Apr 22 2014

Language rights in Catalonia

By Sonia Sierra and Mercè Vilarrubias

Catalonia’s independence project has given rise to the most serious constitutional crisis Spain has seen in recent times. The Catalan regional government has called a referendum on independence on November 9 that has no legal status and will be roundly impugned by the Constitutional Court once it is announced in writing. In the midst of this crisis, the High Court of Justice in Catalonia has ordered schools to teach 25% of classes in Spanish. This ruling follows a series of others laid down by this and other courts calling for bilingual education. In this article we will examine the linguistic model that prevails in Catalan schools and discuss whether it is the best model for a bilingual community such as Catalonia.  

Could anyone imagine a situation whereby, in Wales or Scotland, pre-school pupils did not receive even one hour of education in English, only two at primary level and three at secondary? Well, that is exactly what is happening in Catalonia – students are only taught in Catalan in their first years of schooling (sometimes they might have an extra hour or so of English, but never Spanish), while for the remaining compulsory education period they are taught in Catalan, except for two or three hours a week in Spanish and English.

According to the government of Catalonia’s most recent Survey on Language Uses (2008), 55% of the population have Spanish as their mother tongue; 31.6% have Catalan and 3.8% both languages, while other languages make up the remaining 9.6%. If we bear in mind that, according to UNESCO, more than 1,500 research studies have stressed the importance of teaching children in their mother tongue (and especially the skills of reading and writing), and that this is a right that is recognised by this organisation, as well as by UNICEF, then it seems quite obvious that children’s language rights are not being respected in this region of Spain. In this article we will be highlighting the mechanisms used by those in power to perpetuate a situation that is clearly unfair.

In the first place, the Generalitat (Catalonia’s autonomous government) has made a point of airbrushing the concept of “mother tongue” out of the sphere of education. In the 1970s and ‘80s, supporters of nationalism and left-wing parties in Catalonia called for children’s right to study in their mother tongue, given that under most of Franco’s rule, Catalan was banned in schools. Thus, in calling for the right to study in Catalan, they adopted the entirely valid argument that use of the mother tongue was important for children’s cognitive development. However, this argument was abruptly dropped following the introduction of the language immersion system (the obligatory use of Catalan as the sole medium of instruction for all school subjects, apart from Spanish and foreign languages). The very concept of teaching in the mother tongue was also erased, to the point that it no longer appears on any official form or survey. Thus it is rather surprising that those same people who, some years ago (and quite justifiably) championed the importance of children receiving an education in their mother tongue have not only forgotten about their old arguments, they have even caused the concept itself to disappear.

Secondly, in order to defend the “success” of this monolingual model – in a bilingual society in which, furthermore, the medium of instruction is a regional language that is not even the majority language among the Catalan population (no similar precedent can be found in any of our neighbouring countries) – the model’s supporters point to a series of different examinations to support their claim that Catalan school children’s level of Spanish is higher than that of the rest of Spain. To begin with, it is rather difficult to believe that Catalan students – who only study two or three hours of Spanish a week – have outstripped all the schoolchildren in the rest of Spain, who receive 20 hours of teaching in Spanish a week. If this were true, it would be an amazing phenomenon – a combination of outstandingly brilliant students and teachers with such superlative didactic and pedagogic abilities that they would be immediately subjected to all manner of studies and research by the international scientific community.

Let us take a look at the reality of these studies that endorse the Catalan “model of success”. Firstly, the Catalan government makes reference to the PISA studies. To begin with, we should point out that as Spain has, in general, obtained fairly poor results in these studies, the idea of Catalonia being slightly above this average does not signify any kind of great success. But the fact is, furthermore, that the former head of PISA, when speaking at the Catalan parliament, acknowledged that in this region the PISA exams had always been done in Catalan, never in Spanish, and that therefore, any students whose level of Catalan was not sufficient for the purpose were excluded from the exams (3.73%).

Catalan politicians also make reference to the General Diagnostic Assessments but, given the fact that in Spain, educational powers are ceded to the different Autonomous Communities, it is the latter that are responsible for devising these exams, as a result of which the exams are not mutually comparable. Furthermore, even if they were, neither the PISA exams nor the ones devised by the Autonomous Communities could be said to effectively evaluate a student’s overall knowledge of a language; instead, they only assess one specific skill – reading comprehension (though the General Diagnostic Assessments do also assess the writing skills of 15 and 16-year-old students, by asking them to produce a short written text of 10-15 lines, for which spelling only represents one point out of 40). You do not need to be a language specialist to realise that a test such as this is entirely insufficient for determining a student’s language level. Any official exam that certifies a student’s mastery of a language will include, in addition to a reading comprehension, a couple of audio listening exercises and an oral interview. That is to say, the aforementioned exams that have been implemented only cover 25% of the necessary evaluation of a language.

Thirdly, it is a matter of concern that a large proportion of Catalan politicians (and specifically those from the parties CiU, ERC, PSC, ICV-EUiA and CUP) describe the system as a “model of success”, when Catalonia is one of the regions of Spain with the highest levels of academic failure (21,8%), early school-leaving and the absence of post-compulsory educational studies among students(26%). Meanwhile, the Professor of Sociology Mariano Fernández Enguita claims that students’ academic results depend more on their socio-economic level in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain. As if that were not enough, students whose mother tongue is Spanish (who, as we have mentioned, represent the majority) obtain worse academic results than those whose mother tongue is Catalan, even if we leave the socio-economic data to one side, a fact which supports the conclusions of the abovementioned studies by UNESCO.

This is, therefore, an educational model which, far from being a “model of success” (as claimed by most of the politicians and commentators who voice their opinions in the public – and generously subsidised – Catalan media), it is producing very poor results. It is, furthermore, the only system to which most people have access. A few parents have tried to achieve a bilingual education for their children (or at least, one that offers a little more balance between Catalan and Spanish), and so they have embarked on lengthy legal proceedings – which they have always won, but which the Catalan government has always appealed against (litigation is no problem when you have public money to cover your costs). Up to now, the Catalan government has always claimed that it would never comply with any of the aforementioned legal decisions, though it appears that things might now be changing in this respect. The families that took these cases to the courts have been rapidly stigmatised, and in some cases, the names and surnames of their children have been published in the press. However, there are some parents who are able to choose another educational model for their children, without any need to put up with legal proceedings or social stigma – the parents who are able to pay anything upwards of €600 a month for an elite school. This was, incidentally, the case with the current President of the Generalitat, Mr Artur Mas (CiU), and the previous President, Mr José Montilla (PSC).

In light of all the above, a number of questions need answering: why do Catalan politicians from so many parties (all of them except for those of C’s and PP) support an educational model that denies the majority of the population’s rights to education in their mother tongue? Why do they describe it as a “model of success” when in fact it produces high levels of academic failure and early school-leaving? Why do they lie about the exams? Why do many of the politicians who defend the current system of compulsory language immersion choose schools for their children where this system is not applied? Why is it only possible for children to gain a decent level of Spanish in Catalonia if their parents are sufficiently wealthy? Why is Spanish not taught at pre-school level, and only two hours at primary and three at secondary, when it is the third most-spoken language in the world?

In conclusion, therefore, it appears that Catalan politicians are not interested in offering their students the best possible training for the future, but rather that they are using education for the purpose of what they term “constructing the nation”; or rather, as a tool for promoting nationalism. On this subject, we recommend Nacionalismo y política: el caso de Cataluña (Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, Madrid, 2006) by Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Doctor of Sociology and lecturer at Cambridge University, who analyses the way in which Catalan speakers are  hyper-represented in Catalonia’s parliament, its town halls and its education system. And so, in Catalonia, in terms of respect for bilingualism, monolingualism is being imposed. As for protection of children’s rights, we have a nationalist conception of education and language; and in place of pedagogical criteria, there is ideology. In spite of all this, meanwhile, we will continue to express our firm commitment to multilingualism and the rights of children. All children.


Dr Sonia Sierra is associate professor in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB (Spain).

Mercè Vilarrubias is a teacher and a free-lance journalist. She’s a specialist in bilingual education and in language policies in European countries.

Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Euro Crisis in the Press blog, nor of the London School of Economics.


Related articles on LSE Euro Crisis in the Press:

Catalan Separatism, a European Problem

On the “right to decide”

A Bandwagon with a Purpose: The independence of Catalonia

The independence of Catalonia: jumping on a bandwagon


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149 Responses to Language rights in Catalonia

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  5. Carlos says:

    Suuure, Spanish language is discriminated, that is why most of the newspapers avaliable in Catalonia are in Spanish (El Periódico, La Vanguardia, El País, El Mundo, ABC, La Razón, etc) While they are four in Catalan (Avui, Ara, El Períodico in Catalan, and La Vanguardia in Catalan).

    That is why there is virtually no Catalan press outside of the information sector except a Magazine named Sapiens.

    That is why the mother tongue of most of the Catalans ( like myself) is Spanish. That is why the youth in some Metropolitan areas is extremely anticatalan and don’t even identify themselves as Catalans but as Andalusians, Galicians, or from wherever their fathers come.

    That is why there have been cases of Civil Guards making people lose their flight for speaking in Catalan.

    My city is almost 100% Spanish speaking.

    Almost no immigrant from outside of Spain knows Catalan ( the ones who know it more are Russians and British, from my personal experience)

    My point is, why the hell has Spanish to be protected in Catalonia when it has 500 milions of speakers? I seriously doubt that the youth here writes Spanish not properly. There are far more ortographic errors in Catalan language when schools make language exams than in Spanish.

    Also, if we value languages in order of importance, why we don’t teach only in Catalan and English?

    And as for ending that, remember that policy is allowed by the Spanish Constitution due to the fact that the state can transfer the power on legislating in education to the autonomous communities which are considered as nationalities, and that the parties our Parliament which have been the main players on our political arena (CiU, PSC,ERC,ICV-EUIA,and now the CUP) are all supportive of immersion regardless their view on independence. And the PP only discuses that since Aznar leaded the party. No one did that with Fraga.

    Also, why no one complains about people having to study in Dutch in Flanders while French is much more spoken at world level? Or about having to speak Italian if they live in Ticino when German is understood in all Switzerland? Hypocrites. Oh, and of course, I hope you think too that the Russians were oppressed when Estonian was the only language of instruction in Estonian schools during the USSR, or………

  6. Pingback: Is a referendum the right tool for the Catalan problem? | Euro Crisis in the Press

  7. India says:

    I’d just like to point out after reading the first few paragraphs of this article that in fact in Wales – and I’m pretty sure in Scotland – there is almost the exact kind of system occuring. I myself attend a Welsh medium school and not until the age of 8 did I start having a few lessons a week in English, and even after I started Secondary school I still only had three lessons a week of English, yet our standars are still as high, and mostly better, than those of the English medium schools that are also in the Country. Although this article has a lot of interesting and true information, I think you might need to do a bit more research before embarking again on another article such as this.

    • Marco Rodriguez says:

      Do you feel that there are enough post education opportunities and nationalism linked with Welsh? I am doing some research comparing both languages and I am finding that Welsh speakers ultimately abandon their native language because it does not offer the same Socioeconomic status and opportunities as other languages within their geographical areas.

  8. Pingback: The Spanish government has to engage constructively with a rising Catalan secessionist movement | Euro Crisis in the Press

  9. Pingback: Language rights in Catalonia – a perspective from the EUROPP blog | Spain and Latin America

  10. The author in a comment speaks of “individual constitutional rights”. The Constitutional Court has clearly and repeatedly said that parents DO NOT have a constitutional right to choose the language of instruction of their children. (It has misquoted itself to hint otherwise). If the Valencian or Basque Parliaments care to lay down siuch a right, all well and good (especially if they then respect parent’s choice, which they don’t in Valencia).
    Indeed, since 1983 Catalonia jhas respected the right of infant school children to be given their initial instruction through the medium of Spanish, and there has not to my knowledge been any practical problem in implementing this.
    It is as a result of repeatedly bleating, particularly in the Madrid press, that Spanish public opinion, (particuarly driven by the rightwing pres) has gradually come to the conclusion that parents DO have such a right. Even brilliant legal minds like Mr. Pucnik have fallen prey to this view.

    • Pucnik says:

      Indeed, parents do not have that right. What the Constitutional Court has established is that Spanish must not be excluded as language of instruction. At the request of parents, lower courts are now trying to see this simple guideline put into practice. The Catalan government puts up a lot of resistance.

      What the Catalan government offers is “individualised attention”, which means that the teachers give extra explanations, in Spanish, to non Catalan speaking children. The courts have said that this is not the correct way.

      The courts have paid respect to the Catalan legislator and the fact that Catalan speakers have suffered grievances in the past which might still make it necessary that Catalan be used more than Spanish. Yet Catalan nationalism essentially wants it all. With the argument of “social cohesion” it wants to build a nation through language use.

      Let me point out that during the Second Spanish Republic, both Catalan and Spanish were languages of instruction in public schools.

      • The Catalan Parliament and Government have never banned the use of Spanish in schools. Most schools do indeed use it as a medium of instruction, particularly at secondary level.
        What you call “Catalan nationalism” is far too restrictive term: those supporting the Catalan language-in-school model include a party that has latterly stated its opposition to Catalonia holding its own referendum on independence.
        Catalan sociolinguistis have long held that the ideal model for Spain was Switzerland (no haggling about language policy in schools in Geneva or the Ticino!).
        Finally, during the Second Spanish Republic, all Catalonia got was the right to set up its own schools alongside the Spanish-run public schools. There was no transfer of power on his (till Franco’s military uprising changed all that in 1936…)

  11. Oh this is so, so boring. In Catalonia the language-in-education policy was decided by a fully democratic procedure in our Parliament. It is from outside the extremely broad consensus that it is attacked, using the Spanish courts and media where political initiatives flop, and interfering in our model by using a bill on educational quality (sic) in the Spanish parliament to try and break the Catalan model, which is inclusive and doesn’t allow for segregation on language grounds.

    • Pucnik says:

      Indeed, people have to go to the courts to get their right. Seems pretty normal to me. And if they have to rely on the Constitutional Court to go against a “broad consensus” somewhere in the country, then maybe the consensus is wrong. This has actually happened elsewhere before, and constitutional rights prevailed.

      • Sandra says:

        You don’t know the politicized constitutional court of Spain, right?

        • Sandra says:

          Chronology of events of the constitutional court to get a majority of conservative judges to limit the Statute approved by 73.9% of the citizens of Catalonia.

          • Pucnik says:

            While I might have my doubts re the limitations imposed on self-government, the matter at hand is about individual constitutional rights, which I do not want to see subjected to the will of a minority, even if this minority is a majority in one certain territory.

          • John Cowan says:

            Indeed, not even a majority should be able to override individual civil rights. That is the whole reason we need them.

        • Pucnik says:

          The same you can say for the US Supreme Court.

    • Adrián says:

      Hello Mike, I’m glad you’ve weighed in. You, of all people, are well placed to understand the value of a tri-lingual education coming as you do from British and (illustrious) Catalan parentage. Why is it that classes in Castillian are being restricted in state-funded schools? Why is it not the policy of your party to embrace the chance to raise future generations to be bi-lingual in one of the world’s great languages, namely Spanish, now that no one’s going to ban Catalan? It all looks so bad from the outside, and it’s not pleasant as a foreigner to be snubbed by shopkeepers in Catalonia for addressing them in Spanish. They didn’t give lessons in Catalan in England in my day, and I doubt they do today. Best wishes.

      • Laia says:

        There is absolutely no chance on earth that Catalan shopkeepers would snub Spanish speaking customers, foreign or otherwise! Jokes aside, you cannot seriously believe that the status and importance of a language spoken by 500m people is threatened by the fact that Catalans want their children to be educated in a language spoken by 10m? We want to preserve our language, we are not morons! There seems to be a very monolingual belief that languages are exclusive,that they cannot coexist happily in someone’s brain. As someone who grew up bilingual in Barcelona and who has been speaking English daily for the last 22 years I can assure you the human brain is capable of working perfectly and even thriving under those conditions.Thanks to Catalan medium schools Catalan kids can benefit from both Catalan and Spanish languages and culture regardless of their background…If the grown ups and politicians let them!

    • Galadriel says:

      It’s incredible how the Catalonian separatists change everything, I guess they need to justify their actions.
      It’s not true that the educational model of “inmersión” is legal. Its a matter of fact that there are multiple sentences of different Justice Courts, that have said that it is contrary, not only to the Spanish Constitution, but also to the World Declaration of Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Children’s Rights.
      What they have done, is to use the educational system to “brainwash” children, to raise them and educate them in the hate towards Spain. They have falsified Catalonian and Spanish history, in their text books, to make it to their own like. Now, in their frantic effort to “create” a catalan nation, that never existed, they plan to have a referendum, also illegal. Main while, the debt of the catalán region is 50.000 Millions of euros.

  12. Günter says:

    I would like to put a direct question to the authors, if I may, following a subsequent comment that seems to imply that part of the region’s educational model relies on kids watching TV and listening to passers-by on the streets.
    How this apparently de-facto policy compares to those in other western, bilingual societies -e.g. Quebec?

    • Sandra says:

      What part of “invested the same school hours to learn Spanish than Catalan” has not understood?

      • Günter says:

        Quite frankly Sandra, I find your general approach to replies gratuitously offensive.

        • mrband says:

          You’re fortunate, man, here we have to tolerate this fanatic linguo-victimism all the day.

          Separatists should demand the vote of the whole Spain about the Catalonia secession: spaniards are so sick of them that maybe there would be more affirmative votes in Madrid than in Catalonia… LoL

          Unfortunately I have to live here.

          • Sandra says:

            Unfortunately the government of Spain will not let us vote to us or to you.

          • mrband says:

            I don’t need to vote an illegal secession as Spain is a modern democracy which has treated catalonian even better than other democratic countries their territorial languages.

            Unfortunately I have to live with fanatized people which has been brainwashed by more than 30 years of nationalcatalanism, and when the brainwashing has gone so far enough to persuade even some of castillian-speakers to go against their own language, now demand to vote.

            I have to admire your leaders’ strategy of “boiling the frog”, but don’t worry: the match is just beginning.

          • Galahad says:

            Unfortunately for your position, Sandra, the evil Spanish Governement lets you vote: municipal, autonomic, general and even european elections. Not bad for an oppressive state, I would dare say.

  13. Günter says:

    This is getting rather tiresome. Once and again, opinion articles on the Catalan issue, published on English media are followed by a tirade from a bunch of militants from err, Catalonia, to regurgitate the same endogamous arguments, over and over again, chaotically mixing languages and at best resorting to ad-hominem piques and localist self-references.

    • Adrián says:

      You are quite right, Günter. What intrigues me is what are the politicians and sponsors behind this movement hoping to get out of this? They are pouring money into the marketing of this fashionable seperatism; tens of thousands of its citizens are lapping it up; so what’s the payback of Catalan independence to its backers? The answer must be money or power – and sometimes both. Yet I don’t see how the region will be any better off than it is now. So I guess it’s about more “money for the boys” through setting up and paying for bureaucracies, which will be a drag on the region’s competitiveness.

      • Sandra says:

        “I don’t see how the region will be any better off than it is now”

        We don’t see how Catalonia will be better in Spain.

        • mrband says:

          That’s possibly because you have your eyes closed, dear: it uses to be a collateral effect of ultravictimism-mania.

        • Adrián says:

          Nor do your politicians. They can’t wait to be bigger fish in a smaller pond. But they can’t do it without you…so you have to believe that the status quo is the worst option. Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t…choices, choices…

  14. Joseph E.G. says:

    The Catalans students have no problem in learning the Spanish language because the cultural offerings of books, TV, movies, theater, newspapers, radios, etc.. is vastly greater in Spanish language and also is most used on the street.

    The Spanish language is spoken by over 500 million people, while Catalan is spoken by only 11 million, so it is the obligation of Catalan politicians protect minority and vernacular language of this land. The vast majority of Catalan citizens agree to these policies and that fact is demonstrated in the elections.

    • mrband says:

      False, the catalan students have currently deficiencies in spanish/castillian and other subjects because of current school language inmersion in catalonian, PISA studies certify that; and catalan politicians have the obligation of honour the law which says that both languages are coofficial here.

      • Sandra says:

        False, perhaps education deficiencies are due to plundering the tax that the Government of Spain submits to Catalonia and the Government of Catalonia can not allocate more budget for education. And no, Catalan children have no major deficiencies in the Spanish language than any other region of Spain. Both PISA tests as the Ministry of Education endorse my statement.

        • Paul says:

          That’s not true. I’ve lived in Catalonia for 13 years and I can tell you that people here don’t even know how to name basic tools, plants or animals in Spanish. Thanks to bilingualism they don’t even know how to name them in Catalan. It’s clear that you are Catalan so you don’t know what level of proficiency people normally can achieve in states that are monolingual. Also if it weren’t for Spanish, the Catalan school system would collapse. I’ve just finished studying graphic arts and I can tell you that all the material our teachers gave us was translated from Spanish. In fact many technical words didn’t even exist in Catalan, because let’s face it, it’s a subpar language compared to Spanish. Also my boyfriend studies communication at a private university and all the material he gets it’s also translated from Spanish, and it’s very easy to notice because the receives the material in both languages; and don’t get me started at how bad the translation in Catalan is. At the same university if he would choose to study the same degree in Spanish it would cost the double. I could go on forever about how children are brainwashed into nationalism, because i’ve been in 3 different schools in Catalonia, starting with ESO, and being from a different country where we don’t have this issues let’s me see this. I love my native language and I cherish it, but I thank god for being able to speak Spanish and English because it has opened a door to to so much information that simply it’s not available in my mother tongue or it takes years to be translated.

    • Sergio says:

      What kind of Spanish do they learn from TV? A very colloquial Spanish with little vocabulary.

      Protecting Catalan means to eliminate Spanish? Why classes can’t be in both languages? Protecting Catalan without respecting people’s rights? The language is above the rights of the people?

      And no, the vast majority of Catalans don’t agree with this Franco-style policies.

      • Joseph E.G. says:

        Me refiero -y tú lo sabes-, a que si existen 20 canales en español en la TDT y solo 2 en catalán significa que no hay problema en la asimilación del idioma español. No te digo nada ya de la relación de castellano/catalán en oferta literaria, radios, películas, periódicos, etc.

        El vocabulario se aprende en clase y se dedican las mismas horas a aprender el catalán que el castellano, y eso que es más complicado de aprender el catalán. Con lo cual se aprende el mismo vocabulario en catalán que en castellano.

        De toda la vida en Cataluña que hay centros donde si el profesor se expresa mejor en castellano, la clase se da en castellano, y se ha hecho así sin necesidad de establecer ninguna ley de cuotas porque se acepta con normalidad, pero si la mayoría de profesores son catalanes y la lengua vernácula de Cataluña es en catalán -y teniendo en cuenta que siendo una lengua minoritaria deba protegerse-, lo lógico es que sea el catalán la lengua vehicular de la enseñanza. Y ni aun así se compensa -solo por el hecho de dar las clases en catalán- la enorme influencia del castellano en Cataluña, una lengua que, por cierto, también la consideramos como propia.

        Y como los alumnos en Cataluña tienen un nivel de castellano en la media estatal igual que el existente en comunidades monolingües, entonces cualquier problema es totalmente inventado por intereses ideológicos, porque aquí no hay ningún problema con el idioma.

        Y sí, si miras los resultados de las https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elecciones_al_Parlamento_de_Catalu%C3%B1a_de_2012 verás que la mayoría de ciudadanos están a favor -por amplia mayoría- de los partidos que realizan estas políticas de protección lingüística del catalán: CiU, PSC, ERC, ICV, y CUP. Los escaños de PP y Ciudadanos -que se supone que aplicarían otro tipo de política lingüística- solo suman el 20% del parlamento catalán.

        • mrband says:

          «Quien se ha domiciliado en Cataluña y no quiere entender el catalán es un enemigo. Y no merece otro trato que el de enemigo».

          Josep Armengou i Feliu (1910-1976),
          ideólogo del nacionalcatalanismo.

        • Galahad says:

          Si después de 30 años de inmersión el catalán sigue necesitando “protección”, es que el tan cacareado modelo hace aguas (pun intended).

          Pero el tema es mucho más simple: la escuela pública tiene que ofrecer la posibilidad de elegir escolarización en cualquiera de los dos idiomas. Lo contrario es hacer lo mismo que hacía Franco, pero supongo que se aplica el “it’s not Fascism when we do it”.

          Pretender que es lo mismo dar 3 horas de lengua catalana y 3 horas de lengua castellana, cuando el resto de asignaturas se dan en catalán, es de u a desfachatez enorme. Y pretender que se aprende igual viendo en la tele o en la calle, que con un aprendizaje reglado, sus evaluaciones y demás, deja claro el objetivo: que el catalán sea el lenguaje “culto”, académico, mientras que el castellano quede para la chusma. Si es que los nazionalistas no sois ni originales en vuestros planteamientos.

  15. Peter S. says:

    The Catalan language is native to Catalonia and is normal as the language of instruction in the classroom for all subjects areas (math, history, science, etc.). Then are dedicated the same hours for the teaching of Castilian/Spanish language and for the Catalan language.

    • mrband says:

      Yes, catalan is native on the TERRITORY but the point is that is not native (mother tongue) for 53% of current POPULATION in Catalonia, understand the difference? Is public education language in Wales in gaelic or bilingual with english at most?

      BTW, it’s funny: separatists say we must write “CataluNYa” even in spanish instead of “CataluÑa”, but they have no problem to change their “sacred name” to “Catalonia” in english.

      • Joseph E.G. says:

        Just because it is a minority language and because of the strong influence of a language spoken by over 500 million as the Spanish and the strong foreign immigration should already be enough for someone with a bit of empathy to understand that language in classes is Catalan.

        Both UNESCO and the EU have endorsed this system, I guess you are one of those who prefer that everyone spoke English and Spanish and other languages ​​disappear, thankfully not everyone thinks like you.


        And yes, it’s funny allergy to ‘Ñ’ for representing all the Spanish imposition in Catalunya.

        • mrband says:

          I live and have born in Barcelona, and I speak and write catalan fluently (before the inmersive model) so empathy is out of the question.

          Yes, it’s funny because you can see in your own link how Spain signed that european treaty far before than United Kingdom; and though France has signed it has not applied even now:

          ” France, although a signatory, has been constitutionally blocked from ratifying the Charter in respect of the languages of France.”

          so those countries are more opressive than Spain against minority linguistical communities, isn’t it? Evil spaniards…

          BTW, the European Charter does not specify either endorse the catalan linguistical educative model anywhere, only that minority languages should be learned and have protection, which catalan has, in fact far more than in French Catalonia.

          So good luck with your linguo-victimism and don’t forget to talk us about Franco or Felipe V, please, but without Ñ’s of course! :p

          • Sandra says:

            Of course, as in other countries are more oppressive to minority languages​​, then we should not complain about the Spanish government interference in our educational system supported by all sectors of education and citizens. Great reasoning. lol

          • mrband says:

            To Sandra:

            you can complain about whatever if you want. But if other *democratic* countries have linguistical policies far more “oppresive” than Spain has, your victimism argument is at least an exaggeration.

            Now good luck trying the other favorite argument of separatists: Madrid ens roba! (Madrid is stealing us!)

        • mrband says:



          -All persons have therefore the right to express themselves and to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice, and particularly in their mother tongue; all persons are entitled to quality education and training that fully respect their cultural identity; and all persons have the right to participate in the cultural life of their choice and conduct their own cultural practices, subject to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

          -Anex II (The Member States commit themselves to) “Encouraging linguistic diversity – while respecting the mother tongue – at all levels of education, wherever possible, and fostering the learning of several languages from the earliest age.”

          Toma endorsement.

        • Silvia Bana says:

          “Both UNESCO and the EU have endorsed this system”




          “All persons have therefore the right to express themselves and to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice, and particularly in their mother tongue; all persons are entitled to quality education and training that fully respect their cultural identity; and all persons have the right to participate in the cultural life of their choice and conduct their own cultural practices, subject to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

          The Member States commit themselves to “Encouraging linguistic diversity – while respecting the mother tongue – at all levels of education, wherever possible, and fostering the learning of several languages from the earliest age. ”

          Here go your endorsement…

        • Gianni says:

          “Both UNESCO and the EU have endorsed this system”

          UNESCO? Indeed?:


          -“All persons have therefore the right to express themselves and to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice, and particularly in their mother tongue; all persons are entitled to quality education and training that fully respect their cultural identity; and all persons have the right to participate in the cultural life of their choice and conduct their own cultural practices, subject to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

          -[The Member States commit themselves to] “Encouraging linguistic diversity – while respecting the mother tongue – at all levels of education, wherever possible, and fostering the learning of several languages from the earliest age.”

      • Sandra says:

        How? Now education policies must be changed by immigration? Is that protect the cultural heritage that is the native language of Catalonia? Do we change policy also in Muslim-majority districts because their mother tongue is different?

        • mrband says:

          Don’t you say population has “dret a decidir”? Only catalonian-speakers are true catalonians? A 53% are inmigrants?

          If muslims someday are majority here and vote to use arab in school, using your “dret a decidir” arab will be official and you should be glad I presume.

          Democracy in Catalonia summarized: if catalonian-speakers have the majority then “We want to vote!” but if they are not majority, then “catalonians are only the catalonian-speakers, the rest are inmigrants and can’t choose anything”.

          LoL + double facepalm, dear.

          • Sandra says:

            53% are not immigrants, they are descendants of immigrants (hence their native language is spanish), they are just like a catalan that catalan with all catalan family. And it is not going to change the native language of this region by the language of immigration.

            There are things you can ask the people and others can not, not whether or not people want lower taxes nor’ll leave deciding the people the vernacular language of a region, but you can ask the people for the right of self-determination.

            And every four years both Catalan and Castilian speakers vote for their politicians, and in every election since the 30s of XX century nationalist parties gain.

          • mrband says:

            As I said, that’s democracy in Catalonia: we can vote only what we (nationalcatalonians) want to vote, and only when we (nationalcatalonians) can win.

            About elections, using your own argument about Constitution, I can say that 99% of that 53% of castillian-speakers don’t know what they are voting when they vote parties which go against their own language and impose it to their children.

        • Kim says:

          Arabic is not an official language as Spanish is. Get the difference?

          • Kim says:

            I mean in Catalonia,of course. Anyway, it is possible to protect Catalan without discriminating Spanish. The current educational model is slanted in favour of Catalan. A great model for Catalonia would be the bilingual one in Quebec, for example, where there is a balance between the two official languages, as it should be.

          • Sandra says:

            The french language and the english language are not minority or are threatened by immigration languages, the difference is huge.

        • Günter says:

          Are you saying that nationals moving from Berlin to Munich or Marseille to Paris, or Detroit to New York are immigrants? Really?

  16. Anthony G. says:

    Two unionist criticizing the language immersion model, hahahahahahahaha!!!!

    • José Antonio says:

      Do the British Unionists or British government are also continuously with the message of fear against Scotland for example? Or trying to standardize and homogenize Scotland, Wales, Ireland with the educational policies? Or trying to remove powers for to centralize more power in London? I ask out of curiosity.

      Note: translate with Google, sorry.

      • Adrián says:

        It all depends on what you are afraid of. The debate around Scottish Independence, for example, is more about the issues and less about how terrible the English are/have been. It’s a fact that the Union of Great Britain has been governed by at least 5 Scottish prime ministers in the past 100 years. There isn’t a language debate because no one’s children in any of the countries are being denied an education in English. There would be riots in the streets if that were the case. Imagine trying to deny citizens an education in the world’s most international language in the country of its birth. Unthinkable.

        • Sandra says:

          Here neither are denied education in the mother tongue (only in spanish, no foreign languages), but usually parents do not want to exclude your child from the rest and just 12 unionists parents asked last year schooling in spanish language.

          • Giulianna says:

            Of course, only 12 (unionists? prejudicing?) parents…, the typical consensus of dictatorships.


            “En los últimos tres años, más de 1.300 familias de 56 localidades catalanas pertenecientes a 187 centros docentes han solicitado enseñanza bilingüe, según ha informado CCC en un comunicado este lunes. ”

            “Denuncian acoso por las resoluciones que fijan un 25% de castellano en el aula”

            “La Escuela Cristiana reparte entre los escolares circulares contrarias al fallo a favor del bilingüismo”

            “La madre de uno de los niños sobre cuya educación en castellano se posicionó a favor el Tribunal Superior de Justícia de Catalunya (TSJC) denuncia la «promoción del odio» a la que el colegio de su hijo estaría sometiendo a su familia.”

          • Silvia says:

            Yes, only 12 ¿unionist? (prejudicing?) parents.

            The typical consensus of the fear to majority’s dictatorship:

            Denuncian acoso por las resoluciones que fijan un 25% de castellano en el aula

            La Escuela Cristiana reparte entre los escolares circulares contrarias al fallo a favor del bilingüismo

            La madre de uno de los niños sobre cuya educación en castellano se posicionó a favor elTribunal Superior de Justícia de Catalunya (TSJC) denuncia la «promoción del odio» a la que el colegio de su hijo estaría sometiendo a su familia.

            FÚTBOLSiga el decisivo duelo: Liverpool vs Chelsea.

            LENGUA Conflicto por el modelo educativo
            Padres de 25 escuelas piden a la Generalitat ‘enseñanza bilingüe’ para sus hijos
            EUROPA PRESS Barcelona
            Actualizado: 07/04/2014 11:50 horas

            Padres de 25 centros educativos han pedido que sus hijos reciban “enseñanza bilingüe” ante la Conselleria de Enseñanza de la Generalitat en una reclamación conjunta presentada por la entidad Convivencia Cívica Catalana (CCC).

            Las solicitudes corresponden a centros de diferentes localides entre las que se encuentran Barcelona, Igualada, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Ripollet, Sant Joan Despí, Mollet del Vallès, Viladecans, Tarragona y Reus.

            En los últimos tres años, más de 1.300 familias de 56 localidades catalanas pertenecientes a 187 centros docentes han solicitado enseñanza bilingüe, según ha informado CCC en un comunicado este lunes.

          • Giulianna says:

            12 unionist (prejudicing is ugly, dear) parents…

            Of course, the typical consensus of a dictatorship:

            Padres de 25 centros educativos han pedido que sus hijos reciban “enseñanza bilingüe” ante la Conselleria de Enseñanza de la Generalitat en una reclamación conjunta presentada por la entidad Convivencia Cívica Catalana (CCC).

            Las solicitudes corresponden a centros de diferentes localides entre las que se encuentran Barcelona, Igualada, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Ripollet, Sant Joan Despí, Mollet del Vallès, Viladecans, Tarragona y Reus.

            En los últimos tres años, más de 1.300 familias de 56 localidades catalanas pertenecientes a 187 centros docentes han solicitado enseñanza bilingüe, según ha informado CCC en un comunicado este lunes.

      • mrband says:

        In fact Scotland has less self governement than Catalonia: Scotland has no own parliament since 1707 and until 1999 was not restored, while Catalonia restored its parliament on 1980, only 5 years after death of Franco.

        Spaniards are so evil… (ironic off)

        • Sandra says:

          Catalonia had some independent courts from the XIII to the XVIII century and have not yet been restored (as independents of course), remain under the yoke of Spain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_Courts

          The British should know much about it: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caso_de_los_catalanes

          • mrband says:

            The XIII century, oh, what injustice! Do you know Spain is a democracy since 1978?

            The “yoke” of Spain…, so funny, you should say the “joke”, because catalonians didn’t approve the Spanish Constitution with more than 90% in favor, didn’t? At least, majority of Basque people chose abstention then. But probably there was a guardia civil behind each catalonian to oblige them to vote yes, of course…

            Typical separatist-fanatic, nothing new here unfortunately.

          • Sandra says:

            Until 300 years Catalonia had complete independence through their courts, are only 10 generations. 99% voted the Constitution without knowing anything about its content, voting democracy versus dictatorship and were evidently massively voted Yes, then the small print said that Spain was indissoluble and indivisible, oh wait… it’s too late now…

          • Kim says:

            But that happened long time ago! Now Catalonia has a Parliament, home rule and votes every 4 years! Let’s stick to modern times, shall we?

          • Sandra says:

            Of course, as I am Spanish nationalist and I like this status, then let’s stick to modern times, shall we? Okay, now, in 2014, in modern times, the catalans want to vote to decide our future, can we? Let we do? Thank you.

          • Kim says:

            Spanish nationalist? That’s rich. You know nothing about me and you label me oh so happily. Typical of you. Either way, Catalonia approved with a 90% the Spanish Carta Magna and nobody forced the voters to do so. If you want your referendum follow to rules to get one (as in democratic normal countries).

  17. CAFLNDG says:

    I see that most of the critical comments (that are not ad hominems) use precisely the same arguments Sonia and Mercè refute in this very article without adding anything new. I think that goes to show that much of what they say is quite irrebuttable.

    • Pedro Gómez says:

      Tests of Ministry of Education of Spain also indicate that students in Catalonia have a spanish language level above the Spanish average, the article is full of suitles manipulations.

    • Mike says:

      Unfortunately, ad hominems are the basis of most debate in Catalonia and in much of the rest of Spain. It doesn’t matter how cogent your argument is, if someone doesn’t agree with you, you’re just wrong /misinformed/ a communist / a fascist / a member of X party, etc., etc. The actual points you make are never addressed.

  18. Josep says:

    Lo que digan dos votantes de Ciudadanos sobre la inmersión lingüística en Cataluña es totalmente irrelevante.

    • mrband says:

      Lo que diga un votante separatista aún es más irrelevante.

      • Sandra says:

        Ambos (unionistas y separatistas) deberían poder votar para expresar su opinión, y eso sí que no sería irrelevante.

        • Kim says:

          There is the elections every four years (sometimes even in a shorter lapse of time) to vote…

        • mrband says:

          Claro, claro, vamos a votar tras 30 años de adoctrinamiento nacionalista desde la escuela y la televisión autonómica (“el nacionalisme català es bó e integrador, el nacionalisme espanyol es de fatxes i opresors”), con una pregunta que hasta el creador de la Ley de Claridad de Referendums canadiense ha dicho públicamente que en Quebec no sería una pregunta válida, y sin saber exactamente qué estamos votando si gana el Sí+No (estado soberano pero no independiente ¿?), y dejando votar hasta a menores de edad, mientras ahora se nos llama “colonos”. Un proceso limpio, limpio… ajá.

          ¿Y qué lengua va a ser oficial tras el Independence Day? Porque me da que el castellano tendrá los días contados después, diga lo que diga Junqueras que además no es nadie para prometer nada. No insultéis nuestra inteligencia.

        • Kim says:

          Why you don’t allow to choose between bilingual education and a monolingual one? If too few people choose Spanish, that won’t be a problem for you, will it?People would choose whichever they want and no need to vote in an election or referendum- just sheer freedom! Don’t you think?

          • Galahad says:

            You can ask for education in Spanish in Catalonia, but there is a price to pay: social stigma. I could bear that burden myself but will not throw it in my kid’s shoulders.

    • Mike says:

      There we are: a perfect case in point – I don’t agree with you, therefore your argument is not just wrong, it is without any value whatsoever. Forget free speech, right? Either the transition to democracy takes place in the space between the ears, or it never takes place.

      • Sandra says:

        Transition to democracy in Spain? lol

        Is democracy not let a non-binding vote on consulting citizens of a region if they wish to remain part of the Spanish state like Scotland? Great democracy!

        • mrband says:

          Scotland was an independent kingdom when its parliament choose to sign the Union Act with England in 1707.

          When Catalonia alone has been independent? Catalonia was first a part of Carolingian Kingdom, and then part of the Aragon’s Crown. So the whole Aragon’s Crown territory is which historically was a sovereign country, ask for a referendum there. Don’t you want your “Països Catalans”, do you? It’s democracy!!!

          Apart from that, Spain has a written Constitution voted affirmatively by catalonians which says “the sovereignty belongs to all the people of Spain”. UK hasn’t that so the referendum in Scotland is legal, but Catalonia’s one is not.

          Law’s ignorance is not eximent to ignore the Law.

    • Kim says:

      Let’s respect minorities…(mode ironic on)

  19. Mike says:

    An excellent article providing information and opinions that are never seen in the Catalan media, as a result of the prevailing censorship and propaganda by the political powers. Well done to both of you.

  20. Pingback: Los derechos lingüísticos en Cataluña [ENG]

  21. Joan says:

    Sonia would do better to not confuse public with lies: in the 80s for speaking Catalan, I was told by a Guardia Civil “do you think that if I shoot you right here right now anybody would care?”. Likewise, my Catalan father CANNOT write his language because dictator Franco had it PROHIBITED in schools (and everywhere no need to say). The issue is simple: this author in this text aims to promote a return to those days. Visca Catalunya Lliure: long live Catalonia!

    • Treu Banya says:

      Are you looking for revenge on today’s kids, Joan?

      Anyhow, the reality of facts is that, banned or not by dictator Franco’s governments, Catalan was still taught in many public and private primary schools in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s — until the end of dictatorship. In addition, already in the late 1960s (and certainly during the early 1970s) a bunch of private schools teaching in Catalan, for middle-class children and teenagers, were created, and completely legalized, by the dictatorial government

    • mrband says:

      So catalan was ‘PROHIBITED’ ‘anywhere’ on dictatorship? Then how do you explain that Prize Lletra d’Or for narrative in catalonian was created on 1956 and the first winner was Salvador Espriu? Or the Honor Prize de les Lletres Catalanes created by Òmnium Cultural (yes, that catalonian organization did exist with Franco) in 1969? And Prize Sant Jordi in catalonian created by newspaper La Vanguardia in 1960?

      By the way, catalonian nationalists nowadays have eliminated spanish as a main language in the public school. Imagine if Wales would educate children at schools totally in gaelic and english have been supressed…

      And about your Guardia Civil experience, I have been insulted as ‘xarnego’ (foreigner) by intolerant catalonians here (though I’m bilingual and born in Barcelona) and now separatists insult unionists as “colons” (spanish colonists, settlers).

  22. Cogito says:

    Interesting that the article doesn’t explains the political background of the authors, both, Sonia Sierra and Mercè Vilarrubias, are active members of C’s, a right-wing party with just the 6% of the representatives in the Catalan Parliament. It doesn’t change the arguments, but it vanishes the appearance of expertnesses and objectivity of the article.

    • anto33 says:

      Right wing?The right wing in Catalonia is the catalan fascism that want force everybody to speak only catalan.

      • José Antonio says:

        “the catalan fascism that want force everybody to speak only catalan”

        Jajaja, qué gracioso que eres, se nota que no vives en Cataluña, llevo más de 40 años aquí y nunca he tenido ningún problema con el idioma (y eso que no hablo catalán). Qué fácil es hablar desde fuera.

        • mrband says:

          Ell no ho sé, però jo sí que visc aquí, company.

          A una persona de mi familia que no entiende bien el catalán una médico de la Seguridad Social se negó a hablarle en castellano, a pesar de que se lo pidió con toda cortesía. Me arrepiento de no haberla denunciado.

    • Kim says:

      They are members of C’s, and so what? I do not think this is enough to disabow any of the points stated in the article. Don’t Mr. Tremosa, Mr. Mas and other Catalan nationalists explain their points of view in other international outlets? They are as entitled to so as Ms. Sierra and Ms. Vilarrubia, don’t you think? Now, please try to eleborate and enlighten us with any solid argument instead of throwing ad-hominems around.

      • Cogito says:

        Kim, It seems that you have some kind of reading problem? re-read my last sentence: “It doesn’t change the arguments, but it vanishes the appearance of expertnesses and objectivity of the article.”

        I just added some “miss” information that is needed to get a whole context of their point of view. About some counter-argument… too boring, but you can get some light reading the Enric Blanes comment.

        • Kim says:

          I don’t have any problem with my reading skills, thank you very much. If “it doesn’t change arguments” why you bring out the membership of the authours?. I am interested in the arguments exposed there mainly, no matter who expresses these. I don’t think their membership is a too relevant information, other people who vote for other parties might agree with them. Plus, please double-check your information: C’s is not a right-wing party. And I disagree completely with the comment you mention, but some commenters have replied him already. In fact, I want to read any solid argument against this op-ed… which is based in the present situation,-of course not the past- but I am not finding any.

    • Ergo Sum Treu Banya says:

      “Citizens” (C’s) belongs to the European Liberal Party. This is the same partisan family which the party of Mr. Mas, president of the region, belongs to — Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya. The other party in his coalition CiU (i.e. C and U) is Unió Democràtica de Catalunya, which happens to be a member of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), thus indicating to be even more Conservative — eventually, this has as a fellow-member the Spanish-wide Partido Popular

  23. Enric Blanes says:

    “Our target is hispanizing Catalan children”. This statement was made in the Spanish Congress by José Ignacio Wert, the Minister of Education, in October 2012. In Semptember 11th 2012 there had been a 1.6 million people demonstration in Barcelona under the slogan “Catalonia, next European state”. This is a political issue, mainly fuelled by Spanish nationalism. Regarding the linguistic issue in schools, a lot of studies and experts do contradict the main thesis of this article.

    Catalan speakers are an endangered minority in Spain, despite the hypothetical protection provided by the Spanish Constitution. One extreme example may be enough to explain the actual situation: Catalan is the first language in Eastern Aragon (74 %), but it is not official. It is not taught in schools and it is not called Catalan but a Newspeak name: Lapao. The Spanish Government does tolerate this abuse. Spanish is considered the national language; Catalan is a regional language –Sierra and Vilarrubias think so (please, read again their fifth paragraph).

    Not respecting language rights and threatening Catalan schools are a key political drive in Spanish politics since 1714. The Catalan language has been forbidden for 256 years since then. For many years, Catalan speakers have not been allowed to learn reading and writing their own language; Spanish speakers in Catalonia have not been allowed to learn reading nor writing nor speaking Catalan. Spanish nationalism in the Franco era seek to divide Catalonia by force in two separated communities. It was not a strange maneuvre. You can compare it, for instance, to the attempts to increase Russification in Latvia by USSR, in the same years.

    After the Franco era, a vast majority in the Catalan Parliament agreed to guarantee all children would be able to speak both Catalan and Spanish at the end of schooling. Children are not separated by their mother tongue in schools. We are proud of it, although Spanish nationalists would rather prefer the contrary. Despite being banned for decades, Catalan is regaining, little by little, its status as normal language in Catalonia. In the EU all languages of a similar size to Catalan are already official languages of the EU. The Catalan case is exceptional due to the permanent opposition of the Spanish government.

    In Catalonia, there is a growing sense of being one community, whatever the usual language one speaks. Súmate, a pro-independence group of activists who speak Spanish, is increasingly active, influent and beloved. This upsets Minister Wert and Spanish nationalists in the Spanish Congress and the High Court of Justice. “Great Russia’s divine nationalistic mission”, by Latvian writer Otto Ozols, explains fairly well this phenomenon and gives us some international context to understand the connexion between language rights, Spanish nationalism and a minority’s legitimate will to regain political independence.

    Finally, consider Portugal. Why does Spain not pressure Portugal in order to increase the presence of Spanish in Portuguese schools? In Catalonia, we think the answer is crystal clear: the only remedy is the Catalan Republic.

    • Kim says:

      I don’t think that comparing a democratic country like Spain with the USSR is accurate.

    • Ferran says:

      You are not saying the true again. Spanish Language is used by catalan people in Catalonia since the XVI century. Do you know who was Boscan? Could you explain why with preference the catalan publishers wrote in spanish since this century? Could you explain the claims from Despuig, Pujades, even a Conseller en Cap, Francesc Calça who claims in 1601!!!! because all catalan writers made their “jobs” in Spanish and didn’t want use catalan language.? Do you? Is absolutely false Catalan language was forbidden with Felipe V. The problem about Catalan language was don’t have any true grammar until Pompeu Fabra. There are a lot of Catalan people in S. XVIII-XIX (Do you know who was Rubió I Ors?) claiming against “Catalan people” for forgetting their own language, so, no one banned Catalan language.

      If you need more information about catalan language before and after Felipe V you could read these links:



    • Catalannotseparatist says:

      There were not 1.600.000 people in that demonstration, that is another lie that ANC and the official propaganda say.

      Have you watched this video?

      • Sandra says:

        2 people per meter? are you kidding?


        • Adrián says:

          Remarkable what you can do with “Photoshop”, Sandra.

          But here’s the deal; the debate on Catalonian Independence has been, up to now, very one-sided in favour of the Catalan Nationalists. But now those who have remained silent in the region because they want a bit of peace and quiet to get on with their lives are beginning to wake up the fact that their choices are being erroded, and that Catalan nationalism is being forced on them. This seems especially when it comes to educating their children to thrive in a globalized world where Catalan is barely a speck on the world language radar screen. Have they even heard of Catalan in Chicago, Illinois? Or Shanghai? Or Bangalore? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the answer is likely to be “No”. Have they heard of Spanish? Yes. In the U.S. more and more of them even speak it, making the U.S. the country with the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. But Catalan? Say what?

          Closer to home, if the putative Catalan Republic expects to be a part of the EU, then it is deceiving itself. The head of the European Commission Barosso has spoken against the likelihood of accepting independent breakaways like Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders, the Venetian Republic, etc.. .into the EU. Why? Probably because it’s hard enough to build a united consensus among the current 28 nation states, without adding and having to deal with a handful of bolshy fledgling states, especially ones like Catalonia who are as venemous towards their previous countries as Catalan nationalists are towards Spain.
          Time to rethink the approach, I think. Because this one is not going to get a recognized independent Catalan state anytime soon.

  24. Sergio says:

    A great article that debunks separatist’s lies. Well done!

  25. gsprochnawick says:

    Catalan is the own language of Catalonia. Where the troubble is ? In hate to other language were not spanish ? Ask to the spanish prime minister, all times. They only speak spanish.

    • Schuster, Heiko says:

      Catalan has been imposed the last 30 years just as spanish was imposed in the Francoist Spain. Both ways are wrong.

      • DJSAKLD says:

        What the hell are you saying? Spanish is a legal language, and there is not enough people who wants their children to be educated in spanish for open a single school. The mono-lingual education was promoted in the spanish-speaking towns because the spanish-speaking populations wanted their children to be integrated in the society. In the class you can speak in spanish if you want, and in the little, catalan-monolingual villages there are some subjects in spanish when the teachers think the children need them. There is no opression, and there is not demand for opening only-spanish schools.

        • Kim says:

          Are you against bilinguism? Why children shouldn’t study in Spanish if their families wish them to do so? Spanish is an official language and the mother tongue of more than half of the population in Catalonia. Why you Catalan nationalists feel threatened by this fact? You can study Catalan in all schools in Catalonia. Why people shouldn’t feel free to talk whichever language wants? Isn’t that freedoom?

        • Treu Banya says:

          There has been increasing pressure to speak Catalan also during games at the school courtyard. Now there is even an official campaign for children: “I tu, jugues en català?” More details (and proof) here: http://www.cpnl.cat/xarxa/cnlbarcelona/noticies.html?ID=9143

          • Sandra says:

            Is it to encourage games and toys in Catalan is to increase the pressure to speak catalan?

          • mrband says:

            Then I presume Spanish Gov could initiate too a campaign for children in TV3: “Y tú? Por qué no juegas en español?”…

            Oh, wait! Feixistes! Madrid ens roba els nens!

    • Kim says:

      But Spanish is the mother tongue of the majority of the majority of the Catalan population. It is official as well so it should be respected too, along Catalan.

    • Treu Banya says:

      Spanish (also known as Castilian) has been talked, written and published in Barcelona an surrounding areas (the most populated of Catalonia) for at least four centuries — even more than English in Montreal (Quebec-Canada). Today Spanish is the mother-tongue of 55% of the inhabitants of the region, while Catalan is the mother tongue of 32%, and an additional 4% learned both in their early childhood. Moreover, the remaining 8% is made of Aranese Occitan (in the county of Aran) and foreign languages, from Arabic to Romanian and Urdu. What is the “own” language of Catalonia? Well, at least both

  26. Eloi says:

    Another thing that is interesting about this article is the lack of objectivism. Mercè Villarrubias is a militant of C’s (pro-spanish party) and Sonia Sierra is closely related to the initiative “Puerta de Brandemburgo” whose webpage starts saying something like: “Catalan society is sick” and goes on with a bunch of lies almost lying inside fascism.

    • Kim says:

      Where does say it so?

      • John,
        Their presentation is here:
        “Our group chose the name “Brandenburg Gate” to clearly show our desire to be a point where different sensitivities and approaches can meet.”
        My impression is that all 24 members of this collective share one and the same view, as regards Catalonia’s independence (thus belying their claim and the very image of the Gate).

        As to Eloi’s claim, he is referring to an article by Roberto Augusto, No. 3 on their list, who is also one of the founders of a “Unionist” association called “Societat Civil Catalana” (sic): http://www.lavozlibre.com/noticias/blog_opiniones/14/909369/societat-civil-catalana/1

        Sr. Augusto writes the following, literally:
        “La sociedad catalana está enferma. Y el mal que padece es el nacionalismo, una patología colectiva que consiste en creer que lo mío es lo mejor porque es lo mío y que únicamente busca el enfrentamiento y la confrontación. Allí donde esta ideología política es fuerte la libertad se resiente. Aquellos que no comulgamos con esas ruedas de molino somos criminalizados, insultados y marginados por los que se consideran guardianes de una nación catalana que solo existe en sus mentes.”

        Well, I suppose he’s entitled to his opinion.

    • Treu Banya says:

      Some people is supporting the new party C’s (“Citizens”) because their are really concerned (and upset) about imposed mono-lingualism and nationalist indoctrination at the school system, the mass-media and most prominent social positions in the region. Their opinions and views are not the effect of their sympathies for C’s, but they are primarily the cause of these sympathies. Just the other way around.

  27. Eloi says:

    Some information in this article is not true. In my case, the language of teaching depended on the teacher itself. And looking back i can state that i had almost the same amount of classes in spanish and in catalan during my student life. Moreover, all catalan people I know are able to speak both languages fluently (as mother tongues), theoretically my mother tongue is catalan but sometimes i even think in spanish, i’m proud of being bilingual and i think that the catalan linguistic model is effective and fair. We never had any problems regarding this issue, but with the independence of catalonia on the spotlight a lot of spanish people is telling lies and dishonesting everything that is related to catalan culture. I hope that you have a more realistic perspective now

  28. Adrián says:

    A courageous article, that pulls back the veil to show how Catalan nationalism has morphed from a struggle against dictatorship in the ’70s, to an ideology of imposition and restrictions on the right to choose (isn’t that the exact phrase the Catalans use to justify independence from Spain?)- in this case for ordinary citizens to have their children educated in Spanish.
    Doubtless there will be the usual retorts from the Catalanistas about 300 years of opression, the rape of Catalonia’s wealth, how much they suffered under Franco (ask the villified madrileños what it was like to be besieged by the nationalists in the Spanish civil war)….all of which are beside this particular point.
    Education really matters, and what the separatists are doing through denying the children of Catalonia the right to be taught in a world language will limit their chances and could impoverish the region in the future, whether they cecede or not. The international community should take note of this if and when an independent Catalonia applies for EU membership.

    • DJSAKLD says:

      Probably you don’t even live in Catalonia. You and all unionist people are only telling lies about a conflict that doesn’t exists. In Catalonia people demands work and a just society, and there is a relative majority that thinks independence could help on that. In the other hand, there is not a real demand for an spanish education, because the people know that if you want to be integrated in the catalan society, you need to know both catalan and spanish, and the only way to ensure that is the current system.

      • Chema says:

        The Spaniards need not “integrate” in any region of Spain, as we are in our own country.

      • Galahad says:

        Of course there is no “real demand” for Spanish only education: you do not have the option to ask for it. The alternative is a long and costly legal process and social stigmatizarion. This is the Catalonian freedom.

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