Part of the English Language and Linguistics Research Seminar Series

The Westminster Forum for Language and Linguistics poster

About this talk

Fabio Scetti, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier & McGill University will present a paper on ‘How Portuguese is sold as a tool for the future: heritage languages stocked into their past’.

This communication aims to underline the position of Portuguese language within two contexts of migration, in Canada and in the United States. Based on ethnographic research concerning two different Portuguese communities, in Montreal, Quebec and in Bridgeport, Connecticut, we intend to observe how the change in terms of migration dynamics has influenced the process of transmission of Portuguese within the groups, in the contemporary global society.

Field research was carried out within the two communities between 2011 and 2018. The two contexts were chosen because they are very different from each other. In fact, in Bridgeport, English is the only dominant language, while in Montreal this shares the public environment with French. First, we observed how local institutions, within the groups, play the role of promoters of the Portuguese language and culture, considering the dominant variety of European Portuguese (EP) as the only norm of prestige to promote. Secondly, we analysed how Portuguese has changed during the process of transmission, in a context of Language Contact, with English or both English and French.

Using language policy analysis at institutional, family and individual levels, we aim to explore how perceptions of the EP norm, focusing on individuals’ self-reported repertoires, can influence processes of integration in the new context. However, we may focus on how policy of transmission of the Heritage language change from one generation to another due to this process.

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Please find details of all events in this series of the English Language and Linguistics Research Seminars here.