The differentiated role of language knowledge and linguistic acculturation strategies in the configuration of occupational aspirations: the case of the descendants of migrants in Western Catalonia

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Lapresta Rey, CecilioLapresta Rey, Cecilio - ORCID ID
Janés i Carulla, JuditJanés i Carulla, Judit - ORCID ID
Alarcón, Amado
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One of the most influential factors in the future access to the labour market of a young descendant of migrants is their occupational aspirations. Sociodemographic, socio-cultural, and socioprofessional family elements or knowledge of languages are key in their formation. But in bilingual societies like Catalonia, the symbolism associated with languages is an added complexity. Thus, this article aims to analyse the influence and predictive power of linguistic knowledge and linguistic acculturation profiles on occupational aspirations, using a questionnaire completed by 205 young people of African, European, and Latin Americanorigin in Lleida. The findings indicate that better knowledge of Catalan and a profile of linguistic acculturation which emphasises this language predict above-mean occupational aspirations. Knowledge of Spanish has an unclear role and a profile prioritising Spanish is a negative predictor. We conclude that language knowledge becomes a resource 'through' its symbolic value, questioning theories postulating that multilingualism always allows/facilitates access to better occupations.
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International Journal of Multilingualism, published online: 29 Mar 2021, p. 1-20