There’s a lot of fuss at the moment in the land of the free about attempts to make English the official language of government. In Catalonia the 1979 statute of autonomy, responding to the political reality of a bilingual society, designated two official languages: Spanish and Catalan. Trouble, however, has arisen from the use by the Catalan ethnocracy of article 3.1 of the statute to create legislation that removes the region’s major language, Spanish, from public life, making Catalan the new Latin; I’ve witnessed a couple of bizarre impromptu meetings in supermarkets in Spanish-speaking neighbourhoods with people trying to figure out what the hell’s in a particular packet.
Now, however, the Catalan Socialist Party, governing in coalition with the Catalanista neo-fascists and communists, want to go a step further and have a new statute of autonomy make knowledge of Spanish and Catalan obligatory. It’s not yet known how this will be enforced. Will, for example, shepherds with limited Spanish skills be driven into exile in Andorra? Nor, despite the best efforts of the language bureaucracy, is it clear what exactly is meant by “Spanish” or “Catalan”. Will you be allowed on the metro if you speak Catalan like “Catalan” national hero, Jaume/Jaime of Aragon?
- Betting on secession
A boring morning: I can’t find anyone who, following yesterday’s Catalan parliamentary elections, is prepared to bet against a ruling coalition
- Language use survey
While nationalist politicians continue to exaggerate hugely the number of Catalan speakers (think: lobbying, EU official languages), the new Idescat figures
- Asturian to become an official language?
From George Ticknor‘s superb History of Spanish literature … a Gothic remnant fled from the Moors into the Alpine Asturias, carrying
- Unesco: some mother languages are more equal than others
Which is why Davidson L Hepburn will be welcomed to Barcelona next week.
- Irish: it’s official! Well, almost…
The Taoiseachracy got sick of being hassled during the Irish presidency of the EU by lobbyists for various unloved languages, so