Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 4, No 1 (2010)

Effects of sociolinguistic environment and the length of residence on the linguistic performance in Catalan and Spanish of sixth grade immigrant pupils in Catalonia

Judith Oller, Ignasi Vila
Issued Date: 6 Oct 2010


The vast arrival of immigrant pupils has challenged the capability of our educational systems to cope with students’ diversity in classrooms. Newcomer students in Spain perform lower than their national pairs (INECSE, 2005; MEC, 2007) and it seems these results are related with the poor proficiency in the school language that they are developing (OCDE, 2006; Maruny & Molina, 2000; Vila, Siqués & Roig, 2006). In Catalonia, more than 14% of the students have an immigrant origin and 8% of them have a different mother tongue than the official languages in the host country, Catalan and Spanish. Moreover, the sociolinguistic situation in Catalonia is peculiar because there is no coincidence between the language of instruction at school (Catalan) and the majority language in the social context (Spanish). This sociolinguistic context involves negative consequences for the school language acquisition of immigrant students because they have to develop linguistic proficiency in Catalan exclusively from the school context. Our research analyzes linguistic proficiency in Catalan and Spanish of 6th grade immigrant students pointing out different effects of the social uses of languages, the length of residence in Catalonia and their first languages.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v4i1.63


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