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10 million people now speak Catalan and demand the same rights as other European languages

The Status Report on the Catalan Language 2010 shows an increase in the Catalan speaking population over the past ten years. This places Catalan on the list of the hundred most spoken languages in the world with 10 million speakers. However, the report claims that the scope of Catalan is being limited by state policies, its precarious presence in cultural products and the growing use of English in schools.

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23 December 2011 09:54 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Catalan has grown to become one of the hundred most spoken languages in the world. The Catalan speaking population has increased by 500,000 over the past ten years and Catalan is used by 10 million people, which represents 70% of the population in an area of 13.6 million where the language is spoken. The information, provided by the Status Report on the Catalan Language 2010, also shows evidence of a 20% growth in the population of Catalan speaking territories. This is directly related to the last wave of migration.


According to the Status Report on the Catalan Language 2010, elaborated by CRUSCAT Network \u2013a scientific entity dependent on the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC) \u2013 and commissioned by the Observatory of the Catalan Language, \u201Cthe Catalan language cannot be considered a minor one and its speakers have the right to equal treatment among other languages in Spain and Europe, which can only be denied by politic prejudices with no democratic justification\u201D.

The important role of the socio-political context in the evolution of the language is clear, explains the report when interpreting the socio-linguistic dynamic of the different territories. Miquel Àngel Pradilla, Director of the CRUSCAT Network, considers that \u201Cin areas where politics has been in favour of the Catalan language, such as Andorra, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, Catalan has held its position or has made progress; while in the Valencian Community, where the institutional continuity extends a supposedly egalitarian language policy that does not give priority to the territory\u2019s historical language, there is a clear decline in the use of Catalan\u201D.

On the other hand, Miquel Strubell, Coordinator of the Observatory of the Catalan Language, states that \u201Creaders will find that this report, among all those we have commissioned since 2003, stresses the enormous paradox of the language in a better way, halfway between its dimension and strength in some social spheres, and the fact that it is being targeted by political and ideological attacks. We hope the report will be useful to politicians and MPs we are sending it to\u201D.

Education and culture

The report also shows the favourable evolution of linguistic knowledge, both of Catalan and Spanish, as a result of the education system\u2019s effort in areas where Catalan is the school language of instruction. \u201CThere has been an effort to place special educational attention to the growing diversity among the school-going population\u201D, say the developers of the report. It goes on to say that it \u201Casks for support and respect, in order to hold and improve educational outcomes and social cohesion\u201D. This statement refers to the different questions surrounding the Catalan school model.

When talking about university education, teaching in Catalan might come to a standstill or even go backwards for no reason due to a \u201Cmisunderstood\u201D push for English as a vehicular language, a fact that the IEC believes requires \u201Cdeep thought\u201D in the university management sphere.

As to the overall offer and media and cultural product consumption, there is a clear minimisation of the Catalan language. Cinema, music in Catalan and entertainment for children and young people are in a precarious situation, according to the report. The positive news comes from the Internet, a field where the Catalan language continues to steadily make gains.

Political obstacles

\u201CThe main difficulty for the recovery of Catalan and use is the Spanish State\u2019s policy, which seems orientated to legitimate linguistic differences instead of moving forward to parity between the official languages, both in Spain and Europe\u201D, say the report.

\u201CThe Spanish Constitutional Court sentence on the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (Catalonia\u2019s main law) and the later appeals about diverse laws of the Catalan Parliament seem to respond to a political will to subordinate the Catalan language, which is unacceptable and can lead to serious confrontations because it suggests that equality will only be possible if full political sovereignty is reached\u201D, declares the report.

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