June 17, 2024

Non-partisan and pluralist communication and debate platform

Home » Content » An occasion for concord: Catalan language in the Spanish Parliament
The essential point of the Congress pact was the institutional recognition of the Catalan language (and other territorial languages) in the Spanish and European parliaments. This is welcome, as it clearly highlights Spain's cultural wealth.

An occasion for concord

Antoni Puigverd, 18 August 2023

Image : Dani Duch

The essential point of the Congress pact was the institutional recognition of the Catalan language (and other territorial languages) in the Spanish and European parliaments. This is welcome, as it clearly highlights Spain’s cultural wealth. Opponents of this measure argue that, “since we all understand each other in Spanish”, there is no need to complicate communication between Members of Parliament with translations. But such an argument forgets the symbolic dimension of languages. If deputies who represent the habitual speakers of a language can use it in public debate, these speakers feel embraced and incorporated.

Is it hard to understand what it means for a speaker to have his or her language recognised in all its dignity? Perhaps this pact will help. But it may also encourage even more, if possible, the rejection by many bona fide Spaniards, educated in a simplifying and intolerant uniformism, of languages considered spurious, secondary, annoying, dispensable, irrelevant..

Despite the Constitution, despite the empty institutional rhetoric, during these 40 long years of democracy, the historical weight of the uniformitarian tradition has not been transgressed. Spanish culture, verbalised by the media, has tended to problematise the measures to protect the Catalan language (debatable, of course, although always democratically promoted).

The current situation is not that of Francoism, because the laws are different, but the incomprehension, discomfort and problematisation of non-Spanish languages persists.

What does it mean for a speaker to have his or her language symbolically recognised?

For lack of space, this column does not discuss the problems facing Catalan at present, nor the experience of Spanish speakers in Catalonia. Only about linguistic plurality in Spain. Education in respect for this plurality and the formal institutionalisation of languages is a constitutional mandate that was yet to be deployed. Can it be done against the millions of Spaniards that PP and Vox represent? Is it too late to try? In the midst of insomniac tension and ever-increasing polarisation, it will not be easy. But it must be tried. Every battle that intolerance and simplism lose is an opportunity for concord.

https://www.lavanguardia.com/opinion/20230818/9172844/ocasion-concordia.html

OpenKat

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *