Research Paper

Basque-ing in America: The difference gender makes

Abstract

This paper argues that, in order to understand the language use of Basque immigrants to southern California, it is essential to consider how language ideologies intersect with gender. First, although traditional Basque culture privileges men, the culture has changed in the American context in ways that may make it more welcoming to women. Second, speaking Basque has different social meanings for men and women when it comes to “performing” gender identities. For men, speaking Basque is appropriate for presenting oneself as a man and as a Basque. For women, speaking Basque is often incompatible with presenting oneself as a fashionable woman. Third, men are more likely to speak Basque in the public domain even in America, because of their greater access to employment and social networks composed of Basque speakers. At the same time, some women have increased their use of Basque after emigration, in part because the American context provides a less negative semantic space when it comes to women speaking Basque. The implications of these findings for Fishman’s theory on Reversing Language Shift are discussed.

How to Cite

Echeverria, B., (2005) “Basque-ing in America: The difference gender makes”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 4(1), p.133-148. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.170

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Begoña Echeverria (Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside, Riverside CA 92125-0128)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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