In Belgium they speak Belgian, so in Catalonia…

Joan Camp thinks there’s a language called Belgian, and that it’s essentially the same as Flemish.

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Last updated 30/06/2006

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Catalonia (1155):

Flanders (31): Flanders], French: Flandre [flɑ̃dʁ], German: Flandern, [flɑndɛɹn]) is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium, although there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language, politics and history.

Kaleboel (4307):


  1. In Belgium they speak thee languages, Dutch, French and German, depending where you are in Belgium. It is the same as in Spain, where they speak Castellano, Euskal, Gallego and Catalan. In Belgium people are supposed to speak all three languages, but no-one does, except maby the Flamish ( Dutch tongued) who are most of the time polite enough to also speak French, when asked to. I feel that the only goal of speech is communication. So why does not everybody just try to communicate instead of losing precious time and money over a stupid nationalist thing with catalan or baskian or whatever. Speak what you like, do as you please, but if someone does not understand what you are saying, it does not even help to raise your voice. So change language. I think it is an advantage to be bi- or tri-lingual.
    In my country( the Netherlands) when we receive a official mail from the government it is in Dutch, English, Turkish and Arabic, sometimes even Spanish and French are used. This is communication. I live in Catalunya and often receive notes and letters of which I do not understand a word. I speak Dutch, Spanish, French, English, German, a little Arabic, Portuguese and Catalan, still it is not enough; they want me to learn Catalan and eventually I will, but I’d rather speak a language that is used throughout the world, like English or Spanish. In a few years ahead we may be forced to speak Arabic or Chinese. I don’t have time for all this.
    My mother in law speaks Frysian, she is from over there in the North of Holland, can you imagine, such a small nation and still there is another official language:Frysian, you can speak it or write it and it is thaught in class in Frysland.
    So at home or among eachother they speak Frysian and when with strangers or Dutch, they speak Dutch or English,no problem, not a political issue, just communication.
    No one will succeed to let the Catalan language dissappear, Franco couldn’t do it, so who can? Speak it, live it and be happy with it, but please keep communicating, Castellano, English: world languages.
    Just my two cents.

  2. As regards the Belgian languages, francophone TV5 broadcasted a documentary on a handful of Walloon speakers in Louisiana the other day. Google tells me some people are eager to promote it, further details

    As for Willem’s comment above, yawn but “Pays-Bas 12 points”! He is absolutely right in saying languages are means of communication. Personally, I’ve never met any Catalan speaker who refused to communicate but I did hear about people answering more happily in English than Spanish -well, that’s fine with me, you know.

    Nevertheless, languages are also keys to, literally, understanding a people. Frankly, I don’t see myself living in Amsterdam without speaking Dutch and quite a few Dutch are not happy with you speaking just English either, at least after a certain time.

    Living an English-speaking life in Amsterdam or an English/Spanish-speaking Barcelona is perfectly feasable but it must be like living in colonial times: one lives a fine, air-conditioned life (fanned, backed in those days) with no need to understand a word of the locals’ mumble.

  3. I agree with Marc. I’ve lived in Catalonia a bit more than a year and I’ve never had a Catalan speaker refuse to speak to me in Spanish. Yet, everyday I have people refuse to speak to me in Catalan.

    Comments like “I speak Dutch, Spanish, French, English, German, a little Arabic, Portuguese and Catalan, still it is not enough; they want me to learn Catalan and eventually I will, but I’d rather speak a language that is used throughout the world, like English or Spanish.” Never cease to amaze me. If you would rather speak those languages, then why not live in France, England or Germany?

    I think it’s amazing so many people move here to Barcelona and refuse to integrate linguistically. I can’t imagine someone moving to California and telling me that they “prefer” to speak Spanish and I’m an asshole for not responding to them in the language “they” prefer.

    Anthoner thing I find is funny is that so many people criticise Americans for not knowing how to speak foreign languages. I have not met one single British, French, nor German here in Barcelona who know how to speak Catalan. Only “Matthew Tree” who I’ve only seen on TV. I’m American, I have learned Catalan and Spanish here in Barcelona. I’m learning French and Basque at the moment, and I’m hardly an exception, I know 3 Americans here in Spain who even speak Basque. If I don’t feel like learning Flemish, I won’t move to Flanders.

    I had no trouble learning both Catalan and Spanish at the same time. Why? Because I am a language expert with an amazing gift? Hardly. Rather, because I made a little effort.

  4. So there are people that live in Barcelona -not mentioned, but a long time period is assumed-, and are happy to speak 4, 5 or even 8 languages. But ! I’m sorry, not catalan.
    And you dare talk about communication ?
    This is an old spanish song – that there are some languages that are good at home, or for floklore, and others -amongst them, of course theirs, these are the good ones, theones to get on with communication.
    Catalans have long refused to believe in this stuff. And alongside, they have ceased to believe in the old fashioned colonialist state that spreads it.

  5. Antoni , I believe you have been brainwashed by the nationalist school: ” And alongside, they have ceased to believe in the old fashioned colonialist state that spreads it”, what may you be referring to, may I ask? The old fashioned catalan nationalists have re-invented spanish history and have recently started to use the word colonialist which of course is a lot of bollocks,can you tell me in which year did anyone “colonise” catalunya? There is a long-standing psychological game in this country, derived from franquism, which has served well the catalan nationalists, and which they are using very cleverly for their own ends, playing the victim may have served them well until now but there are lots of catalans like me who had enough of it. Franco died a long time ago, catalan has been used freely for over 26 years, catalunya is bi-lingual and this has never been an issue with anyone living here, it has to be understood that this is a political game and we must refuse to engage in this game, the only people that are creating friction regarding language or identity are the nationalist catalan politicians, not the rest of Spain who happens to be very respectful of other people’s languages. May it be possible that otherwise willing catalan-speakers of “foreign origin” are feeling attacked and offended by this war against Spain created by ignorant self-serving mediocre politicians and are feeling rebellious? You can’t force people to feel or speak a certain way, who is using “old fashioned” (did you mean fascist)tactics here? The fact is that the day the politicians stop interfering in personal matters and dedicate their time to REAL issues like, health, housing, education, etc. and leave the people to communicate freely in whichever language they feel it’s easier to do so, you will be surprised to see an increase on the use of catalan, of this I’m certain.

  6. I’d certainly use Catalan much more and in public if it weren’t for the nationalists’ language policy, but for now I’ll keep on speaking the language they’re trying to ban. I know a fair number of people–including locals–to whom the same applies. Attempting to regulate people’s language use via the law is contrary to our basic right to the freedom of expression. If you tried to do it in the US, a federal judge would come and jump up and down on your head.

  7. mkt we don’t brainwash people in Catalunya, neither we kill or prosecute people for talking in castillian as I can imagine your grandfathers did with us during the Fascist time in Spain (just 40 years of darkness!!). I’m a castillian immigrants son; my mother tongue is castillian; my first education, thanks to the dictator, was in castillian; Never I, my parents or brothers suffered of discrimination because our language or origin. Well, thats not totally true. When we were visiting the rest of the spaniard family or taking holidays in Spain, people called us “polish” (spanish fascists call catalans “polish” in a way to insult us). I couldnt understand anything when i was a kid; how could they accuse me of being polish-catalan if I DIDN’T SPEAK A WORD OF CATALAN. Pure and simple: racism and xenophobia. Most of Spaniards can’t tolerate diversity; they couldn’t in America, were they killed millions of indigenous, just because they considered them an inferior culture, neither in Iberia. Why Catalans, Basques or Galizians have to talk in their own inferior languages while they can use the mighty and glorious castillian??. At least now they recognize they are languages. In Franco’s time, as part of the planned cultural extermination, they were saying that we were talking a dialect. Ha, ha can you imagine the basque a dialect of castillian?. Ignorance, what a fucking weapon to control people, but thats the way Fascism and Imperialism act. As you can see, culture supremacy is not just a problem of Nazi Germans. Well, Spain is not anymore an Empire, but the bad habits remain.

  8. mkt is a goebbelian tergiversator. He knows that the Education Laws and the Linguistic Laws, which constitutionally are competence of the Catalan Institutions, have been passed by 90% of the Catalan Parliament. YES MY FRIENDS, 90% OF DE CATALAN PARLIAMENT HAS APPROVED THEM. Four of the five catalan political parties seated at the Catalan Parliament has approved them. Just Mr.Aznar political party, yeah your remember, that dwarf who was trying to appear in the Azores picture between the Emperor and Blair little doggy, has rejected them. But PP is the fourth political party and represents not more than 10% of votes. Nothing. I suggest you look in your parlamentaries records in each of your country and found how many decisions have been made for a majority of 90%, specially in coutries, where as most Spaniards say, there’s a cultural minority prosecuted (the castillian of course, ha ha, I didn’t know i was under prosecution). This 90% of electoral agreement is really important if you take in consideration that at least 45% of the population is castillian mother tongue, as me. Get your own conclusions

  9. Getting tired of these foreigners like Trevor, Colin or Boynamedsue who would like to live in different parts of the Iberian peninsula without the annoying presence of those local guys and gals.
    By the way, if I remember way, in 1980 The Netherlands and Belgium signed the Taalunie treaty (treaty of the unity of the language) to re-affirm that Flemish and Dutch are the same language and promote it overseas. But they have solid line borders, and that’s a different thing. En ik spreek Vlaams en Nederlands.

  10. “It is carbon copy of the campaign of intimidation conducted in Catalonia 20 years ago which led to a mass exodus of teachers”

    That’s a pretty strong charge you’re making, Trevor, particularly without providing even a shred of evidence.

  11. @David/nomalització lingüística of sorts: These articles by Antonio Robles summarise the nationalist campaign to remove Spanish from institutional life in Catalonia in the 1980s, using intimidation, forgery, and all the other tools of totalitarianism

    la ambición de convertir el catalán en instrumento de identidad es previa al actual redactado del nuevo Estatut. Ya lo contemplaba la Ley de Política Lingüística de 1988, y lo habían sistematizado a finales de la década de los 80 con el llamado “Projecte Lingüístic de Centre” (PLC), el cual contemplaba la creación de coordinadores lingüísticos.

    Entre los objetivos de tales coordinadores estaría “aconseguir que la llengua catalana sigui el vehícle d’expressió oral i escrita en totes les activitats internes i externes del centre”. Estoy hablando de 1989, pero aún me remontaré unos años más atrás. A partir de la primera ley de política lingüística, de 1983, el Gobierno de Jordi Pujol comenzó una purga de maestros castellanohablantes. Se obligó a todos los maestros con plaza a reciclarse para poder seguir ejerciendo. En aquel entonces la Secundaria no se tocó. La consecuencia fue el éxodo de 14.000 maestros, unos motu proprio, otros por verse incapaces de cambiar de lengua a los 50 años; y los que intentaron oponerse fueron expulsados de forma ilegal y mafiosa.

    More documentation available if you want. As far as I know there’s been no academic study here, presumably because academics know who’s feeding them

  12. (I happen to know a bit about this because I used to know a woman who taught in Barcelona, was driven out around 1993, and ended up teaching in California.)

  13. Very reputable sources, Libertad digital, Antonio Robles, excellent reading while in the toilet.

    And everyone knows someone who befriended someone who was unable to do something or get over something and ended up in California.

  14. If these are the only “unbiased” sources you can come up with, I’m afraid we’ll have to a bit better than that, Trevor. As you know as well as I do, quoting “Libertad Digital” along with its columnist, Mr Robles, on Catalan affairs amounts to referring to the late Enoch Powell when discussing race relations in Bradford.
    As to the intimidated academics unable to lift the veil on ‘Catalan totalitarianism’ for fear of their own livelihoods…you’re not telling us the Catalans wield more power than, say, the Chinese, are you?

    If we are to go by the sheer number of publications devoted to human rights violations in China by mainstream academia in the anglosphere over the last few decades, I suppose some light would also have been shed on similar goings-on in Catalonia by now, that is, provided the likes of “Libertad Digital”, “Ciudadanos” or “UPD”, whose one and only ditty appears to be “help us world, Spain’s coming apart at the seams!” had a case at all.

  15. Spanish services of intelligence are very bussy in this forums.they are too in forums of Avui and other newspapers.

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