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Linguistics & Politics Y1 CATALAN LANGUAGE Dr Elisenda Marcer.

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Presentation on theme: "Linguistics & Politics Y1 CATALAN LANGUAGE Dr Elisenda Marcer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Linguistics & Politics Y1 CATALAN LANGUAGE Dr Elisenda Marcer

2 Session 1 Historical perspective - Origins of Catalan Language - Catalan Golden Age - ‘Decadència’ - Modern times - 20 th century

3 What is Catalan? What is Catalan? Is it a dialect? Is it a minority language? Is it worth learning…?

4 Origins of Catalan 10 th century. First written document in Catalan is found 10 th – 15 th century. Expansion of Catalan territories and language towards Valencia, Balearic Islands and across the Mediterranean to Sicily, Sardinia and Greece Catalan literature flourished during these years: –Ramon Llull (c1232-1315) –Ausiàs March (c1397-1459) –Joanot Martorell (c1414-1468)

5 ‘Decadència’ Spanish Succession (1705-1715) the use of Catalan was actively discouraged by an increasingly centralised Spanish state 1714 – The king Felip V abolished all Catalan institutions and prohibited the use of Catalan by imposing Spanish

6 Modern times 18 th century. Restoration of Catalan language which was considered as an element of collective identity 19 th century. Social and economic growth of Catalonia Linguistic and cultural gains were consummated in the modernisme movement

7 The beginning of 20 th century Noucentisme: standardisation and modernisation of Catalan –Catalan grammar by Pompeu Fabra –Institut d’Estudis Catalans (1907); one of the institutional pillars of the new Catalanism –Mancomunitat of Catalonia (1914- 1925) the ancestor of the present Generalitat (Catalan autonomous government)

8 Catalan language under dictatorships Primo de Rivera coup (1923) II Republic (1931-1933) Generalitat promoted the use of Catalan for education, administration, communications and culture 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War. Repression of Catalan language and culture


10 Repression of Catalan language since 18 th century 1716 prohibition of the use of Catalan in the administration of justice 1768 prohibition of the use of Catalan in public education 1772 prohibition of the use of Catalan in theatrical performances 1801 prohibition of the use of Catalan in documents drawn up by notaries 1896 prohibition of the use of Catalan in telephone conversations 1923 prohibition of the teaching of Catalan as an optional subject

11 Session 2 Linguistic perspective -Diglossia -Principle of Language accommodation -Language Rights and Duties -Linguistic policy -Linguistic campaigns

12 Linguistic perspective ‘It is vital to make a serious assessment of the impact of the Franco regime on the Catalan cultural tradition because it remains at the root of the greatest problems we face’ (Joan Manuel Tresserras 1999:712)

13 Diglossia Diglossia: a situation of conflict between languages which co- exist where the decision to opt for one language rather than other is made on the basis of socio- cultural prestige.

14 Principle of language accommodation There is a tendency for Catalans to respond in Castilian when addressed by a person speaking Catalan with a non- Catalan accent. Such response was termed by Miquel Strubell ‘ethnolinguistic accommodation’ (Strubell: 23)

15 Language Rights and Duties In order to achieve full equality between the two languages, in Catalonia everyone has the right: –to know both official languages –to express themselves in either of the two language –to receive attention in either of the official languages

16 Does equality between the two languages exist? An important note from these definitions: while knowledge and use of both Spanish and Catalan are rights, only knowledge of Spanish is a duty.

17 Linguistic Policy According to the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (1979), the Generalitat will guarantee the normal and official use of both languages and it will take steps to achieve full equality between them. The Law for the Linguistic Normalization of Catalan (Law 7/ 1983, of 18 April 1983) The Law of Linguistic Policy (Law 1/1998, of 7 January 1998)


19 La Norma Norma es un homenaje a miles de niños de toda Cataluña que ya han podido aprender el catalán en la escuela y que, haciendo de “Norma” cada día, hacen que nos demos cuenta de que no conocemos suficientemente nuestra lengua y, nos enseñan a amarla. Esta nueva generación de catalanes, que nos corrige y nos motiva a hablar mejor, ha despertado ya nuestra conciencia colectiva. Este sentimiento se da en las casas, en la calle, en las tiendas, en el trabajo... En todas partes hay una “Norma” o alguien que parte de una “Norma” nos recordará que “El catalán es cosa de todos­” y nos dará la oportunidad de explicarnos mejor y de recuperar, al mismo tiempo, una parte de nuestra propia identidad.

20 Slogans (1980-2008) 1980 – ‘El català és cosa de tots’ (Catalan is everyone’s business) 1990 – ‘Treu la llengua’ (Stick out your tongue) 2006 – ‘El català va amb tu’ (Catalan suits you) 2008 – ‘El català, llengua d’acollida’ ( Catalan is a welcoming language )

21 Linguistic campaigns

22 Bibliography BALCELLS, A. (1996) Catalan Nationalism. Past and Present. London, Macmillan Press. BASTARDAS, J. (2007) Multilingualism, Language Ecology, and Language Sustainability. University of Barcelona. Available online:,languageec ology,&languag HALL J. (1990) Knowledge of Catalan languae (1975-1986). Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura. ________ (2001) Convivència In Catalonia: Languages Living Together. Barcelona: Fundació Jaume Bofill. HOFFMAN, C. (2006), Balancing Language Planning and Language Rights. Catalonia’s uneasy juggling act, University of Salford, UK, (available online:http://www.multilingual- WEBBER, J. and STRUBELL, M (1991) The Catalan Language Progress Towards Normalisation, núm. 7. Sheffield: The Anglo- Catalan Society Occasional Publications, [pdf copy on:]

23 Internet resources Revista de sociolingüíscia (with articles in English available online: General http:// (Catalan autonomous government) (Institute Ramon Llull from la Generalitat) http:// (Catalan Culture) http://www.idescat (Catalan Institute of Statistics)http://www.idescat (Institute of Catalan Studies) (Consortium of Linguistic Normalization) Newspapers http://vilaweb http://www.regio Television and radio (Catalan public television –TV3-Canal 33) (Barcelona local television) (Catalan public radio-Catalunya Ràdio) (Catalan public municipal radio network)

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