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PP splits Valencian society with its Identity Signs Law against Catalan language and scientific criteria

The People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the regional parliament of the Valencian Community (also called Valencian Country), has approved the Law on Identity Signs with votes from party members only. The Law entered into force this Friday. The new regional rule sets what are Valencia's identity symbols and traditions, and also insists on defining Valencian as a totally different language from Catalan, going against all scientific studies and experts. It also foresees sanctions for any organisation which states that Valencian is a dialect of Catalan. During the last few decades, Valencian regionalist politicians – most of whom have a strong Spanish nationalist ideology – have been working on differentiating the Valencian dialect from Catalan spoken in the rest of the territories that have Catalan as their native language. The PP has strongly contributed to this split, politicising the unity of Catalan language and also splitting Valencian society over identity issues.

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10 April 2015 09:42 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government and holds an absolute majority in the regional parliament of the Valencian Community (also called Valencian Country), approved the Law on Identity Signs a few days ago with votes from party members only. This Friday it has entered into force, with significant controversy and opposition from all the other parties and the university community. The new regional rule sets what are Valencia's identity symbols and traditions, and also insists on defining Valencian as a totally different language from Catalan, going against all scientific studies and experts. In addition, it foresees the exclusion of any organisation which states that Valencian is a dialect of Catalan from obtaining public funds and subsidies.


The objective is to weaken Catalan language and culture, despite the Spanish Constitution clearly obliging public powers to respect and promote all the co-official languages in Spain. This strategy and similar practices have been going on for decades not only in Valencia but also in the Autonomous Communities of the Balearic Islands and Aragon, where Catalan is spoken. The PP has made knowledge of Catalan not compulsory for public servants in the Balearic Islands and, in Aragon, it has changed the official name of the Catalan language to the ridiculous acronym LAPAO.

During the last few decades, Valencian regionalist politicians – many of them with a strong Spanish nationalist ideology – have been working on differentiating the Valencian dialect from Catalan spoken in other parts of the territories that have Catalan as their native language. The PP has strongly contributed to this split, politicising the unity of the Catalan language and also splitting Valencian society on identity issues.

In the late 1990s, it even created the Academy of Valencian Language, but this political manoeuvre turned against the PP's interests as the new body stated – and has stated ever since – that Valencian and Catalan are the same language, as all university departments clearly argue, in a similar way that American English and English from the UK or Spanish from Argentina and Spanish from Spain are the same language.

The new Law foresees the creation of an observatory that will oversee respect to such identity symbols, including the differentiation of the Valencian language. The observatory will be formed by many organisations supporting this non-scientific thesis and the Academy of Valencian Language has been excluded from it. The observatory will watch whether organisations and companies receiving and applying for public money fully respect the signs of Valencian identity. If not, they will be excluded from receiving public funds and may be obliged to return those they have already received. Therefore, the PP is using public authorities to support its thesis and to exclude from the public funds system those who have a different opinion.

Furthermore, there has been great controversy over which elements and traditions have been included as "signs of the Valencian identity", since the PP has included only those which are in line with its ideology. It has included local festivities with bulls running on the streets, Catholic festivities and some folklore music, among others. However, it has also developed an entire part focusing on language, which names Valencian and Spanish as the identity languages, forgetting about any link with Catalan language, culture or history.

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  • A PP Member of the Valencian Parliament protesting against a banner supporting the unity of Catalan language (by J. Soler)

  • A PP Member of the Valencian Parliament protesting against a banner supporting the unity of Catalan language (by J. Soler)