The debate over the Catalan language

Published 29th October 2012
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nullSpain’s economy has been in crisis since 2008. With major companies going bankrupt, severe unemployment rates and a crash in the property market, the last thing the country needs is its people turning against each other in a fight for independence…

There have been fights for regional identity and independence within Spain throughout the country’s history, with Catalonia and the Basque country being the most prominent fighters.

So why have the Catalans now upped the campaign for independence?

Catalonia is the richest region in Spain, and has been ploughing money into the central government in Madrid to help soften the national debt, but in return it is receiving less money back in central government funding.

Many Catalans believe that they would be better off if they were independent from Spain and didn’t have to pay into the national debt.

In 2012, tensions between Spain’s central government and Catalonia have become inflamed following a comment from the Spanish education minister about “hispanicising” the Catalan school curriculum.

Spain’s education minister believes that the lack of Spanish language and history in Catalan schools is fuelling the drive for independence in the region. He wants Catalan students to be as proud of being Spanish as they are of being Catalan.

During the Franco regime there was a ban of regional languages, but since the fall of the dictatorship Catalan has been a dominant language in Catalonia. Long-term language policies were created to increase the use of the language and most Catalonian state schools now conduct all affairs in Catalan rather than Spanish.

There are now over 10 million Catalan speakers, 6 million of who come from Catalonia.

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