Chapter in:Advances in Interdisciplinary Language Policy
Edited by François Grin, László Marácz and Nike K. Pokorn
[Studies in World Language Problems 9] 2022
► pp. 238–256
Portraying linguistic exclusion
Cases of Russian-speakers in the province of Tarragona, Spain
Social inclusion is often used as an ideal aim in many policy statements at all levels. The ideal is nevertheless very imprecise and is interpreted in different ways. Here we attempt to define linguistic inclusion from its negation, by identifying moments of felt linguistic exclusion. When just over 50 members of the Russian-speaking population in the province of Tarragona, Spain, were asked if they had felt excluded because of language or culture, a surprising 53% of them said they had. In order to portray the background and motivations for those feelings, we explore the cases of six interviewees from this community. The interviewees were selected to represent different lengths of intended stay in Spain and thus different reasons for mobility. The results show that linguistic exclusion is certainly felt in official situations where Spanish or Catalan are required and no mediation services are available, but also in more general situations set up by the policy-based promotion of Catalan and, in one instance, because of the low levels of English spoken in the region. The instances of exclusion help motivate immigrants to learn the dominant language, Spanish, but they to nevertheless express little interest in the territory’s traditional language of inclusion, Catalan.