On August 9, 2006, the new statute of autonomy (l’Estatut) of Catalonia officially came into power, but still today many aspects of the Generalitat's new authority reamain to be developed. This is largely due to a need to agree on all details, where the Spanish state does not see the same urgency as Catalan politicians do to reach agreements. Other reforms can only be carried out after changes have been made to how public funds are shared among the autonomous communities, another process which has started but is expected to take time. Finally, seven articles of the text are currently being examined by the Spanish Constitutional Court (CC) to establish whether they are constitutional or not.
The role of the Catalan language is one of the areas where CC might want to make clarifications. Fortunately enough for those of us who support the existing integrated and bilingual school system of Catalonia, it is unlikely that CC demands this to be changed for one where students can choose between Spanish or Catalan. However, there seem to be reluctance to acknowledge Catalan the status as the preferential language (lengua de uso normal y preferente, in Spanish) of the administration and judiciary.
Personally, one the one hand, I consider it natural that civil servants be operational in Catalan, but at the same time would not want for the courts to run bigger back-logs of pending cases than they already do, by demanding that judges give priority to documenting their language level. Since here CC’s revision is rather about how to interpret the text than its actual wording, I trust that common sense will prevail.
And, in the end, the article in LaVanguardia which inspired this entry suggests that this is all politics. Or was it pure coincidence that the Manifiesto por la lengua común happened to be issued when CC started to discuss the role of the Catalan language?
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Up-Date: Maybe I should stop being irritated with myself for not having understood the implementation process of the Estatut. In Avui today (July 21, 2008), Iu Forn makes an ironic comment about how difficult it would be to explain it to someone from Mars.
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Acknowledgement: Thanks to a comment from a reader, I have been able to improve on the quality of this text. Personally I do not yet understand how big modifications CC can possibly make, so further support on that matter, as well as all other corrections, are highly appreciated.
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Related media: LaVanguardia 1 2
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Technorati tags: Bilingualism, Catalonia, Spain,