Learning languages in a globalized world: understanding young multilinguals’ practices in the Basque Country

Oihana Leonet, María Orcasitas-Vicandi.
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development

In the present study, we have explored language learning motivation, attitudes and exposition strategies in participants’ L2 and FL in an attempt to adopt a multilingual view that better suits the complex sociolinguistic context of the Basque Country. The study includes 200 young multilinguals from the Basque Country. Most of them have Basque as their L2 and have studied English as a foreign language since they were young. For data collection, a questionnaire was designed combining closed Likert-type questions and open questions. The results show that young people who have had certain exposition to the minority language at school and outside school have developed a positive attitude toward multilingualism and motivation to learn Basque and English and that the linguistic identity of these young multilingual is built according to the characteristics of a globalised world. This highlights new challenges in the goal of preserving and revitalising the minority language as the strategy of isolating the language is no longer valid, and it points at a need to delve into new strategies.