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Spanish language visibility and the 'making of presence' in the linguistic landscape of London

Spanish language visibility and the 'making of presence' in the linguistic landscape of London
Spanish language visibility and the 'making of presence' in the linguistic landscape of London
The city of London is widely accepted to be one of the most diverse, interconnected, and multicultural cities in the world: 37% of its population were born overseas, over 300 languages are spoken there (QMUL 2016), and people are attracted from around the globe by its social, cultural, commercial and educational opportunities.

It is increasingly common to walk down London’s streets or travel by public transport and to hear Spanish – a global language with its origins elsewhere – being spoken by an estimated population of some 170,000 in the city. The presence of several generations of Spanish migrants has given this community some visibility, whereas contemporary migration from Latin America has until recently been less well noted or researched. As Márquez Reiter and Martín Rojo (2015) point out, Spanish-speakers in London are relatively concentrated in transnational spaces including Elephant & Castle and Seven Sisters, where retail outlets and commercial services reflect this linguistic and ethnic concentration of Spanish-speaking migrants.

In this chapter, I build on previous work that predominantly focused on the economic and migratory realities of Spanish-speakers (Block 2008c, Márquez Reiter & Martín Rojo 2015, McIlwaine et al. 2010), and I shift the focus to the visibility of the language that potentially both unites and divides Spanish-speakers in the UK capital. Adopting both ethnographic and linguistic approaches to explore the visual environment in London’s Hispanic transnational urban spaces, I investigate what the linguistic landscape there reveals about the local practices of global migrant communities. How is Spanish used, both symbolically and instrumentally, to signal the presence of migrants? How do the many Spaniards, Latin Americans and other Spanish- speakers carry out a range of social practices in the language? And do linguistic attitudes and practices coalesce with other factors in constructing a so-called ‘Hispanic community’ in London?
204-233
Routledge
Paffey, Darren
d226edec-b23b-4869-8279-2773f6beec61
Lynch, Andrew
Paffey, Darren
d226edec-b23b-4869-8279-2773f6beec61
Lynch, Andrew

Paffey, Darren (2020) Spanish language visibility and the 'making of presence' in the linguistic landscape of London. In, Lynch, Andrew (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Spanish in the Global City. (Routledge Spanish Language Handbooks) Abingdon, GB. Routledge, pp. 204-233.

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

The city of London is widely accepted to be one of the most diverse, interconnected, and multicultural cities in the world: 37% of its population were born overseas, over 300 languages are spoken there (QMUL 2016), and people are attracted from around the globe by its social, cultural, commercial and educational opportunities.

It is increasingly common to walk down London’s streets or travel by public transport and to hear Spanish – a global language with its origins elsewhere – being spoken by an estimated population of some 170,000 in the city. The presence of several generations of Spanish migrants has given this community some visibility, whereas contemporary migration from Latin America has until recently been less well noted or researched. As Márquez Reiter and Martín Rojo (2015) point out, Spanish-speakers in London are relatively concentrated in transnational spaces including Elephant & Castle and Seven Sisters, where retail outlets and commercial services reflect this linguistic and ethnic concentration of Spanish-speaking migrants.

In this chapter, I build on previous work that predominantly focused on the economic and migratory realities of Spanish-speakers (Block 2008c, Márquez Reiter & Martín Rojo 2015, McIlwaine et al. 2010), and I shift the focus to the visibility of the language that potentially both unites and divides Spanish-speakers in the UK capital. Adopting both ethnographic and linguistic approaches to explore the visual environment in London’s Hispanic transnational urban spaces, I investigate what the linguistic landscape there reveals about the local practices of global migrant communities. How is Spanish used, both symbolically and instrumentally, to signal the presence of migrants? How do the many Spaniards, Latin Americans and other Spanish- speakers carry out a range of social practices in the language? And do linguistic attitudes and practices coalesce with other factors in constructing a so-called ‘Hispanic community’ in London?

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GlobalCity-London-FINAL-July2018 - Accepted Manuscript
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Spanish in London DRAFT1_copyright
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More information

Submitted date: January 2016
Accepted/In Press date: 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 July 2019
Published date: 2020
Organisations: Modern Languages and Linguistics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 393662
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/393662
PURE UUID: a7d9c612-5392-41b8-9140-0f350b0bbed0

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Jun 2016 13:21
Last modified: 21 Nov 2021 01:22

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Contributors

Author: Darren Paffey
Editor: Andrew Lynch

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