Infants’ communicative ecologies and language policies in two contemporary Spanish families


  • Nieves Galera Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • David Poveda Universidad Autónoma de Madrid



Family Language Policy, Non-conventional Families, Infants, Voicing, Language Socialization, Spanish families


This article examines linguistic socialisation and communicative practices in contemporary Spanish families during a child’s first two years of life. We focus on two families who worked towards additive bilingualism in their family communicative practices, with the goal of promoting the acquisition of more than one language early on in the children’s development. The two cases reflect non-conventional family projects, one family led by a single mother by choice and one by a lesbian couple. Our analysis focuses on three aspects: 1) the interactional and communicative ecologies that emerge as part of the linguistic decisions made by the mothers, focusing particularly on the maternal voicing of children’s ‘talk’; 2) how these ecologies develop over the first two years of children’s
lives; 3) how these interactional dynamics intertwine with the linguistic and parenting ideologies of mothers. Our analysis contributes to unpacking how Family Language Policy operates during the early stages of children’s communicative development and shows how, in fact, family language planning practices and parental projects intertwine.

Author Biographies

Nieves Galera, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Nieves Galera has recently completed her Doctorate in Psychology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. She has participated in various projects on language development and language socialisation across contexts as well as European projects on early childhood and digital media.

David Poveda, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

David Poveda is a professor in the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. He uses qualitative and ethnographic research methods to study child and adolescent semiotic practices in a variety of socio-educational contexts.


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How to Cite

Galera, N., & Poveda, D. (2022). Infants’ communicative ecologies and language policies in two contemporary Spanish families. Sociolinguistic Studies, 16(2-3), 223–255.