The social use of the Catalan language grows but Spanish is still dominant, especially in certain sectors such as the judicial system

The use of the Catalan language is growing but it is clearly used less than Spanish in Catalonia. Some sectors are especially behind, such as judicial system, where only 14.5% of judicial sentences were written in Catalan.

CNA / Violeta Gumà

September 22, 2011 01:08 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Catalan is the minority language in Catalonia compared to Spanish. 33% of people mainly use Catalan as their language, while 40% mainly use Spanish, and 24% use both languages indistinctly. 3% of Catalonia’s population does not use neither Catalan nor Spanish. The data has been released by the Catalan Ministry of Culture through the Report on Linguistic Policy corresponding to 2010, which was presented to the Catalan Parliament on Wednesday. The Catalan Minister for Culture, Ferran Mascarell, handed the study to the President of the Parliament Núria de Gispert. The report concludes that the social use of Catalan is growing in Catalonia, but that generally speaking Catalan is still the minority language and that in some sectors it is particularly marginalised. The Judicial system is particularly performing at low levels, where the use of Catalan is far from being normalised. Only 14.5% of judicial sentences from 2010 in Catalonia were written in Catalan; they represent 37,645 sentences, 2,300 less than those issued in 2009. Those written in Spanish represented 221,359, 11,000 more than in 2009. Mascarell, stressed the “scarce predisposition” of the Spanish State to respect the Catalan language, as the judicial system directly depends from the State and it is the only of the three powers that is not partially decentralised.

The report confirms that Catalan is growing in all social sectors. However, Spanish remains the most widely known language in Catalonia. According to the report, which was drafted with the latest data available from 2008, 95% of residents in Catalonia understand Catalan, while 99% understand Spanish. Regarding oral skills, 78% of residents are able to speak Catalan compared to 99% who can communicate in Spanish. 81.7% can read in Catalan while 97% can read in Spanish. Finally, 60% of residents in Catalonia can write in Catalan while 95% can do it in Spanish.

The report shows that the school immersion model is delivering results and that Catalan is more widely known among the younger generations than among older ones, especially among people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, just at the end of obligatory education.

The transmission of Catalan is also growing. People who speak Catalan with their parents represent 30% of the population, while those speaking Catalan to their children represent 42% of the population.

Finally the report details that Catalan is often in a weaker position when there is a clash between Catalan and Spanish. A quarter of the people who consider Catalan as their mother tongue keep talking in Catalan when their interlocutor answers them in Spanish. However, three quarters adapts to their interlocutor language and switches to Spanish.