Far too many expats living in Catalonia have negative opinions about the language policies set up to revive the everyday use of the Catalan language, the so called normalització lingüística. I am therefore happy to see that what most of us can agree to be a neutral body - an expert committee set up by the Council of Europe - offers new perspectives.
The purpose of their analysis was to see how far the recommendations of the European Language Charter of 1992 – an agreement to support the development of minority and regional languages, ratified by Spain in 2001 - have been implemented and the outcome is highly encouraging for Catalonia. The experts judge that education systems need to be based on a ‘total immersion’ in the co-official language and therefore fully justify, for example, the use of Catalan as the first language in schools here.
Among all Spanish areas with co-official languages, Catalonia received the most positive comments since only the judiciary plus some state authorities like Renfe (the railway system) and Correos (the post service) lag behind in the use of the co-official language. In the autonomous regions of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, on the other hand, the experts conclude that education in the local language is not comprehensive and also that the authorities there were unwilling to provide all information requested.
What we foreigners have the opportunity to experience in Catalonia is probably one of the world’s most successful projects to protect linguistic diversity. I think that we have all reason to be curious rather than critical.
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Yes, I plan to link this entry to other media sources and, yes, I would have wanted to present more hard data but I am constrained by the fact that we still do not have broadband connection from home. Next year, I keep telling myself, next year things will be better.
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Up-date: Here are the sources: LaVanguardia 1, Avui 1,
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