Editorial, La Vanguardia, 19 December 2021
Pere Aragonès reacted indignantly to Carlos Carrizosa’s words yesterday in the Parliament Marta Pérez / EFE
After a decade of enormous tension around the independence project, the problem of the Catalan language emerges. There are two factors that place it at the center of today. On the one hand, the petition of the family of a student from a Canet de Mar school demanding compliance with the judgment of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia-TSJC (mandatory 25% of vehicular subjects in Spanish). The reaction of the Government and the pro-independence forces has been tremendous and rhetorical. But the school management has immediately changed its teaching plan in accordance with the requirements of the TSJC. Protests have taken place at the school in defense of immersion. The family and the child have received criticism and harassment on the networks. A couple of madmen have proposed subjecting the child to harassment, which, added to strange graffiti by unknown groups, has led to extremely exaggerated information in the capital’s media and inflammatory statements by leaders of Ciudadanos and PP, such as those of Pablo Casado himself.
Yesterday a large demonstration took place in Barcelona in which various pro-independence organizations closed ranks again around an essentialist vision of immersion. The battle of the language has replaced the political battle, which indicates several things, none of them good: the procés, instead of reinforcing the distinctive aspects of Catalan society, has collaborated to problematize them. The anger that Catalan politics has aroused in the rest of Spain is spreading towards the language. Politicization places Catalan at a crossroads, which can cause the degradation of civil coexistence, since nothing has a more intimate dimension than languages.
Catalan needs unity and support to overcome the impact of globalization
The Catalan language, whose value is inestimable due to its very important cultural legacy, is in low hours, as are Basque and Galician, as well as Valencian and the various Balearic, ancient and unique expressions of Catalan. As we explained today in a report on the Society pages, school formulas vary in communities in which the official Spanish language coexists with native languages, also official. All the formulas, which at the time allowed progress towards a general command of both languages, seem to coincide in a sudden drop in the use of the native language among young people.
Globalization is conditioning most languages. Only English, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin enjoy expansive health. If languages of great cultural weight such as French feel the pressure of English, a language such as Catalan will notice the neighborhood of Castilian more. Social networks, with their inexhaustible demand for likes and audiences, prevail in languages with tens of millions of speakers, which deactivates interest in languages with fewer speakers and affects their prestige among young people. But the human dimension of globalization seems to be a more determining factor: the million and a half migrants who have settled in Catalonia in a couple of decades do not integrate into Catalan.
Catalan needs unity and support to overcome the impact of globalization. It needs understanding, not demonization (25% can be required, but it must be recognized that the immersion, so attacked, has the endorsement of the Constitutional Court). The independence appropriation is being a worse cure than the evil that it tries to cure. But it is necessary to emphasize that the negotiation between ERC and President Sánchez for the budgets returns a painful image: the situation of Catalan on the large television platforms is a concession that the independentists tear from the State, when, if we read the Constitution well, support all Spanish languages should be one of the main obligations of the State.