Neutrality and Discourses of Language Homogeneity and Diversity: The Case of the Basque Autonomous Community (1980-2012)

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Jone GARAIZAR, University of Deusto, Spain
Basque and Spanish are the official languages of the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain) since the end of Franco’s dictatorship and the proclamation of the Spanish Constitution in 1978. However, the sociolinguistic reality of each language differs greatly from the other. While Spanish is the language of wider communication and known by the entire population, Basque is spoken just by the 36.4% of the people. Following the official status of Basque and the language rights related to it, a language policy and planning process for its revitalization has been enforced since the early 80’s lead by the regional government. However, this language policy is contested in the political arena of Basque Autonomous Community and the debate is continuously centered both on the social functions and roles that these languages should fulfill and on the ways to attain the desired scenarios. Likewise, these political proposals are accompanied by diverse and often contradictory ideological positions. This presentation will focus in those ideological discourses, emphasizing the ways in which neutrality discourses are presented and articulated in relation to language homogeneity and diversity discourses. A content analysis of the five political families’ regional manifestos for Basque Parliament has been carried out between 1980 and 2012 for this purpose.