Monday, 7 July 2008

Catalan in the News / El català a les noticies

In Sweden, news related to the Swedish language rarely makes big headlines in media. Here in Catalonia it is the other way around. Language issues are regularly being used as a starting point for political debate, and since I take interest in following this, every now and then I will make a summary for those who do not follow Spanish and Catalan media on a regular basis. Here is what has happened during the last few days:

The 'manifiesto por la lengua común' was started off by a group of intellectuals close to Rosa Díez’s party UPyD, who originally seemed to want to maintain a politically independent profile. However, conservative PP was fast to join the manifesto while Zapatero’s PSOE has taken the opposite position (defending the co-official languages and citing Catalonia as Spain’s best example of language policies for bilingualism). By allowing itself to be identified with one of the two main forces of Spanish politics, I am convinced that the manifesto will lose any opportunity to gain a broad appeal in the Spanish society.

This weekend, branches of PP held congresses in the autonomous regions the Balearic Islands and Catalunya. In Catalunya, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho was elected the new regional leader. Her main opponent, Montserrat Nebrera, managed to win a surprisingly strong support (43% of the delegates) and since her candidacy was largely a protest against the local PP organization taking orders from Madrid, some interpret the nomination of Camacho-Sánchez as signal that PPC will not change to be more Catalan (I have not yet found sources worth quoting which support that idea). On the other hand, in the Balearic Islands, the re-election of Rosa Estaràs was a small victory for the Catalan language, since her opponent, Carlos Delgado had built his campaign on ridiculizing the co-official language.

The Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Catalunya (TSJC) has ruled that the Generalitat has to implement a law by the Spanish parliament to introduce a third hour of Spanish into the curriculum of primària 3 (pupils at the age of 8). However, most likely the change can be postponed to the school year 2009-2010 – a necessity for Montilla’s three-party government, which coalition member Esquerra threatens to leave if the measures are carried out. Both Catalan nationalist parties, Esquerra, on the left, and CiU, on the right, see the law to strengthen the role of Spanish in Catalan schools as symbolic, since they do not want the central government to overrule the one of Catalonia on issues of this kind.

Up-date: Convivencia Cívica Catalana, the organization which originally brought the issue of 'the third hour of Spanish' to TSJC, has decided to warn Ernest Maragall, Catalan councillor of Education, that he risks being disqualified from his functions unless he complies with the TSJC-ruling.
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Intentaré fer un breu resumen de noticies dels últims dies que d’una o altra manera influeixien o poden influir a la llengua catalana. Ja que seguint els enllaços podeu trobar els articles originals, en català em limito a fer un curt comentari.

Penso que el
'manifiesto por la lengua común' perdrà tota possibilitat d’atreure simpatitzants fora dels partits polítics, després de que van acceptar el soport de PP amb la conseqüencia que PSOE s’ha declarat en contra. (LaVanguardia 1; Avui 1, 2)

Les candidates a liderar el PPC van competir en catalanitat i he sentit comentaris que la victoria de la Camacho-Sánchez significa la continuïtat d’una política negativa a la llengua catalana, però fins ara no he pogut trobar fiables fonts d’informació que confirmen que la candidata alternativa, la Montserrat Nebrera, estigués millor d’aquest punt de vista. Alhora, que la Rosa Estaràs va guanyar sobre el Carlos Delgado sí és una petita victoria per al català a les Illes Balears. (LaVanguardia 1, 2; Avui 1)

Sembla que amb el verdicte del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Catalunya (TSJC), el Govern haurà d’implentar la tercera hora del castellà. No obstant això, segons interpreta la decisió en Joan Ridao d’Esqurra, les mesures poden esperar fins a l’any 2009-10 amb la conseqüencia que en Montilla pugui evitar un crisi de Govern. (LaVanguardia 1,; Avui 1)

Actualització: Convivencia Cívica Catalana demana al conseller d'Ecucació, l'Ernest Maragall, que compleixi amb la resolució del TSJC perquè sino corre el risc d'estar inhabilitat de les seves funcions. (LaVanguardia 1)

Per al meu proper resumen, rebo amb molt interès cada mena de noticies relacionades amb la llengua catalana que mereix estar traduïda per a un públic internacional.

Technorati tags: Catalonia, Catalunya, Catalan, Català


California CAT said...

I hope you're correct about the possible failure of the campaign, unfortunately there is so much hatred and resentment against Catalan, and to a lesser degree against Basque and Galician, that you never know what could happen.

What are your thoughts on why Catalan may be resented more than the other minority languages in Spain? Do you have a hypothesis?

Erik Wirdheim said...

Welcome to Wirdheim in Vilanova, California Cat.

Do not worry about the "manifesto" - after PP and PSOE took their stands for and against, respectively, it has been reduced down to pure party politics.

The question you ask is one of those I hope to be able to answer with my blog, but only over the time.

Let us start with the obvious: the Basque terrorist group ETA is far more resented in Spain than anything Catalan. Basque as a language is not resented for the fact that it is small.

Galicians have tended to benefit from belonging to Spain, so I think that you can say that their approach towards Madrid is humble.

Catalans, on the other hand, loudly and ofter question whether they would not be better of as an independent state. To make things worse - and this is where the language comes in - many of them speak out in the name of the Catalan Countries, rather than only Catalonia, something that provokes reactions not only in Madrid but also in those parts of the Catalan Countries where the majority of today's population (notably 'País Valencià') do not identify with the concept.

Let me underline that the resentment among the Spanish is caused by "catalanista" politics, not by the language in itself.