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THE SPANISH LANGUAGE: Catalan



Lluis Bosch of Barcelona, an ardent defender of the Catalan language, comments on the posting about the Second Congress of the Language (Spanish!): "Some effects of this Segundo Congreso have also bounced towards Catalonia. There have lately been some public statements (Nobel prize-winner Camilo Josť Cela included) hinting at the danger that the slow and timid consolidation of Catalan will bring about the disappearance of Spanish from the Iberian Peninsula.

Absurd argument, it is true, since no matter how consolidated, Catalan would only be spoken by about 10 million people who would also speak Spanish, since there are no monolingual Catalans, Valencians or Majorcans. If Spanish is currently being spoken by 40 million people in the Iberian peninsula -25 million of them monolingual Spanish- what kind of threat can Catalan be to Spanish?

But still Spanish nationalists insist on the fear that the mere existence of Catalan is a threat to Spanish. As you pointed out, there is plenty more politics than just culture in this Segundo Congreso Internacional de la Lengua."

My comment: I have not seen what Camilo Josť Cela said, but the issue goes far beyond Catalan. In every region there are those who claim that their dialect is a language. and the children grow up knowing neither well. The problem with Catalan, as with Basque, is when knowing it becomes a requirement for a job, thus excluding all others. You say "consolidated". The attitude of Valencianos toward Barcelona is rather like that of Catalans toward Madrid. They sharply deny that their language is "Catalan".

Ronald Hilton - 10/18/01


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