Amparo Castelló, 13 September 2022
Signage in Catalan of a health center / Hablamos español
Catalonia and Galicia: the two communities where Spanish does not exist in the official sphere. Hospitals and health centers, courts and public administrations avoid its use. Hospitals and health centers, courts and public administrations avoid its use. The use of Spanish in the official administrations of these communities is relegated to the minimum manifestation or completely excluded. Catalonia and Galicia take the cake “with an overwhelming monolingualism in Catalan and Galician in the administrations.”
The conclusion is drawn from the study “Informe visual para incredulos” carried out by Hablamos Español, which has analyzed the situation of Spanish in coexistence with the co-official languages in the five autonomous communities that have them –Catalonia, Galicia, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands and the Basque Country–. Through a detailed investigation and hundreds of images, the report shows how in Spain the use of Spanish in the official administrations of these communities is relegated to the minimum manifestation or completely excluded. Catalonia and Galicia take the cake “with an overwhelming monolingualism in Catalan and Galician in the administrations.”
The internal and external signage of spaces, posters, documentation to be delivered to the users, the telephone service and even the internal communication between employees is in both communities in the co-official language.
But the other three communities are not far behind. In the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community, the tendency towards the exclusion of Spanish is manifest and important, especially on the islands. In the Basque Country, “the use of the two co-official languages prevails, although there are beginning to be cases of absence of Spanish,” they conclude from the association.
This situation, branded completely abnormal, “does not occur in any other country where there are also co-official languages” and taking into account, in addition, the importance of Spanish throughout the world, with 580 million speakers and being the mother tongue number two of the planet, according to the Cervantes Institute.
“Behind the exclusion of Spanish in some autonomous communities of Spain are the economic interests of the lobby that benefits from the promotion of co-official languages and a political project of linguistic fragmentation,” they lament from Hablamos Español. The fight, now, is to denounce this situation so that the situation is reversed and Spanish “is not projected as a foreign language, especially among young people,” they claim.
Being a civil servant: a linguistic drama
The problems with the language go beyond the field of posters, labeling of official spaces or the well-known problems that it is generating in the field of education. It also affects the workplace since whoever aspires to work in the public service in one of these five autonomous communities “has to prove their command of the co-official language,” denounces the study by Hablamos Español. A nonsense that already generates serious problems when it comes to filling vacancies due to lack of personnel and that limits the existing ones to professionals who have a linguistic degree, losing the opportunity to have the best professionals in their field (health, education… .) for not mastering the language. «In the Balearic Islands there is a serious problem to have the necessary personnel due to the linguistic requirement. 2,400 guards have been expelled from the recruitment exchanges for not accrediting a Catalan degree”, warns the report.
In addition, this language requirement is not only affecting the citizens of other communities who want to become civil servants in Galicia, the Basque Country, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia or even Navarra, but also the natives of each community who, even though they probably know the language since childhood, they do not have a degree that certifies it.