Regional Nationalism in Spain Language Use and Ethnic Identity in Galicia Author: Jaine E. Beswick

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11 Jul 2007
Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This highly accessible book examines linguistic diversity in Galicia, one of the devolved regions of Spain. Its principal hypotheses are: that the Galician language is an intrinsic characteristic of Galician ethnic identity: that policy and planning impact on the behavioural practices of language users, reflected in loyalty and prestige factors: that whilst a reversal in traditional perceptions and attitudes is resulting in a reaffirmation of Galician as the autochthonous language, its sociolinguistic relationship with Castilian has not been resolved: that Galicians have to negotiate multiple identities, subject to constant change and adjustment. Through its innovative and in-depth analysis of Galician linguistic, sociolinguistic, ethnic and cultural revival and revitalisation processes, it also serves to emphasise the wider relevance of such studies to the case of minoritised languages in general.


Beswick deals with the main and most controversial topics of the linguistic situation in Galicia. She explores the relation between language and ethnic identity with a clear and courageous voice, and advances some prospects in the future of Galician. This book will interest scholars in the field of minority languages research, language ideologies and identity, and is destined to become an important work in Galician linguistics and social sciences.

- X. L. Regueira, Instituto da Lingua Galega, Univ. de Santiago de Compostela.

This book's originality lies in the analytical framework within which it addresses the question of Galician linguistic, ethnic and cultural revival: a combination of diachronic and synchronic linguistic analysis of the similarities and differences between the three languages in question (Castilian Spanish, Galician and Portuguese); a sociolinguistic analysis of their differentiated and overlapping uses in different social domains and of attitudes and loyalties; and an examination of how these complexities relate to the expression of a Galician ethnic identity. As someone who works on language revitalisation issues in comparable circumstances, I personally find this particular combination of linguistic, historical and sociolinguistic analyses innovative and illuminating.

- Jane Freeland, Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Transnational Studies, Modern Languages, University of Southampton.

Author Biography:

Jaine Beswick is Lecturer in Linguistics, with a speciality in Spanish and Portuguese, at the University of Southampton, UK. She is an experienced teacher of sociolinguistics, phonetics and phonology and dialectology at both undergraduate and graduate level, and she is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Galician and French. She has published various papers on Galician and Portuguese sociolinguistics, and is currently heading two projects on Galician and Portuguese migrations to the UK.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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