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The Catalan language

Hank Levin, whose wife is Catalan and who spends several months each year in Catalonia, writes: "I suspect that the percentage using Catalan in different situations is actually higher in 2003 than in 1996. There has been a powerful rise in pressures to use Catalan. Academics have informed me that at least two-thirds of the courses in Catalan universities are in Catalan. The schools have also increased the emphasis on Catalan as a first language even though teaching Castellano as well. Many of the young make basic grammatical errors in Castellano and resort to Catalan for vocabulary for common words, even when they speak Castellano. We can see the changes from year-to-year in Barcelona and its environs. I should add that for non-Catalan speakers, the residents are very charitable and do not object to our speaking in Castellano". RH: The results of this are that Catalans will find it harder to get jobs outside of Catalonia; Barcelona's eminence as a center for publishing books in Spanish will decline; and outsiders will no longer go to Catalan universities. The winner will be Madrid.

Ronald Hilton - 8/6/03