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The fuss over Spanish regional languages

As you may know, the official national language of Spain, spoken as mother tongue or first language by the most of the population, is “Spanish”, also referred to as “Castilian” when comparing it with any of the regional languages, dialects and variants which are used across the country. Among those, four regional languages are recognized as official in their respective regions together with Spanish: Catalan (català-catalán), Valencian (valencià/valenciano), the Basque language (euskera/vasco) and Galician (galego/gallego).

Recently, a new reform has been passed by the Spanish parliament, which allows senators to speak in their respective regional languages when debating in the parliament’s upper chamber.

This decision has re-awakened controversy that has existed for decades in Spain, over the use of the country’s minority languages and the role they should play in politics, education and society.

Together with the new measure, a new system of simultaneous interpreting has been required in the Chamber. 25 interpreters have been employed to interpret the speeches of those senators who want to speak Catalan, Galician, Valencian or Euskara into Castilian, and enable communication in this new “multilingual” Senate.

The subject has once again become a hot topic in Spanish politics and society.  Spaniards are now divided into the defenders of the reform, who consider it appropriate, arguing that it reflects the country’s regional linguistic diversity, enriches Spanish culture and represents a gesture of tolerance.

On the other hand, there are those who describe the law as being against common sense, since everybody in the Senate understands and is perfectly able to communicate in, and speak, the Spanish language, who consider the measure a huge waste of public money for a country at a time of economic crisis.

So, what’s your opinion on this matter? Give us your views! And if you need professional Spanish translation, then please get in touch!

ESTRELLA RUIZ

El idioma oficial de España, utilizado como lengua materna o primera lengua por la mayor parte de la población, es el “español”, también conocido como “castellano” para diferenciarlo del resto de lenguas regionales, dialectos y variantes lingüísticas que existen repartidas por todo el territorio español. Cuatro de estas lenguas regionales se encuentran actualmente reconocidas como lenguas oficiales en sus respectivas Comunidades Autónomas además del español: el catalán (català), el valenciano (valencià), el vasco (euskera) y el gallego (galego).

El Parlamento español ha aprobado recientemente una nueva reforma del reglamento que permite a los senadores la utilización de sus respectivas lenguas regionales durante los plenos en la cámara alta del Parlamento.

Esta decisión ha hecho resurgir la eterna polémica en el país sobre el uso de las lenguas minoritarias y el papel que estas deben desempeñar en lo referente a la política, educación y sociedad del país, un debate que existe en España desde hace ya décadas.

Junto a la nueva medida, se ha implantado en el Senado un sistema de interpretación simultánea. Un total de 25 intérpretes han sido contratados para interpretar al castellano los discursos de aquellos senadores que deseen debatir en catalán, gallego, valenciano o euskera, y posibilitar así la comunicación en este nuevo Senado “multilingüe”.

El tema ha vuelto a colocarse así en la palestra pública. Los españoles se encuentran hoy divididos entre aquellos que se muestran a favor de la reforma, considerándola apropiada, como un reflejo de la diversidad lingüística del país, que enriquece la cultura española y representa un gesto de tolerancia.

En el lado opuesto, están aquellos que describen la ley como algo en contra del sentido común, puesto que todo el mundo en el Senado entiende y es perfectamente capaz de comunicarse en un mismo idioma, el español, considerando la medida como un derroche de fondos públicos teniendo en cuenta los tiempos de crisis que corren en España.

¿Y tú? ¿Qué opinas al respecto? ¡Déjanos tus comentarios!



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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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