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Use of the Catalan language in courts “going backwards”

The NGO ‘Plataforma per la Llengua’, which aims to promote the use of Catalan as a tool for social cohesion, warned on Tuesday that the language is “going backwards” in the field of Justice. Only 3% of trials in Catalonia are in Catalan and up to 75% of lawyers that use it have been asked to use Spanish instead on at least one occasion, regretted the president of the NGO, Òscar Escuder. A new report from the organisation, however, also includes some positive figures: Catalan is now spoken by more than 10 million people, and up to 13.4 million understand it. Outside Catalonia, it is in the Balearic Islands where Catalan is most widely spoken: up to 80.5% of citizens there know the language. In French-Catalonia, however, only 35.5% of inhabitants speak the language.

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03 May 2016 06:46 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The NGO ‘Plataforma per la Llengua’ warned on Tuesday that the use of Catalan in courts “is going backwards”. During the presentation of a new report, the organisation, which aims to promote the use of Catalan as a tool for social cohesion, said that only 3% of trials in Catalonia are in this language. Moreover, up to 75% of lawyers have on at least one occasion been asked to switch to Spanish when speaking Catalan in court.


The report says that the use of Catalan is growing in the fields of Culture, the Internet and New Technologies. For example, four of the five more listened radios in Catalonia are in Catalan, up to four million people use the language for business and six of the most important websites worldwide have a Catalan version. A sign of the “vitality” of the language is also the fact that 25,000 people have asked Netflix to introduce subtitles in Catalan, according to ‘Plataforma per la Llengua’.

Catalan is now spoken by more than 10 million people, and up to 13.4 million understand it, say the NGO. Outside Catalonia, it is in the Balearic Islands where Catalan is most widely spoken: up to 80.5% of citizens there know the language. In French-Catalonia, however, only 35.5% of inhabitants speak the language. In ‘la Franja’, in Aragon, the number of Catalan speakers has doubled in recent years and the attempt by the Spanish authorities to call the language LAPAO, a move that was widely criticised by both experts and locals, is now “history”, celebrated Òscar Escuder.

Despite these positive developments, Escuder said that the language finds “obstacles” to normalisation in those fields in which the Spanish state has more power, such as Justice. The NGO also said that in the last year Spain has not made progress in the implementation of the European Charter of Minority and Regional Languages, with difficulties now being seen also in the field of Education. “Our only relief is that the Council of Europe agree with us”, said, ironically, Escuder. This European organisation has warned Spain in up to six reports that it should do more to promote the use of regional languages in courts, so far without much success. 

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  • The president of 'Plataforma per la Llengua' Òscar Escuder, and the director, Neus Mestres, during the presentation of the report (by ACN)

  • The president of 'Plataforma per la Llengua' Òscar Escuder, and the director, Neus Mestres, during the presentation of the report (by ACN)