neofalantes as not simply deviations from the sociolinguistic “status quo” but as reactions to it and as proponents of social change. To explore the behavioural styles and practices of neofalantes as an active minority, we analyse the discourses which emerge from discussion groups involving twelve new speakers of Galician about their sociolinguistic practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147–165
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Volume2015
Issue number231
Early online date18 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Keywords

  • new speakers
  • active minority
  • Moscovici
  • Galician

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