The survival of the Catalan language

Published 8th November 2017
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The survival of the Catalan language

According to data from 2012, Catalan language is now spoken by over 10 million people. It is spoken in Catalonia, Valencia Community and the Balearic Islands. It is also known in Andorra and in the city of Alghero in Sardinia, Italy. Contrary to common belief, it is not a dialect of Spanish, but a language in its own right. It developed from vulgar Latin spoken by the Romans who colonised the Tarragona area.

Catalonia was province within the Kingdom of Aragón. However, with the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, Aragón was united to Castile. Spanish became the language of court and literature whereas Catalan remained a popular tongue. In 1714 Barcelona fell to Spanish troops led by the Earl of Berwick. That was when Catalonia lost its autonomy and the central government imposed restrictions on the use of Catalan and Spanish became the official language.

Catalan Renaissance

In the 19th century with the rise of the nationalist cultural movement known as the renaixença (Catalan Renaissance) Along with the later modernisme, this movement ended a period of Catalan cultural decline commonly known as Decadència. That dated back at least to defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Thus, the aim of this movement was the full restoration of Catalan as a language of culture. However, this revival didn’t last long. The fascist regime that emerged triumphant from the civil war in 1939 did everything in its power to eliminate the official and private use of Catalan. Harsh penalties were imposed for speaking it.

The arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Spain’s impoverished south further consolidated the use of Spanish as the language of communication of Catalonia. Since democracy was restored in 1978, most of these immigrants, or at least their children, can now understand or speak Catalan.

Since the early 1980s, the imposition of a system known as “immersion,” with Catalan as the only vehicular language in state funded schools. This has meant for the past 30 years, everyone has been educated in Catalan. This has guaranteed full command of the language for everyone attending school. However, thanks to the presence of Spanish in daily life and the media, virtually all Catalans are perfectly bilingual.


La supervivència de la llengua catalana

Segons dades de l’any 2012, més de 10 milions de persones parlen català. Es parla a Catalunya, Comunitat València, Illes Balears, Andorra i a la ciutat de l’Alguer a Sardenya, Itàlia. Al contrari del que molts pensen, és una llengua pròpia que es desenvolupà a partir del llatí vulgar que parlaven els romans que s’assentaren a l’àrea de Tarragona.

Catalunya era una província del Regne d’Aragó. Però amb el casament de Ferran i Isabel, Aragó s’uní a Castilla i el castellà esdevingué la llengua de les lleis, jutjats i la literatura, mentre el català quedà relegada com a llengua popular. Al 1714 quan Barcelona fou assetjada per les tropes espanyoles. En aquell moment Catalunya perdé la seva autonomia  i el govern central imposà restriccions a l’ús del català i el castellà esdevingué la llengua oficial.

la renaixença

Al segle XIX amb l’auge del moviment cultural nacionalista conegut com la renaixença. J untament amb el posterior modernisme, aquests moments terminaren el període comunament anomenat Decadència. Que es remunta al període a la derrota de la Guerra de Successió espanyola (1701-1714). L’objectiu d’aquest moviment era la completa restauració de la llengua catalana com a llengua de cultura. Tanmateix, aquesta renaixença no durà gaire. El règim feixista que emergí guanyador de la Guerra Civil al 1939 feu tot el possible per eliminar l’ús oficial i privat del català. Va imposar greu sancions per parlar-lo.

L’arribada de centenars de milers d’immigrants del sud empobrit d’Espanya va consolidar l’ús del castellà com a llengua de comunicació de Catalunya. Des que es restaurà la democràcia el 1978, la majoria d’aquests immigrants, o almenys els seus fills, ara poden entendre o parlar català.

Des de principis dels anys 80, la imposició d’un sistema anomenat “immersió”, amb el català com a única llengua vehicular a l’educació pública ha significat que, durant els últims 30 anys, tothom ha sigut educat en català. Això ha garantit el domini de la llengua per tots el que s’eduquen a Catalunya. Tanmateix, gràcies a la presència del castellà a la vida quotidiana i amb els mitjans de comunicació, els catalans són perfectament bilingües.

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