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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 21, 2013

The Basque Street Survey: Two Decades of Assessing Language Use in Public Spaces

Olatz Altuna and Jacqueline Urla


Assessing the vitality of minority languages is a concern for many small language advocates and language planners. To date, most quantitative data for measuring the social presence of a language have been limited to reported language competency and use. In this article, a Basque language researcher and U.S. anthropologist collaborate to describe a novel instrument developed in the Basque Country called the Kale Neurketa or Basque Street Survey. Developed by Basque language researchers, the Street Survey is unique in offering a quantitative measure of observed, rather than reported, language use. We describe the origins of the survey in grassroots language advocacy, the knowledge gap it has sought to address, its methodology and evolution over time, and some of its key findings in the Basque context. We conclude assessing the strengths and weakness that this method of direct observation of language use offers to scholars and advocates of minoritized languages.

Published Online: 2013-11-21
Published in Print: 2013-11-20

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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