The internet domain .cat a success for European linguistic diversity

The European Cultural and Linguistic Internet Domains Association presents the domain .cat as an example to follow for other cultural and linguistic communities such as the Welsh, Scottish, Galician or Basque.

Mireia Sánchez

June 25, 2010 01:39 AM

Brussels (CNA).- The European Cultural and Linguistic Internet Domains Association has presented the European Parliament with the case of the domain .cat as an example to follow for other cultural and linguistic communities such as Breton (.bzh), Welsh (.cym), Basque (.eus), Galicia (.gal) and Scottish (.scot), who all wish to create an Internet domain “copying the pattern” of .cat. The Internet domain for Catalonia has been successful because it has managed to identify Catalan society “not as a physical territory with limiting borders, but rather a language that joins it together”, said Bertrand de la Chapelle, head of the Information Society at the French Foreign Office, during the presentation.
The director of the Foundation puntCAT, Jordi Iparraguirre, presented the domain .cat to the European Parliament with a play on words, "copy cat, cat and paste”, that encouraged other cultural and linguistic domains to reproduce the Catalan model. “If .cat works, why not copy it?”, he stated. In that sense, Mathieu Weil, director of Afnic, the association that manages the domain .fr, explained that the domain .cat is an example “easy to duplicate” by other cultural and linguistic communities with the same purpose: “to allow citizens to communicate, do business and participate in the social life of their community”. The domain .cat was presented as “one of the most successful processes as well as a model which can be copied by linguistic communities”, stressed Bertrand de la Chapelle.

In spite of the success of the domain .cat, which kicked off in 2005, Weil reminded those present that the first great challenge for the rest of the cultural and linguistic domains that remain in queue in a sector dominated by generic domains such as .org and .com and national domains such as .fr and .it is their capacity to fit easily within this framework. “It is difficult for a local initiative to fit into a global frame”, he warned. However, Iparraguirre said that, “at a time when people always complain that society does not participate enough in political life, the domain .cat is an initiative created from below, organised by civil society itself”. Maybe that is why “many people are now encouraged to jump on to the Internet”, explained Iparraguirre while reminding those present that almost 20 percent of the .cat domains belong to private citizens and small and medium companies that did not have an Internet domain before.

The director of PuntCAT reminded those present that, although Catalan is not one of the 23 European Union official languages, it is the thirteenth most widely-spoken language in Europe and highlighted that the internet is another tool in “preserving linguistic diversity in Europe”.