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Language, Identity and Urban Space

The Language Use of Latin American Migrants


Tabea Salzmann

Migration as a process has achieved increasing attention in the context of nation-states and globalisation. In linguistics the field of language contact is particularly associated with this phenomenon. This book investigates the connection between language usage, migration, space, in particular urban space, and the constitution of cultural identity. Two corpora of Andean migrants’ Spanish conversations in Lima and in Madrid are analysed. The resulting comparative analysis provides the material for considerations on language contact, code copying, discourse strategies etc. Throughout the book a new theoretical approach based on linguistic ecology is used. It includes the concept of a general expanded feature pool, which is the basis for language use and identity constitution for migrants.
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4. Madrid


4.1 The Meso Level: Society, Socio-Historic Setting and Identity

To understand the current socio-cultural situation of migrants in Madrid, historical as well as recent developments in the city and its country, within the greater geographical region of Western Europe, have to be taken into consideration.

Spain and Madrid have historically played a central role in the historicgeographic context of Europe, and at the same time were in a key position as nexus to Latin America, Africa and the Near East. On the one hand Spain, in its historical development, is an integrative part of European history, often playing a central role in the interrelations between France, Germany and Great Britain. On the other hand, from the period of the collapse of the Roman Empire it has been a centre of multicultural and religious contact between Jews, Moors/Muslims and Christians, as well as a meeting point of peoples native to African-Muslim, Near Eastern-Muslim, Near Eastern Jewish, European-Jewish, Italian, Greek(-Orthodox) and from Central to Western European contexts73. The political and social developments produce both a cycle of cultural integration (see 4.2.7 Culture and Integration in Madrid) and peaceful coexistence of these cultures in the territory of Spain while also producing culture clashes and struggles for predominance of one over the other existing cultures on the other hand. With the endeavour to unify the peninsular under one catholic culture, multiculturalism and autonomous movements become a problem for the state. In the diverse periods of history this...

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