Toponymical totalitarianism as a source of variation

Differences between standard Catalan and Spanish orthography mean that Catalan toponyms that are pronounced more or less identically in both languages are often written differently: for example, there is no significant phonetic difference between Penedès (Catalan) and Panadés (Spanish). One of the intriguing effects of the removal from public life of the Spanish variants is that Spanish speakers, particularly newcomers, tend to render the written Catalan orally as if it were Spanish, creating new, apparently alien forms. It must be hard being an ethnocrat.

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Comments

  1. If you don’t know how catalan is pronounced, don’t speak about this. I suggest you to go for a walk and have a sunbath.

    Penedès has two sounds which don’t exist in spanish and almost all of the spanisrds can’t pronounce. English does have these sounds: one is the e in “well” and the other is the a in “about”.

  2. My apologies: I wasn’t being clear when I said “pronounced more or less identically”, and I assume you’re being the same when you write “almost no Spaniard can pronounce”–Catalans are Spaniards.

    I’m taking some people out walking down that way next week, and the weather’s looking good. If you come out with us, maybe we’ll both benefit.

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