Language question in the discourse of modern Catalan nationalists


  • Андрей Андреевич Терещук Российский государственный педагогический университет им. А.И. Герцена


Ключевые слова:

language policy, Catalan language, language contact, political linguistics, Catalan separatism


The article analyzes statements about the Spanish-Catalan language contact given by the intellectual and political leaders of the Catalan independence movement. First, this paper investigates how the leaders of Catalan nationalists refer to the history of Catalonia and its language. Their statements concerning the sociolinguistic situation around Catalan during F. Franco’s dictatorship (1939–1975) are also briefly discussed. The main focus of this article is on analyzing the possible implementation of the proposed state language policies in the event of Catalonia becoming independent from Spain. This analysis is based on the speeches given by Catalan nationalists in the five years between September 2012 (the unprecedented protests in Barcelona) and October 2017 (Catalan independence referendum and the following crisis). Two possible scenarios for the implementation of language policies are highlighted: the radical and the moderate. Those in favor of the moderate scenario would preserve the official status of Spanish in an independent Catalonia, in which case the new state would have two official languages. This view is supported by all leaders of the prominent secessionist parties. Advocates of the radical scenario consider it necessary to deprive Spanish of its official status in the public sphere. In this case Catalan would become the official language of the government, all educational institutions and the state media. Finally, the paper assesses the likelihood of each scenario being realized. Based on this analysis, the newly formed sovereign state will have two official languages (Catalan and Spanish). Still, some members of the political and intellectual elite favor the radical scenario and might try to depose Spanish, which could in turn lead to conflict between the Spanish-speaking and the Catalan-speaking communities.

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