Language Use and Social Inclusion in International Retirement Migration

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Language Use and Social Inclusion in International Retirement Migration


  • Per Gustafson Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Ann Elisabeth Laksfoss Cardozo Department of Cultural Studies and Languages, University of Stavanger, Norway


Abstract  The migration of older people in search for improved quality of life has become an important form of human mobility, and popular retirement destinations are often highly multilingual settings. This article explores language use and social inclusion in international retirement migration through a case study of Scandinavian retirees in the Alicante province in Spain. It examines the linguistic landscape they meet, their language use and their inclusion in their new home country. Interviews with retired migrants and key local individuals show that many migrants try to learn the host country language, but that these attempts are often not very successful. As a result, they frequently use either their native language or English for everyday communication. This article elaborates on three theoretical and political notions of inclusion—assimilation, multiculturalism and civic integration—and discusses how retired migrants’ language use can be interpreted in the light of these notions.


Keywords  international retirement migration; language; multilingualism; social inclusion; Spain


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Publication Date  22 December 2017


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/si.v5i4.1133


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