Another case of language death? The intergenerational transmission of Catalan in Alghero
This thesis is a study of linguistic contact in Alghero, a multilingual town on the north-west coast of Sardinia characterised by the presence of three main language varieties: Italian, Catalan, and Sardinian. By looking mainly at the contact between Catalan and Italian, I aim to analyse and explain the language shift process in favour of Italian, the dominant language. Attention is focused on the family domain - and intergenerational language transmission in particular - as a clear indicator of the state of affairs of language contact in Alghero. I propose to establish what is happening (i.e., what are the dominant norms of linguistic behaviour within the family domain), and to determine which socio-psychological factors lie at the root of behavioural patterns among family members. The study is therefore both descriptive and explanatory. The description is made possible by a quantitative study, by means of which the interactions are quantified and discussed in terms of percentages of Alguerès being used between different family members. By contrast, the explanation emerges from the analysis of the reasons and motives behind the language choice in the qualitative study, and aims to answer the question ‘why do parents choose one language rather than the other(s)? Two main instruments have been used to collect the data: a self-administered questionnaire completed by eleven- to fifteen-year-old children, and a semi-structured interview conducted with a small sample of selected parents.
- Theses