Aranese language becomes the 3rd co-official language in Catalonia

The Catalan Parliament approves a law that recognises Occitan language, called Aranese in the small Aran county, as co-official in Catalonia. It will also be the preferred language in the Aran county, in Western Catalan Pyrenees. The top representative of the Aranese county, Francesc Boya says it is a “historic day” and warns that Aranese language is in an “intensive care unit”.


September 23, 2010 01:35 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Parliament has approved the Occitan Law for the recognition, protection and promotion of the Aranese language. Aranese is a dialect of Occitan spoken in the Aran Valley, a small county in the Western Catalan Pyrenees. The law was approved as Aranese is recognised as an official language in the new Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The law regulates the use of the language in institutions, schools and media, among others. The top representative of the Aranese county, Francesc Boya said that it has been “a historic day” and stated that Aranese language has been living in an “intensive care unit”. The Conservative People’s Party of Catalonia (PPC) and the anti-Catalan-nationalism Ciutadans de Catalunya (C’s) denounced the law for not complying with the Spanish Constitutional Court’s definition of a “preferred” language. The parties have disputed with other groups about the contents of the law that refer to ‘Occitan, Aranese in the Aran Valley’.

In article 6.5 of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, the Occitan language is established as an official language in Catalonia, called ‘Aranese’ in the Aran Valley. The new Occitan Law is taking the next step in the recognition and protection of the language, regulating its use in administrations, schools and the media. The law aims at further developing the Aranese language, which is currently one of the 3 official languages in Catalonia.

The law establishes the Aranese language as the “preferred language in all Vall d’Aran institutions”, especially in the General Council of Vall d’Aran and the town halls of the county. It also establishes the language as the “regularly employed” language for communication between Catalan administrations and Vall d’Aran ones. As far as education, the Aranese language will be the “common language used for instruction in Aranese education centres”. The law also asks the Catalan Government to promote public radio and television programmes in the Aranese language. The independent academic organisation, the Institute of Aranese Studies, will also be formed.

Boya talked of a “historic day” for Aranese people, mentioning the “grave situation” that the Aranese language is in. “In medical terms, today the language is sitting in an intensive care unit”, he said. The area is located in the middle of territories with “strong languages like Catalan, Spanish and French”. In addition, he mentioned the importance of political support for the survival of endangered languages.