Parental ideologies in multilingual Family Language Policies in the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain)


  • Maite Garcia-Ruiz Begoñako Andra Mari Teacher Training University College Author
  • Ibon Manterola University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) Author
  • Ane Ortega Independent Scholar Author



Family Language Policy, language ideologies, multilingual approach, Basque, Spanish, English as L3


The study of Family Language Policy (FLP) with a minority language has most often focused on the policies on the minority language within the framework of the hegemonic position of a majority language. This article, however, takes the view that a multilingual approach is needed to better understand parental decisions in their FLPs when a foreign language is also present in the education of their children. The data presented in this article is based on a PhD research project which studies the FLPs of Basque parents living in a mostly Spanish-speaking area of the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) and whose children attend a Basque-medium school with early introduction of English as the L3. Results show that their ideological positioning in relation to Basque, the different values attached to each of their children’s languages, as well as their ideas about multilingualism determine to a great extent their FLPs. Whilst all parents support Basque and positively value learning English, some differences have been identified: Basque is prioritised above all by the most activist parents, who establish an iron-cast hierarchy among languages; English has been found to have a clear value and function, but its place in this hierarchy varies; and in all cases, Spanish is considered to be guaranteed and not requiring special ad hoc strategies. The study confirms the ideological positioning in relation to the minority language as a key factor in minority language FLPs, but also shows the impact of ideas about multilingual upbringing in their decisions, their expectations, and the degree of satisfaction or frustration with results.

Author Biographies

  • Maite Garcia-Ruiz, Begoñako Andra Mari Teacher Training University College

    Maite Garcia-Ruiz is a Lecturer at the Department of Language and Literature Education at the Begoñako Andra Mari Teacher Training University College, Basque Country, Spain. Her main research fields of interest include family language policy, immersion education, and language teaching.

  • Ibon Manterola, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)

    Ibon Manterola is an Associate Professor at Department of Linguistics and Basque Studies at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain. His main research interests are immersion education, multilingual didactics, new speakers of minority languages, and family language policy.

  • Ane Ortega, Independent Scholar

    Ane Ortega has until recently been a Lecturer at the Department of Language and Literature Education at the Begoñako Andra Mari Teacher Training University College, Basque Country, Spain. She is now an independent scholar working in a number of projects in the area of Basque sociolinguistics, especially with a focus on new speakers of Basque and language use and ideologies in the Basque context. She is also actively involved in language cooperation, and currently works with the indigenous Nasa community (Colombia) in the revitalization of their language.

    Maite, Ibon and Ane are members of the ELEBILAB research team, and the UNESCO Chair of World Language Heritage of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Maite and Ane are research team members of the Equiling project ( and Ibon and Maite are research team members of the AMRELSE project.


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How to Cite

Garcia-Ruiz, M., Manterola, I., & Ortega, A. (2024). Parental ideologies in multilingual Family Language Policies in the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain). Sociolinguistic Studies, 18(1-2), 59-79.