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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 11, 2022

New speakers and Language Making: conscious creation of a colloquial Basque register in the city of Bilbao

Hanna Lantto ORCID logo

Abstract

This article examines the processes of Language and Speaker Making in the revitalization context of the Basque Country. The focus is on a group of new Basque speakers who, as active agents, engage in grassroots Language Making by literally making their own variety of colloquial Basque for their intragroup use. Due to a tradition of speaking the minority language in tight-knit communities, the Basque community places a high value on local solidarity. The Basque standard Batua and new speakers of Basque are not considered as authentic as the traditional speakers and their local vernaculars. The new Basque speakers described in the article are language activists who, conscious of the perceived formality of Batua, construct their group register mixing and matching resources from Spanish, Basque dialects and the Basque standard. They flaunt their verbal dexterity in performative language play, yet at the same time pay respect to the Basque tradition of local linguistic practice. In this process, they combine old and new values of being euskaldun, and claim their identity as new and urban, yet full speakers of Basque.


Corresponding author: Hanna Lantto, University of Turku, Finland, E-mail:

Acknowledgment

This article has benefited from discussion in the following research project funded by the Agencia Estatal de Investigación: ‘Sociolinguistic transformation processes in the Basque context: speakers, practices and agency (EquiLing-Basq)’ (PID2019-105676RB-C42/AEI/10.13039/501100011033).

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Received: 2021-01-15
Accepted: 2021-12-16
Published Online: 2022-03-11
Published in Print: 2022-03-28

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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