Transnational migration between Cuba and the Canary Islands. Socio-cultural and linguistic consequences II

Start - End 
2019 - 2019 (ongoing)



Generally speaking, the main focus in Cuban migration studies has been on recent emigration streams to the United States, following the fall of the USSR and its consequences for Cuba’s economy and quality of life. However, historically there has been a longer migration tradition between the Canary Islands (Spain) and Cuba considering that, apart from Andalusians, many Canarians took part in the colonisation process of the Americas and settled in the “Pearl of the Antilles”, i.e. Cuba (e.g. Macías Hernández 1992). Despite this well-known historical fact, as already pointed out by Valdés Bernal (2007: 29), relatively little research has been conducted on the consequences of this migration flow from a dialectological and socio-cultural perspective, which, as such, takes into account the distinctive dialectological and socio-cultural differences that can be found between the different geographic varieties of Cuba and their speakers. Although this migration stream between the Canary Islands and Cuba has existed since the 16th century and continued up until very recently (1980), it should not be forgotten that it was also bidirectional, meaning that there was also a migration flow from Cuba to the Canary Islands, a fact that has not received any attention at all within sociolinguistics nor sociocultural studies. The current study aims to rectify this situation and will build further on previously made advances by elaborating and expanding contrastive analyses of the socio-cultural and linguistic identity markers employed by the transnational Canarian and Cuban migrants.

While the first part of the project focussed solely on Tenerife, now other Canarian Islands will be included as well. As such, we aim to widen the geographic scope. Additionally, the thematic scope will also expand as more linguistic and socio-cultural phenomena will be studied. Concretely, the linguistic and socio-cultural association with Africa will be examined due to a shared connection with this continent, to wit the presence of African slaves, but also the Guanche, a now extinct people of Berber origin that inhabited the Canary Islands. Special attention will be paid to the effects of this African connection on the representation of women in folktales, such as the ‘islander witch’, ‘the curer’, etc.



Macías Hernández, Antonio Manuel (1992) La migración canaria, 1500-1980. Gijón: Júcar.Valdés Bernal, Sergio (2007) ‘Las bases lingüísticas del español de Cuba’. In: Domínguez Hernández, Marlen (ed.) La lengua en Cuba. Estudios. Santiago de Compostela: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 27-55.





Belkis Rojas Hernández

Universidad Pinar del Río