While nationalist politicians continue to exaggerate hugely the number of Catalan speakers (think: lobbying, EU official languages), the new Idescat figures (Idescat is the notoriously unreliable Catalan government stats bureau) on social use suggest that the vast sums spent by the Catalan government over the past couple of decades on persuading and forcing people to hop from one Latin dialect have actually been resulting in the conversion of some 18% of native Spanish speakers into predominantly Catalan-speaking or bilingual bunnies:
|habitual less first||529,500||-518,800||103,100||-114,400|
I find them slightly bizarre for a couple of reasons:
- The numbers given were presumably extrapolated by Idescat up from the 7,267 sample. If you add up each row you’ll notice that Idescat is positing a different total population for the region on each occasion.
- For me the salient statistic is that the various measures taken seem to have been successful in destroying the allegiance of almost half the speakers from small language communities (the other column) to their mother tongue (177,000 => 93,300). I’m curious how that fits in with the theme of Forum 2004 (Barcelona, capital of cultural diversity). This is what language activists would (correctly) call cultural genocide were it to be happening to Catalan. Or is social engineering like imperialism: it’s only bad when the Americans do it?
- “Catalan on the road to extinction”
More panic-mongering from the linguacrats: Carme Junyent, director of the low-activity Group for the Study of Threatened Languages at Barcelona University
- How not to achieve economic growth
The self-proclaimed left-wing regional government is continuing in its efforts to ghettoise Spanish speakers, whose school failure rate in Catalonia is
- Catalan speakers the 15th most productive Wikipedists
Congratulations on Catalan users for hitting 50,000 articles on Wikipedia. Although quantity isn’t everything–articles in English are almost invariably far better
- Official languages
There’s a lot of fuss at the moment in the land of the free about attempts to make English the official
- Ethnic nationalist wolf disguised as multilingualist sheep
The Organització pel Multilingüisme wants the Spanish royals to start using Basque and various other lesser-used languages in official ceremonies. That