Ethnolinguistic component of identity in migration: Romanian-speaking communities in Western Europe

The linguistic and ethnocultural repertoires of Romanian-speaking migrants from Italy, Spain and France will be described and analyzed.

The strategies with which the Romanians open up their identity spaces in new cultures by reference to the founding data and values of the culture of origin will be studied.

Several categories of migrants will be studied from the ethnolinguistic point of view: long-term migrants with a definitive trend in the country of destination, circular migration representatives, those who return for long periods in their country of origin, then those who return to the native Country.

We’re considering to study:

  1. The relationship between languages in the linguistic repertoire of migrants (and ex-migrants): attitudes vs. linguistic behavior;
  2. The role of Romanian folklore and cultural heritage elements in migrant groups: tradition and innovation in Romanian-speaking communities who know or have experienced migration; the effects of migration on Romanian dialects and the Romanian language: linguistic interference phenomena;

The final part of the results of these researches will be as follows:

  1. Digital database with samples of audio recordings with Romanian-speaking migrants from the diaspora (spoken Romanian) and their transcripts in text format.
  2. Educational support for school use, for the second generations of migrant children in Italy, Spain and France.

Project 2 – Dialectology and Sociolinguistics subcomponent

Specific objectives:

1. To study the status of Romanian-speaking migrants of the first and second generation in the case of re-configuring their linguistic repertoire under the pressure of the majority languages (Italian, French and Spanish together with the dialects of these languages) in the Western European countries (Italy, France, Spain).

Working hypotheses:

(a) a high level of linguistic inclusion of the languages of immigrant groups in the country of destination corresponds to a high level of social inclusion;

(b) a high level of knowledge of the languages of the country of destination corresponds to a high level of integration of migrants in the host culture;

(c) a high level of preservation of L1 language and culture corresponds to a lower internalization of country-specific identity elements, mainly driven by L2.

2. To register the Romanian language spoken in a migratory context, by collecting migrant’s narratives provided by the Romanian-speaking in the host countries (Romania – for citizens of the Republic of Moldova migrants, than Italy, France, Spain).

The transcription of audio data in text format is thus the intermediate objective for the creation of a Database with samples of the most representative texts of the Romanian language spoken in Diaspora and within Romania, in its oral register, a Database that can be accessed for the benefit of our own research and, when uploaded to the site dedicated to the project, for further analysis.

The creation of a joint database with the consortium partner (Technical University Cluj-Napoca – North University Center Baia Mare) will contribute to the filling of a gap in Romanian linguistics, the lack of digital access to spoken language corpuses in informal interaction, here in the form of mi-graphies [linguistic biographies of migrants].

Data will be made available to everyone in the Databases section [year 2019].

3. To realize a Teaching Support for LCCR – ILR teachers to be used as a working tool for the Romanian language and culture courses benefiting the children of the Romanian-speaking migrants from the countries of destination of migration (Italy, Spain, France).

Method: Qualitative research will be conducted in the manner known to his ethnologist and dialectologist, through the guided discussion, documented with the audio recorder, supplemented by the use of a sociolinguistic questionnaire.

A representative (not casual) sample of a relatively small number of subjects (20-25 subjects per migrating destination country) represents the key operation of this research, in order to assume the credibility of the results and on which an in-depth analysis is expected successively.

The sample will reflect the socio-economic, cultural and linguistic characteristics of the various sub-groups of Romanian-speaking first-and-second-generation migrants in / from Romania and Western Europe, as well as those returning to Moldova or Romania.

Therefore, a more accurate historical, ethnolinguistic, anthropological and sociological description of these migrations (through the consultation of specific literature – and through the exchange of results between MIRO’s component 1, 2 and 3 projects) is necessary.


sociolinguistic questionnaire, a semi-structured interview, a focus group.

Expected results: scientific articles (mainly based on the analysis of the data obtained); communication at conferences, communication at conferences popularizing scientific results, Database with spoken Romanian (online), didactic support for the teaching of Romanian language.

Project 2 activities


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