diumenge, 17 de juliol de 2011


One of the advantages of being in the EU is that we keep much more in contact with each other than we ever did before. And thanks to this we can compare the rights all state members apply to their citizens. One can easily see how the different mentalities result in different approaches in the possibilities citizens have in different European states. For example, the reaction of the UK to Scotland willing to organize a referendum for independence (acceptance, open to the will of the peoples from Scotland, respect of human rights) very different than the Spanish reaction to a possible Basque or Catalan referendum, reaction that one wouldn’t expect from a European state, but rather from states with questionable democratic regimes such as Russia, China or Turkey (repression of fundamental democratic rights, denial of our cultural singularity and prohibition of the referendum).

Another example: one can see how Scotland is allowed by the UK to have own representation in the Olympic games and other international sports competitions, and Spain tries to block as much as possible Catalan participation to all international sports competitions.

For several years, Catalan politicians have been lobbying in the European parliament to make Catalan official language in the European parliament. The Spanish politicians block, over and over again, the acceptance of Catalan as official language.

Catalan is seen as a minority language, while if one sees the amount of speakers one shall understand that Catalan is not at all a minority language. Catalan is being kept as minority language, but in reality it is the 13th language in amount of speakers of the European community. One can count the amount of speakers per language world wide, or the amount of speakers on European soil. No matter how you count. Catalan is the 12th/ 13th language.

Catalans should be treated as the speakers of the 13th language in the European Union and not as a minority. But as one can see, it is not the amount of native speakers what counts. What counts is being the language that enjoys the protection of an independent state, no matter the inhabitants.

Two weeks ago PP and PSOE, after several times in the past years, voted against Catalan being an official language in the European Parliament, blocking the normalization of the Catalan language.

Conclusion: Only by being an independent state Catalan shall be official in the European Parliament. Besides this, I remind you that with an own state Catalonia shall have 17 parliamentarians, today we only have 7. (http://independentcatalonia.blogspot.com/2009/06/reason-18-european-sardana-or-only-way.html).

Here you can see the amount of speakers per language (official languages + Catalan) on European soil:

1. German: 95 million (Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland)

2. French: 68,5 million (France 64,5 million, Wallonia 3,4 million, Luxembourg 0,5 million)

3. English: 66 million (UK: 60 million, Ireland 6 million, Malta 0,0065 million)

4. Italian: 62 million

5. Polish: 38 million

6. Spanish 31,9 million (Population in Spain is 46 million inhabitants, 10,5 million are Catalan speakers, 0,6 million are Basque native speakers, 3 million are Galician native speakers, so 31,9 million Spaniards can be considered to have Castilian Spanish as mother tongue).

7. Dutch: 22,1 million (Netherlands 16,6 million of which 0,5 million have Frisian as mother tongue, so 16,1 have Dutch as mother tongue, Flanders 6 million)

8. Hungarian: 16 million

9. Greek: 13 million

10. Bulgarian: 12 million

11. Czech: 12 million

12. Portuguese: 10,5 million

13. Catalan: 10,5 million

14. Swedish: 9,7 million

15. Slovakian: 7 million

16. Danish: 6 million

17. Finish: 6 million

18. Lithuanian: 3,5 million

19. Slovene: 2,5 million

20. Irish: 1,6 million

21. Latvian: 1,4 million

22. Estonian: 1 million

23. Maltese: 0,37 million







11 comentaris:

Anònim ha dit...

Luxembourg has a national language called Letzebuergesch, essentally German and Dutch based. It uses French as an official language to faciliate life for its residents, many of them of foreign origin. Luxembourg, a fouding member to the EU never insisted on its national language to be used in the EU. The EU will have to eventually decide to limit the languages used in the EU Parliament for obvious cost reasons. Could Catalonia envisage a solution such as the one that Luxembourg has implemented for years now ? The solution has done no harm to the Luxembourg national identity, it is part of it now.

Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

Thank you for your suggestion.
As I explained, as far as Catalonia is Spanish and French and as long as both European contries are against Catalan being accepted in the European Parliament, Catalan will not be allowed.
If Catalonia becomes an independent country, Catalan will automatically be allowed. With its 10,5 million speakers Catalan is not a minority language, it is not a language such as Welsh or Frisian, but a language used daily by millions of European citizens. I guess this is a difference that one ought to take into account. Of course the European parliament cannot be open for all languages, I understand that.
To answer your question, Catalonia cannot envisage anything. Catalonia has no rights, no voice. It is Spain who decides and they decide to turn Catalan into a minority language (which is not). Therefore the answer is no.
On the other hand Luxembourg is a souvereign state and therefore it has got enough tools to protect its identity and language. So does Andorra, even smaller than Luxembourg. But as Andorra is not in the EU, they don't mingle in this conflict.

Anònim ha dit...

I miss Romanian in the list.

Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

Oh, Dear, perhaps this is an old list and that's why Romanian is missing.
I am sorry.
I shall change this as soon as I can.
Best regards,

Anònim ha dit...


I’m really sorry but your list lacks accuracy.

Option A: You consider as number of speakers the people with mother tongue whatever language: Then Catalan is only 4.5 millions according to the 2010 Catalan Autonomous Government Survey (Barometre de la llengua) as: Catalonia :39% of inhabitants have the Catalan as mother tongue (or normally used tongue), Valencia Region 22%, Balearic Islands 56%, Andorra, south of France and Alguero less than 100.000: So figures must be 4,5 million and not 10,5 million.

Option B: You consider the number of speakers as the number of people that would know, with more or less fluency, to follow a conversation in Catalan (or just to understand catalan): Then I agree with your 10,5 millions, but you should then consider that at least 50% of the European population speaks English, German, French, Italian or Spanish as a second language so figures of languages above your list must be increased.

Choose the option and amend accordingly.

Best regards and congratulations for your blog.


Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

Hi Anònim.
You are right that my list lacks accuracy. One could try to count the amount of speakers who have the respective languages as mother tongue. That is not what i did.
One can count the amount of speakers world wide, or the amount of speakers on European soil.
I agree with you, my list lacks accuracy, however, that is not the essence of my argument here. The essence of my argument is that Catalan is the 12th or 13th language. There is no question about that. It is very complicated to make an accurate list and this is not my intention here. I am not going to spent hours counting the speakers per language in Europe. I think already made my point clear here. The exact numbers are irrelevant. Spaniards aren't accurate at all when they say that in Spain we all are Spanish native speakers and nobody asks them to correct this imprecise claim.


Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

By accident this comment was deleted, while my intention was to publish it:


Thanks for answering. I clearly see your point to stress that catalan is the 12th or 13th spoken language in the EU, and I totally agree with it. However,when defending a possition one has to be the most accurate possible (and even more with such easy data to be verified) in order not to challenge the whole argumentation (i.e. if has doubled the number of speakers (4,5 vs 10) what would has done with the other arguments, also double them?).
My advice is that next time when doing a list you should use the same parametres, so results can be comparable, if not the data is wrong.
Finally, nobody has talked about Spanish statistics... and if so that has to be the difference fact, if they manipulate the figures you don't do it (so simple...).
Again congratulations with your blog and with your life in Amsterdam.

Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

You are right James. It is important to be accurate.
But don't remember that I did not double the amount of people who speak Catalan, which is 10,5 million. I did not double this amount. You are now suggesting I am blowing up the amount of people who speak Catalan. Which is far from what I have done here. At wikipedia it says Catalan is spoken by 11,5 million people, 7,7 millions as mother tongue.
If you want an accurate list of Speakers per language and the amount of countries they are spoken you can see this link:

On the web site of the Catalan government you can see other figures, in which they say 9,1 million speak it and 11 million understand it.

I am positive every study, every web site shall come with other amonuts, based on different way of counting people.

I repeat: 10,5 million is not at all that I am doubling the amount of Catalan speakers.

Anònim ha dit...

The same situation for the Lombard language in Lombardy it has 10 millions speakers but in each generation we lose a part of them, the state doesn't consider it a language despite the ISO and UN recognition , they don't allow it's use in the schools and so on.. we don't have regional cultural programs to save our history and culture, the italians are deleting our identity peice by piece... For sure Catalunya has a stronger identity... we need a Renaixença too :)

Catalunya and Lombardia lliure

Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

Hi Anònim!
I can imagine how this feels. No recognition, no way to protect your interests, and year after year your culture and your language loses speakers, loses voice, disapearing slowly but surely.

Anònim ha dit...

I will help you, Romanian is spoken by over 23 million people. By the way you're blog is very interesting.