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From neglect to re-discovery: Language and identity amongst Spanish migrants in the United Kingdom

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This article explores the relationship between language and identity in the context of post-war European migration as it relates to a group of Spaniards who settled permanently in Hampshire and Dorset between 1950 and 1974. Using oral history testimonies and data extracted from Spanish migrant periodicals published in the United Kingdom during the 1970s and early 1980s, the article focuses on the tension between the maintenance of the Spanish mother tongue and the acquisition of English, the majority language of the host country, arguing that a considerable language shift towards English has taken place, which may only now begin to be reversed given the increasing popularity that the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures are currently enjoying in Anglo-speaking cultural contexts.
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Keywords: Spanish emigration; United Kingdom; acculturation; identity; integration; language

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Southampton University.

Publication date: February 20, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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