From the Concept of Mother Tongue to Plurilingual Competence. Representations of Multilingual Identity and Education Based on Linguistic Biographies

Alexandre Bataller Catalá – Universitat de València, España

Alexandre Bataller Catalá, 2019: "Del concepto de lengua materna al de competencia plurilingüe. Representaciones de la identidad y la enseñanza multilingües a partir de biografías lingüísticas", Onomázein 44, 15-36.
DOI: 10.7764/onomazein.44.02

This paper focuses on some representations that Valencian students of Education have as regards plurilingualism, language transmission and the construction of identity in linguistic autobiographies.2 These students are learning to face the challenge of a plurilingual education. With this in mind, the object of study here has been these learners’ perceptions of the relationship between identity and education, the process of language acquisition, and different aspects of Valencian sociolinguistic reality. This reality is based on a bilingual educational system (Valencian-Castilian Spanish), which is official since 1983. More specifically, this paper centres on two extended concepts students commonly used to express their linguistic identity as regards their first language and their second language. On the one hand, the use of the expressions “castellanoparlante” (Castilian Spanish native speaker) and “valencianoparlante” (Valencian native speaker) is explored. Such usage entails the existence of two unchangeable ethnolinguistic groups. On the other hand, the different uses of the term “lengua materna” (mother tongue) are also examined, i.e.: mother tongue as origin (the language or languages that have been learned first), mother tongue as internal identification (the language or languages one identifies with) or external identification (language or languages one is identified with), and mother tongue as competence (the language or languages that one masters) or function (the language or languages that one uses the most).