Spatial and linguistic mobility in the narrative of a transnational speaker between Peru and Italy




The aim of this paper is to explore the language-space relationship by analysing the way Latin American transnational speakers experience mobility processes and the way these shape their linguistic practices and identities. Namely, the focal point of this study is the way spatial and sociolinguistic bordering are constructed and conceived by analysing the narrative of a transnational woman who experienced back and forth migration between Peru and Italy with her family. I will analyse this aspect from a theoretical point of view in the first part of the paper, where I will refer to that part of the literature that, while studying the relationship between language and migration, addresses questions about how language ideologies, the centre-periphery dynamics, as well as the material conditions of diaspora influence language practices and the construction of social identity in contemporary societies. I will then explore these epistemological aspects through the voice of a Peruvian transnational woman relating the social and sociolinguistic cross-bordering she experienced with her family through her spatial mobility.

Author Biography

Milin Bonomi, Università degli Studi di Milano

Milin Bonomi is Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Translation at University of Milan (Italy). She holds a PhD in Linguistics (Sociolinguistics) from University of Pisa (Italy).

Milin Bonomi’s research focuses on the interplay of language and migration from different perspectives, with particular attention to discursive and identity practices of transnational Hispanic population in Italy and the role of Spanish as a minority and heritage language in educational settings. She has authored different contributions on these topics in national and international contexts. Among her publications is the book Mestizos globales. Transnacionalismo y prácticas discursivas en la población hispana en Italia (2018).

Her theoretical and methodological approach is transdisciplinary and encompasses sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, linguistic anthropology while also engaging the fields of cultural and social studies, education and language policy.


Ambrosini, Maurizio (2020): L’invasione immaginaria. L’immigrazione oltre I luoghi comuni. Bari: Laterza.

Baynham, Mike / De Fina, Anna (eds.) (2005): Dislocations / relocations: narratives of displacement. Manchester: St. Jerome.

Bettio, Francesca / Simonazzi, Annamria / Villa, Paola (2006): “Change in care regime and female migration: the ‘care drain’ in the Mediterranean”, Journal of European Social Policy, 163, 271-285.

Blackledge, Adrian / Creese, Angela (2010): Multilingualism: A Critical Perspective. London: Continuum.

Boccagni, Paola (2011): “The framing of return from above and below in Ecuadorian migration: a project, a myth or a political device?”, Global Networks 11, 4, 461-480.

Blommaert, Jan (2007a): Sociolinguistic scales”, Intercultural Pragmatics 4,1, 1-19.

Blommaert, Jan (2007b): “Sociolinguistics and discourse analysis: Orders of indexicality and polycentricity”, Journal of Multicultural Discourses 2, 2, 115-130.

Blommaert, Jan (2009): “Language, Asylum, and the National Order”, Current Anthropology 50, 4, 415-441.

Blommaert, Jan (2010): The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bonomi, Milin (2018): Mestizos globales. Transnacionalismo y prácticas discursivas en la población hispana en Italia. Milan: FrancoAngeli.

Bonomi, Milin (2019): “Spanish in-motion in Milan”, in: Andrew Lynch (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Spanish in the Global City. London: Routledge, 430-447.

Britain, David (2016): “Sedentarism and nomadism in the sociolinguistics of dialect”, in: Nicholas Coupland (ed.), Sociolinguistics: theoretical debates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 217-241.

Bourdieu, Pierre (1987): Choses dites. Paris: Minuit.

Bourdieu, Pierre (1990): The Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity.

Calvi, Maria Vittoria (2015): “The Use of Deixis in the Oral Narratives of Latin American Immigrants in Italy”, in: Rosina Márquez Reiter / Luisa Martín Rojo (eds.), A Sociolinguistics of Diaspora. Latino Practices, Identities and Idelogies. London: Routledge, 122-137.

Calvi, Maria Vittoria (2018): “Español e italiano en el paisaje lingüístico de Milán. ¿Traducción, mediación o translanguaging?”, Lingue e linguaggi 25, 145-172.

Caravedo, Rocío (2014): Percepción y variación lingüística. Enfoque sociocognitivo. Madrid / Frankfurt: Iberoamericana / Vervuert.

Castells, Manuel (2000): The Rise of Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Cresswell, Tim (2006): On the move: Mobility in the Western World. London: Routledge.

De Fina, Anna / Tseng, Amelia (2017): “Narrative in the study of migrants”, in: Suresh Canagarajah (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Migration and Language. London: Routledge, 381-396.

Duranti, Alessandro (2004): “Agency in Language”, in: Alessandro Duranti (ed.), A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology. Oxford: Blackwell, 451-473.

Eckert, Penelope (2008): “Variation and the indexical field”, Journal of Sociolinguistics 12, 4, 453-476.

Foucault, Paul-Michel (1980): Power / knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. Brighton: Panteon.

Gal, Susan (2018): “Visions and revisions of minority languages. Standardization and its dilemmas”, in: Pia Lane / James Costa / Haley de Korne (eds.), Standardizing minority languages. Competing ideologies of authority and authenticity in the global periphery. Routledge: New York, 222-242.

García Ofelia / Li, Wei (2014): Translanguaging. Language, Bilingualism and Education. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

García, Ofelia / Otheguy, Ricardo (2014): “Spanish and Hispanic Bilingualism.”, in: Manuel Lacorte (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Hispanic Applied Linguistics. London: Routledge, 639-658.

Genova, Nicholas de (2017) (ed.): The borders of ‘Europe’: Autonomy of migration, tactics of bordering. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Harvey, David (1989): The Condition of Postmodernity. New York: Wiley.

Heller, Monica (2007) (ed.): Bilingualism: a social approach. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Heller Monica / Bonnie McElhinny (2017): Language, Capitalism, Colonialism: Toward a Critical History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Horneberger, Nancy (2000): “Bilingual education policy and practice in the Andes: ideological paradox and intercultural possibility”, Anthropology and Education Quarterly 31, 2, 173-201.

Irvine, Judith / Gal, Susan (2000): “Language ideology, and linguistic differentiation”, in: Paul Kroskrity (ed.), Regimes of language. Ideologies, polities, and identities. New Mexico: School of American research Press, 35-84.

Jaffe, Alexandra (2007): “Discourses of endangerment: contexts and consequences of essentializing discourses”, in: Alexandre Duchêne / Monica Heller (eds.), Discourses of endangerment: ideology and interest in the defense of languages. London: Continuum, 57-75.

Jørgensen, Jens Normann (2008): “Poly-Lingual Languaging around and among Children and adolescents”, International Journal of Multilingualism 5, 3, 161-176.

Keating, Clara (2019): “Biographizing migrant experience”, International Journal of the Sociology of Language 257, 49-75.

Léglise, Isabelle (2018): “Pratiques langagières plurilingues et frontières de langues”, in: Michelle Auzanneau / Luca Greco (eds.), Dessiner les frontières. Paris: ENS Editions, 143-169.

Léglise, Isabelle (2021): “Marcar o no marcar las fronteras: la variación como recurso lingüístico en las prácticas multilingües”, in: Santiago Sánchez Moreano / Élodie Blestel (eds.), Prácticas de lenguaje heterogéneas: nuevas perspectivas para el estudio del español en contacto con lenguas amerindias. Berlin: Language Science Press, 49-67.

Li, Wei (2018): “Linguistic (super)diversity, post-multilingualism and Translanguaging moments”, in: Angela Creese / Adrian Blackledge (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Superdiversity. New York: Routledge, 16-29.

Mignolo, Walter (2010): Desobediencia epistémica: retórica de la modernidad, lógica de la colonialidad y gramática de la colonialidad. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Del Signo.

Mufwene Salikoko (2008): Language Evolution: Contact, Competition and Change. London and New York: Continuum.

Rosa, Jonathan / Nelson Flores (2017): “Unsettling Race and Language: Toward a Raciolinguistic Perspective”, Language in Society 46, 621-647.

Sheller, Mimi / Urry, John (2006): “The New Mobilities Paradigm”, Environment and Planning 38(2), 207-226.

Scrinzi, Francesca (2013): Genre, migrations et emplois domestiques en France et en Italie. Paris: Editions Petra.

Silverstein, Michael (2003): “Indexical order and the dialects of sociolinguistic life”, Language and Communication 23(3-4), 193-229.

Urciuoli, Bonnie (1996): Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of language, Race and Class. Boulder: Westview.

Wallerstein, Immanuel (2004): World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Durham: Duke University Press.

Wang, Xuan / Spotti, Massimilano / Juffermans, Kasper / Cornips, Leonie / Kroon, Sjaak / Blommaert, Jan (2014): “Globalization in the margins: toward a re-evaluation on language and mobility”, Applied Linguistics Review 5(1), 23-44.

Yuval-Davis, Nira / Wemyss, Georgie / Cassidy, Kathrin (2019): Bordering. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Zavala, Virginia (2018): “An ancestral language to speak with the “other”: closing down ideological spaces of language policy in the Peruvian Andes”, Language Policy (13)1, 1-20.

Zavala, Virginia (2019): “Youth and repoliticization of Quechua”, Languages, Culture and Society 1(1), 59-82.

Zavala, Virginia / Bariola, Nina (2008): “« Enra kopiai…Non kopiai » : Gender, ethnicity, and language use in a Shipibo community in Lima”, in: Mercedes Niño Murcia / Jasom Rothman: Bilingualism and Identity. Spanish at the Crossroad with other languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 151-174.




How to Cite

Bonomi, M. (2023). Spatial and linguistic mobility in the narrative of a transnational speaker between Peru and Italy. ENERGEIA. ONLINE JOURNAL FOR LINGUISTICS, LANGUAGE PHILOSOPHY AND HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS, (VIII), 11–31.



Thematic focus: Epistemology of language and space. Coord.: Héctor Álvarez Mella (Universität Heidelberg)