dimecres, 5 de març del 2008

Reason 9: Even with Zapatero we are in permanent danger of loosing our language

There are many Spanish politicians (and not only from PP) that fight for Spanish education in Catalonia. With which hundreds of thousand children would only speak Spanish and not Catalan. Spanish speakers tend to speak Spanish even if they have learned Catalan because they can express themselves better. Only total education in Catalan language improves the situation of Catalan language in Catalonia.
For the first time in my life I hear young second generation immigrants speaking to me in Catalan when they notice I am Catalan. If they had gone to a Spanish speaking school they would never do that. The so called ‘inversió lingüística’ has helped improve the situation of the Catalan language among young people.
Several times I have had encounters with Spanish speakers who deny that the Catalan language is in danger. We know that unfortunately the numbers don’t lie: the percentage of Catalan speakers in Catalonia has decreased, the territory where Catalan language is spoken has decreased, etc.
Many Spaniards say our language protection laws are fascist laws. Well, I can assure you that in civilized countries such as Switzerland, Belgium or Canada this kind of laws are accepted by everyone and nobody is making associations with a fascist regime. First of all because they have been chosen democratically.

In Belgium and Switzerland the territory is divided by linguistic zones. Each zone has only one official language: its own!
In Belgium, as well as in Catalonia, it is allowed to fund private schools in any language you like. But the state schools must give lessons only in the local official language. And nobody tells them they are fascists.

The situation of the Flemish language is very different than ours. They don’t have the necessity to protect by Law the labels of products, shops or restaurant menus. They don’t have 30% of French speakers in their territory. And where there is a mix of French speakers and Flemish they have a bizarre volunteer apartheid. Flemish costumers never go to French speaking shops. And you won’t find any French speakers in a Flemish shop either. Can you imagine if this was the situation in Catalonia? What would then happen?

In Quebec the situation is much more similar to ours. The Québécois had to take more measures to protect their language. Quebec does have a big minority of foreigners who only speak English. The Québécois are like the Catalans, if they go to a shop where they only speak English they think: “It’s OK, I understand them and I speak their language”. This is very noble, but very bad if you want your language to survive from extinction.
And without any protective laws companies would do as they do in Catalonia: forget the French language and label only in English.
And that’s why in Quebec there is a law that says that it is compulsory to label in French language all products, shops, restaurants, etc.

It is now clear that a majority of Spanish politicians think that it should be possible to live anywhere in Spain by using the Spanish language. That’s why they see our linguistic policy as a threat. They don’t understand (and will never do) that this would be like to force the Flemish to accept French schools in the Flemish territory, or to force the Swiss to all learn and use the German language. Well, this sounds as fascist to me!

At the moment we are obliged at school to learn a language that is not ours. A language that does not belong to this land. They see this as normal. And I think many Catalans see this as normal too.
But this is not normal. This is just the result of an absolutist regime, imposed by absolutist kings and dictators.
If ‘democratic’ politicians as today’s PP and PSOE politicians still have this mentality, the only way to avoid for ever this kind of attacks and be sure we can protect and develop our culture and our economy without obstacles is total independence from Spain.

information in Dutch language source:
information in Catalan language source: