Manuel Peña Díaz 30/10/2020
Speak to me in whatever language you want … I will answer you in whatever I want. One of the most respectful and suggestive cultural practices is to start a conversation between several people and that each one speaks in their mother tongue, as long as they all have linguistic skills in each of the languages used. If languages used are three or more, from the outside it may seem like gibberish, but inside it is perceived as an extraordinary enjoyment. If only two people are chatting, an even greater complicity is created than speaking the same language, even in discussions.
Catalan and Castilian are languages so close that CataSpanish has never materialized in shared spaces. For more than five centuries both languages have been spoken interchangeably , especially in Barcelona and nearby urban centers. Neither the Filipino imposition of Spanish as a common administrative language, nor the educational uniformity desire of Carlos III, nor the absurd prohibitions of Catalanist printed matter during the Primo de Rivera dictatorship, nor the educational and administrative Spanishism of the Franco regime, nor the nationalist immersion of Pujol and other regional ministers managed to eradicate the daily use of both languages, whether on the streets or at home.
The prohibitions and impositions could and do produce rejection in monolingual communities, but in the face of these coercive measures in bilingual communities, attitudes of daily resistance were taken and continue to be adopted. In the mestizo Catalonia of years ago, if in the classroom they forced in Catalan or Spanish, in the courtyard they continued to speak in both languages. There were games that were learned in Catalan, others in Spanish. The neighborhood wineries have been other places where the mixing was more than usual. Perhaps the saying is true and also in matters of languages children and drunkards always tell the truth.
Apart from the spaces controlled by the uniforming power on duty and its accomplices, in places shared by Catalan and Spanish speakers there was never the objective of imposing their mother tongue on the other, because forcing one or the other, in addition to initiating a conflict, would have It could have been supposed to launch an entire common culture from a cliff, without knowing how far from the ground it is.
In her short essay on violence, Hannah Arendt noted that when “the results of men’s actions are beyond the control of those who execute them, violence itself harbors an added element of arbitrariness.” Spurred on by fanatical ideologues, fascist behavior is becoming more frequent among individuals who impose a language as the only vehicle of communication. Catalan nationalism has sown linguistic intolerance without realizing that these arbitrary acts have dynamited the coexistence of the past and undermine coexistence in the present.
When the claim sheets are required to record these types of fundamentalist acts, the victory of one party is imposed, which can mean the end of both. What comes next is unpredictable. Arendt said that any prediction of the future is a projection of present processes that does not take into account the unexpected change that always interferes. The ladies who harass waitresses and shop assistants for not speaking the language that they have decided as the only that should be spoken in Catalonia have marked a before and after. Languages, like songs, tend to be back and forth, slaps as well.
The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament has decided to investigate the discrimination of Castilian in Catalan schools. After listening to the intervention of Ana Losada, president of the Assembly for a Bilingual School (AEB), this body of the European Parliament has decided to ask the Culture Committee of the European Parliament to prepare a report on respect for linguistic and cultural diversity in school in Catalonia.