Anda di halaman 1dari 36

This article was downloaded by: On: 13 January 2011 Access details: Access Details: Free Access Publisher

Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 3741 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

Current Issues In Language and Society

Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t908329496

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia


Miquel Strubell

Online publication date: 23 April 2010

To cite this Article Strubell, Miquel(1998) 'Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia', Current Issues In

Language and Society, 5: 3, 146 180 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/13520529809615513 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13520529809615513

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE


Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdf This article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug doses should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia


Miquel Strubell
Institut de Sociolingstica Catalana, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain In his paper, Miquel Strubell argues that in Europe in the past few centuries the relationship between democracy and language policy in multilingual countries is very complex; that Catalan has thrived in democratic periods in which devolution has advanced; that the causes of most of the problems facing Catalan are non-linguistic, so the remedies are also non-linguistic; and that the future of Catalan even in Catalonia proper is insecure, because of its weak demographic base: very low fertility rates, plus constant in-migration from Spanish-speaking Spain, often in a hostile media context. He distinguishes between the rights of speakers of territorially stable languages and those of immigrant populations, and like Kymlicka argues that the liberal tradition does make allowance for group or minority rights. Finally, in a situation in which a political dictatorship has been replaced by an economic dictatorship (that of the free market) any demographically weak language needs a firm pro-active policy in order to survive and thrive.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Introduction
This subject is an extremely thought-provoking one, for while each of the three concepts, language, democracy and devolution, could, in its own right, keep linguists, sociologists or political scientists in business indefinitely, the interfaces bring together the different disciplines in new ways. Seen as a triangle, with a concept at each vertex, it is clear that we can discuss three separate two-way relationships, each of which is fascinating in a context such as the one in which I work: Catalonia. 1 I have often said and written that it is only in bi- or multilingual situations that the relationship between language and, on the one hand, democracy, and on the other, devolution, attains its greatest potential. This is not to deny that language and democracy, for instance, are related in monolingual societies: surely a literate, and therefore linguistically well-equipped populace is better placed to make informed judgements in a democratic environment than is an illiterate one. Surely there is a need in both mono- and multilingual countries for shared meaning in order for citizens to be able to cope with the abstract concepts that a modern society handles and requires. But nevertheless, in power relationships between people who speak different languages, language becomes a crucial element and language choice a very easily observable phenomenon or social variable. And in this context Spain is an excellent case study. In a less enlightened age, people would turn through the pages of their atlas, and on reaching the map of Spain, nicely illustrated in a single colour and clearly different from the colours of neighbouring countries, they would say Ah! Spain. Yes: Spanish!. The stereotype was one of bullfights and flamenco, wherever
1352 0520/98/03 0146-35 $10.00/0 CURRENT ISSUES IN LANGUAGE & SOCIETY 1998 M. Strubell Vol. 5, No. 3, 1998

146

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

147

people actually came from in Spain (even if they were portrayed in Fawlty Towers). But such cultural uniformity was far from the truth, as was the myth of linguistic uniformity that used to be transmitted to the outside world: It is frequently forgotten (or entirely unrecognised) that, after the Soviet Union, Spain constitutes the most populous economically developed multilingual country in the world and the oldest multilingual state in the world, predating even the Swiss confederation in that respect. Similarly forgotten or overlooked, is the fact that the Catalan contribution to both of these circumstances is and has long been the major one. (Fishman, 1991: 299) In the present case, language (which can be regarded as the domain of linguists and, I would like to add, language planners), democracy (which, in the sense that it relates the individual to his or her surrounding social environment, can perhaps best be regarded as the domain of sociologists and anthropologists) and 2 devolution (which is undoubtedly the area of political scientists ) come together in exciting ways, as I hope to convince readers. And if the interfaces are exciting in themselves, they are, I can assure you, absolutely enthralling if we look at the particular case of Catalonia. I therefore intend to structure this paper in the simplest and most logical fashion: after a very brief introductory reference to the language itself, I shall deal in turn with language and democracy, language and devolution, and albeit more briefly with democracy and devolution. May I state from the outset some of my main hypotheses: that in Europe in the past few centuries the relationship between democracy and language, in bi- and multilingual countries, has been far from simple; that Catalan has thrived in democratic periods in which devolution has advanced; that the causes of most of the problems facing Catalan, in the past and at present, are non-linguistic in nature; and that the future of the language is far from secure. The Catalan language is probably a unique case in Europe. Not because of any inherent virtue of the language itself: it is a neo-Latin, or Romance language, that is, a member of the same family of languages as Portuguese, Spanish, Occitan, French and Italian, among others. Not because of the extraordinary standard of its literature. Not because it has an inordinately large vocabulary. Instead, its claim to uniqueness lies in the fact that, alone among the languages spoken today by over five million people in Europe, it has survived three centuries of nation-state ideology (one nation, one state, one language) without having had a state to back it (we can discount the weight of Andorra in the international arena), and without at the same time entering an irreversible demographic decline. This is of course thanks to the fact that most of the people who speak the language have continued to do so, despite political or other pressures, generation after generation. In this paper we shall be looking into the causes of this resilience, building on earlier papers (e.g. Webber & Strubell, 1991; Strubell, 1993, 1996) while at the same time highlighting the threats that have constantly assailed the language and the identity of its speakers.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

148

Current Issues in Language and Society

Language and Democracy


On 19 November 1863, Abraham Lincoln gave a memorable definition of democracy (without, curiously enough, using the word) in a speech in which he expressed his hope: that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (Cohen & Cohen, 1991: 234) Government of the people [] for the people can of course be undertaken by a benevolent despot. It is the reference to government by the people that associates the statement so clearly with democracy. Yet it is easy to reach erroneous conclusions by attempting simple associations between language and democracy. A language can decline or disappear in a democracy, and it can survive in an autocracy. Several examples can illustrate these points. The French revolution, widely hailed as one of the biggest steps towards (parliamentary) democracy that history has ever seen, quickly brought to the fore those who argued that a single language had to be imposed for all citizens to be equal, and to have equal access to rights and services, in a country in which, at the end of the eighteenth century, about half of the population spoke languages other than French: principally Occitan, which was spoken by the vast majority of the population in the southern half of the country, but also Breton, Corsican, Basque, Catalan, Dutch and German. In order for liberty, equality and fraternity to work in practice, it was felt by those in power that all should learn French as well as or fairly soon, instead of what were known in derogatory fashion as les patois. To be a Provenal speaker was seen as backward and old-fashioned, as ancien regime, and therefore linked to a world which was being swept away without any kind of nostalgia by the waves of modernity and rationality which could only be expressed through French. Curiously enough, the Acadmie Franaise was closed for a time. It was felt that before the revolution it had promoted the power of the ruling elite by mobilising writers and scholars in support of the regime and by imparting to the language of the elite an aroma of sanctity (Cooper, 1989: 34). Soon enough, however, the new rulers saw that it could suit the new regime at least as well as the old one, so it was re-opened. At the same time, the Austro-Hungarian empire, run by emperors who were shocked at the fate of their French counterparts and who were not especially sympathetic to the ideals of universal suffrage and the rule of the majority, was a model of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect of a large number of language communities. No attempt was made to impose a single language on all, or to indoctrinate part of the population. On the contrary, a multilingual policy was put into force. A good example of this was the fact that senior army officers in the Austro-Hungarian army had to have a good command of up to five languages, and a monolingual officer was a contradiction in terms. In another multilingual democratic country, Belgium, which is a good example of a linguistically federalised country, it was said that there were considerable casualties among the Flemish troops during the First World War because nearly all of them were led by French-speaking (Walloon) officers (de Vroede, 1975: 49). Many of the Flemish speakers had such a very poor command of French, they

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

149

misunderstood orders and lost their lives as a result. Whether or not this is true may be open to doubt. What is not in question are the steps taken later: in 1928 an army bill was passed which meant that recruits would thereafter be trained exclusively in their own language, thus leading to the creation of linguistically separate army units (de Vroede, 1975: 53). The contrast between the French and Belgian reactions to multilingualism is significant in terms of political philosophy. In the first case, it is the citizen that is expected to adapt and conform to the (linguistic) model defined by the authorities, and is encouraged and aided to do so, principally through the education system, so that all citizens will as a result be equal. In the latter case, it is the system itself that has to adapt to the citizens and to their linguistic features, that has to be adjusted and altered so as to be able to treat each citizen equally, that is, on his or her own terms and in his or her own language. Both therefore 3 have a laudable democratic aim, but seek to attain it in radically different, even completely opposing, ways. Another of the definitions of democracy is especially relevant in that it links democracy and minorities. In this use, democracy is defined as a form of society 4 ignoring hereditary class distinctions and tolerating minority views. This tolerance, of course, can be focused in many ways. The Flemings were undoubtedly, in terms of demography and political clout, a minority in Belgium in the early years of this century, and their views were tolerated by channelling them into the political structure of the country until a complex federal system was developed. Yet what was tolerated in France was deliberately limited just to (numerically) minority political views (so long as they stayed within bounds), whereas linguistic (or cultural) minorities as such were regarded as deviant, their wishes not being taken into account, and to this day the Corsicans cannot legally describe themselves as a people, as the French constitutional court ruled a few years ago, since there is only one people in France. In this they have sociologists as possibly unwitting allies: there cannot, by definition, be two societies in one country. Whereas this Jacobin view is based on the philosophy that people have to adapt to the state (in order to enjoy the benefits of rational thought and civilisation), the Germanic view, best expressed by Herder, is the opposite: it is the language of the people that forms the nation (and therefore the state) (Nelde et al., 1996). This can and has had two consequences: that the state has to use the language of the people; but also that it is legitimate to fix the boundaries of the state on the grounds of language. The unification of Prussia, Bavaria and the rest of the German states was a logical political consequence of such a philosophy; but so too were the annexations of Austria, Bohemia and Alsace, for instance.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, democracy and human and minority rights I would not like to move on to the next issue without dealing, albeit in passing, with another point of interest: the relationship between language and democracy from the point of view of human and minority rights.
Articles 1 and 2 of the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights] establish two underlying concepts that are of great importance when considering issues related to human and minority rights. These are the concepts of

150

Current Issues in Language and Society

equality and non-discrimination. They presuppose that all human beings have equal rights regardless of differences; regardless of such considerations as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. (Siemienski, 1998a) I have obviously no objection to these claims, quite the contrary. But let us just take a look at the list of considerations. Nearly all of them are birth-given and singular in nature. Race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national or social 5 origin or birth are either things that simply cannot be changed; or are single in nature: one cannot be at the same time of two social origins, birthplaces or religions. However, the reference to language in this list, which I think is perfectly justified, has been rather grotesquely distorted to suit certain ends in recent years. The context is the issue of job vacancies in Catalonia in which Catalan language proficiency is a job requirement, or at least a stated preference by the employer. Some Spaniards (mostly outside Catalonia, to be fair) have claimed that to make such a requirement is an act of discrimination against Spanish-speakers, and even that it goes against the freedom of movement that the Spanish Constitution guarantees all citizens. This claim is absurd; I am sure that the Constitutions of Switzerland and Belgium proclaim the same freedom of movement, yet no-one complains if a job in Zurich requires German (or in Geneva, French). It would, to be sure, be discriminatory to limit access to certain jobs on the basis of a persons home or family language which is what the Universal Declaration renders illegal. It would also be discriminatory to exclude someone because they have a 6 non-native or regional accent. But it is to misunderstand and misquote the Universal Declaration to argue that Catalan employers do not have the right to ask that their employees have competence in Catalan. It seems to me (and to the international courts, incidentally) perfectly reasonable to expect an appropriate command of one or more official languages by people applying for many jobs in Catalonia, especially if these jobs entail contact with people who speak one or other language. I say appropriate command, and I very much doubt I shall ever come across a case in which only graduates in Catalan philology can apply to become workers in ticket offices! What is at stake is whether it is legitimate to try and defend a discourse which says that Catalans must learn Spanish (of course!) while Spaniards living in Catalonia are under no obligation to learn Catalan. From the viewpoint of a social psychologist, I regard it as highly significant that some people completely fail to accept what most Catalans regard as perfectly reasonable. It clashes head on with the deeply-rooted premises of those we might term Spanish traditionalists or Jacobins, regarding the very definition of Spain. The essentially monolingual, colonial-style attitude is often heard expressed in the incredulous remark by people who simply cannot accept that Catalans can use their language freely in public: Pero estamos en Espaa! (But we are in Spain!). Many Catalans object strongly to the exclusive, impositional and monolithic view of Spain that this short sentence reveals, and it is sometimes used maliciously, to be sure. But usually, I venture to believe, it is quite innocent: it simply reveals a different way of looking at the world, which is clearly incompatible with an acceptance of what that part of the Iberian peninsula which is still called Spain is really like: a place where four languages, not one, have been spoken for many,

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

151

many centuries. Fully 41% of the Spanish population live in areas where there are two official languages (Siguan, 1994). As an afterthought, it is comforting (though we have plenty of other problems) to see that the proportion of the population in Catalonia that claims not to be able to speak Catalan has been declining non-stop since 1975, when prolonged, large-scale in-migration abruptly ceased, and General Francos death opened the way towards democratic language policies. Between 1991 and 1996 it fell from 32% to 25%, an average annual decrease of over 80,000 people! Monolingualism is indeed a curable disease (as the Brussels-based linguist Peter Nelde says on occasion).

Language, identity and political representation Without wishing to distract the reader from the general thread of my argument, I do feel it worthwhile devoting a few moments to the issue of who is a Catalan and who isnt in a situation where close to half the population of Catalonia is a first- or second-generation (mostly Spanish-speaking) in-migrant from another part of Spain. There being no large religious difference, or colour or racial difference unlike, for instance, the Basques whose nationalism stresses the ethnic (Conversi, 1997) the language has, in social terms, an enormous defining weight in Catalonia, at least for those who are not of recent immigrant origin (I dare not talk about real Catalans, as I am trying to describe the social definition of what a Catalan is anyway!). Often I hear it said that We Catalans are the only bilingual people [in Catalonia]: the Castilians are all monolingual. But in fact many of those who are happily regarded as Catalans, as belonging to the in-group, are in fact native Spanish-speakers who have become fluent bilinguals, whereupon their friends and colleagues will (re)define them as Catalans. May I add that at the political level, ever since the pre-democratic Assemblea de Catalunya in the seventies, and the early writings of the future president, Jordi Pujol, an extremely open definition of Catalan has been adopted in all political debates, largely in order to avert the threat of a social and even political division along ethnolinguistic (and probably urban class) lines. We shall return to this important issue later. This brings us to the interesting point of political representation in Spain. Unlike the former republics of the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, where all citizens define(d) their nationality on the census form, the political tradition in Spain is close to the French one. This is not surprising, given Frances high political and social standing in western Europe (on the continent at least) and the fact that the Spanish monarchs have been Bourbons for nearly three centuries. No official reference is made to anyones nationality: it is the place of residence that defines ones political rights: primarily, where one has to vote. The Spanish system is based on the principle of proportional representation, so instead of over 600 constituencies which are represented on a first-past-the-post basis, as in Britain, Spain has only as many constituencies as there are provinces: just over 50. Let us look at the general elections (the elections to the Spanish parliament). Each province returns at least three MPs, and the larger ones return a number which is related, rationally enough, to the size of the electorate. This gives the large provinces (Madrid and Barcelona) over 30 MPs each; but since the small constituencies have a smaller number of electors per MP, the 16% of the electorate

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

152

Current Issues in Language and Society

who live and can vote in Catalonia choose only about 13% of the total number of Spanish MPs, which is 350. A similar procedure is followed to elect the 135 members of the Catalan Parliament. This paper is not the place to get involved into considerations of the pros and cons of different systems of parliamentary representation. Let us return to the language issue. It should now be clear that the Catalans as an ethnolinguistic 7 group have no specific quota in the Spanish parliament. It is the electorate of the territory, as a whole, who are called to decide on its representatives. So let us ask ourselves: what happens when they are? The answer is both complex and fascinating. The three-tier system (Spanish, Catalan and local elections), whereby each election is called independently of the other two, leads to fascinating differences in results. I shall outline them, and then try and associate the results with language, as befits this section. In Spain there are basically (I am forced to simplify, for obvious reasons which I hope will be appreciated) three national parties: the Partido Socialista Obrero Espaol, or PSOE, the socialist party which held power from 1982 to 1996; the right-wing Partido Popular, or Peoples Party, which did not win an election until 1996; and the former Communists, Izquierda Unida, or United Left, which usually takes under 10% of votes and has recently splintered. In very broad terms, and as might be expected, the socialists get good results in the industrial cities and in the south, where a semi-feudal society still survives, and where they put into place widespread benefits for seasonal farm labourers. The right wins in traditional Spain, in the north-west (Galicia), and in the capital, Madrid. This picture is quite different in Catalonia, where there are more actors. The main one is a stable coalition in which the leading partner is a liberal nationalist party, Convergncia Democrtica de Catalunya, and the other is the historic Christian democratic party founded in 1931, Uni Democrtica de Catalunya. The second is a leftist party, also founded in 1931, which seeks independence from Spain, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya. Finally there is a second coalition, formed basically by the ex-Communists (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya, PSUC, founded yes! in 1931), with some radical nationalists and several Green parties: Iniciativa per Catalunya. Its formal link with the Spanish Izquierda Unida was broken by the latter several months ago. Who, you may well ask, represents the Catalans? As might be expected, Convergncia Democrtica de Catalunya, Uni Democrtica de Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya pick up proportionally many more votes from Catalans than from others living in Catalonia, who tend to vote more on national lines, on the Partido Socialista Obrero EspaolPartido Popular axis. But it would be completely untrue to say that Catalans do not vote for either of these two parties. Their very leaders are Catalan, and indeed the Catalan socialist party linked to PSOE, the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya PSC-PSOE, has a firm catalanista tradition. All in all, the socialists have hitherto always won the general elections in Catalonia, while second place goes to Convergncia i Uni. The thorn in the flesh of Spanish right-wingers is Catalonia, where they win a fraction of the votes they obtain everywhere else (except in the Basque country, where nationalist parties are also very strong). The political antics of Partido Popular in recent years, as regards the language issue, have not been totally transparent. They are widely

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

153

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

regarded to have been behind the smear campaign led by a section of the privately-owned media, such as ABC (to whom I shall have to return later) and Diario 16 both dailies the COPE radio group, and the TV channel Antena 3, among others. After the Partido Popular unexpectedly failed to win the general election in 1993, and Convergncia i Uni agreed to support the Socialist winners in the hung parliament to provide the political stability needed for the Spanish economy to fulfil the Maastricht criteria, a verbal onslaught from the Right tried to create the impression that the Catalans were close to committing ethnic cleansing, and that the failure of the Socialists to prevent such atropellos only went to show what a weak government they were. This awoke some Spaniards latent antipathies towards Catalans in general: the cause of the largest demonstration in the history of Salamanca was the announced agreement by the Spanish government that the part of the Catalan governments archives that had been confiscated by the army in 1939 and deposited in a building in Salamanca was to return to its rightful owner. The nation-wide campaign ended overnight when the Partido Popular won the following (and last) general election in 1996, and was left in the uncomfortable position of having to negotiate a parliamentary agreement with Convergncia i Uni! It is, however, in the regional elections that the ethnolinguistic identity of the electorate in Catalonia becomes extremely highly correlated with results. I have myself looked into the issue, in an unpublished paper, where I mathematically and graphically correlated various results. To give an example, I took the province, or circumscription, of Barcelona. I did so for two reasons: firstly because it is by far the largest of the four in Catalonia; and secondly, because the people topping the list of candidates each party put forward were also that partys candidate to become President of Catalonia. Figure 1 shows clearly how the percentage vote given to the moderate

Figure 1 Moderate nationalist votes cast in Catalan regional elections, November 1995, per district (comarca) in Barcelona circumscription, by percentage of population born outside Catalonia

154

Current Issues in Language and Society

nationalists, Convergncia i Uni, is very highly correlated with the percentage of autochthonous population living in each district. A similar, but negative, relationship is seen to exist if the percentage of immigrants is compared with the turnout: the higher the percentage of immigrants, the lower the turnout. This of course is extremely important in political terms, and is the reason why it has been possible for Convergncia i Uni to win a larger share of actual votes in regional elections than in general elections (and perhaps larger than might be expected given the sociological breakdown of the country as well). It may seem surprising that there are no ethnic parties as such, and that both Catalans and Castilians vote for all parties, albeit in greatly differing proportions. The reason is two-fold. Firstly, all politicians in Catalonia are acutely mindful of the tragic effect that the arrival in Catalan politics of a Spanish radical politician had at the beginning of the century. Alejandro Lerrouxs party had a very divisive demagogic strategy and did much to confront the earliest Spanish-speaking workers in Catalonia with Catalans. And secondly, after nearly 40 years of dictatorship, the democratic movement in its entirety, of whatever political hue, was basically catalanista, and therefore united in support of promoting the Catalan language. We shall return to this later. This does not mean to say that all parties have the same position as regards language policies, as we shall see: and in fact the differences become evident when it comes to electioneering; the Catalan nationalist parties use more Catalan than the Spanish national (or nationalist) parties. However, though these differences are evident, they are minor: the chief Catalan candidates of all parties will probably make their main speeches in Catalan. This obviously brings the parties closer to the prospective Catalan voter, without alienating the Spanishspeaker, who almost certainly understands Catalan anyway. One final remark on the relationship between language and democracy. There are effects on language itself, on the internal structure of the language, which result from the association (or not) of a language with power, be it democratic or otherwise. The languages of the pays dOc which have not had a power base since Provence became part of the French state at the end of the 15th century have become even more fragmented than they were in the medieval period. There is no agreement even on a spelling system: Gascon-dialect speakers defend one system in the west, the Provenal-speakers in the east defend another. Mutual comprehensibility has declined over the centuries. Is this a result of democracy? On the one hand the language has stayed close to the people with all varieties equally accepted. On the other hand without political and institutional backing, fragmentation becomes a likely outcome and both the utility and influence of the language are weakened. The same happened within the Catalan dialect continuum in the 16th19th centuries, and to this day the language receives many local names, including Majorcan and, most significantly, Valencian. Conversely, once a standard, codified form is projected on to society, local variations will tend over time to diminish and may even eventually disappear. This has been the case with both French and Spanish.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

155

Language and autocracy I said earlier that language diversity can survive under autocracies. This of course was the case for thousands of years, when monarchs and tribal leaders imposed their authority with little of no reference to the will of their subjects. As a rule, pre-industrial societies were extremely weakly organised in terms of political and administrative structures, so the average person had little contact with central power except perhaps in wartime. Such schooling as was offered was more likely to be offered by the churches than by the state. Under such conditions, language groups could survive virtually indefinitely. The threat to such groups came in tandem with economic and political integration, and with the increasing power and influence of the state upon daily life. To provide an example, let us move closer to Catalonia. Let us recall that the country was divided in 1659 by the Treaty of the Pyrenees, by which the kingdoms of Spain ceded to France northern Catalonia, the plains and mountains north of the line linking the highest ridges along the Pyrenees. That territory, with its capital at Perpiny (Perpignan) was subjected fairly early on to an increasing onslaught of measures designed to introduce French and to steadily reduce the importance and status of Catalan, and the significant point is that this pressure increased after the 1789 Revolution. The language survived there as an increasingly rural language, and its speakers felt more and more ashamed of their patois. But only (yet significantly) after the two World Wars did Catalan families decide en masse to stop speaking it to their offspring. Today, only a small proportion of the population there can speak the language, and even then with a heavy French influence in their accent and vocabulary. To the south of the Franco-Spanish border, the language, though in a period of literary decline, continued to be the only language spoken and used by virtually all the population well into this century. It was not until the Catalans, who had supported the Habsburgs claim to the Spanish throne, were conquered by the joint Spanish and French forces under the Duke of Berwick, following the fall of Barcelona in September 1714 after a thirteen-month siege, that the new 8 regime began to seriously design and implement a subtle language policy designed to replace Catalan by Spanish (Ferrer i Girons, 1985). The victorious monarch, Philip V, abolished the Catalan Parliament (the Corts) and government (the Diputaci General or Generalitat), both of which were clearly democratic in inspiration (albeit far from acknowledging or furthering universal suffrage), abolished the University of Barcelona, razing its very buildings along the famous Barcelona Rambla, and imposed the semi-feudal and autocratic system that had been devised centuries earlier to run Castile. Yet in spite of the longer time span, and the lack of democracy in the country, the spread of Spanish in Catalonia was far slower than was the case with the spread of French in France; both the inefficiency of the political and administrative structures and the lack of a generally accepted legitimacy guaranteed Catalan a much greater degree of survival in Spanish Catalonia than north of the border. Language and autocracy in Spain The threat to Catalan greatly increased under the two dictatorships in this century: General Primo de Rivera (192330) and General Franco (1938/975).

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

156

Current Issues in Language and Society

This was particularly true of the latter where repression was longer-lasting and more virulent. Following the failure of the army coup in July 1936, Spain endured almost three years of civil war. Those who rose against the Spanish Republic (who called themselves, significantly enough, the nacionalistas) aimed to overthrow the Catalan institutions of self-government (the Generalitat de Catalunya) which had been restored after two centuries in 1931 by the Second Republic. There were, to be accurate, Catalans on both sides of the conflict, although, of course, far fewer with the Francoists. Many Spaniards feared that Catalonia was moving towards independence, as the Irish had only 15 years earlier. One Spanish right-wing 9 intellectual claimed he would rather a communist Spain than a free Catalonia: Espaa, antes roja que rota. More recently, following Francos death in 1975, the nostalgic moan of the 10 supporters of his regime, Con Franco vivamos mejor, was countered by 11 democrats who said Contra Franco vivamos mejor. Behind the pun lies a firm belief that, among other things, Catalan gained an inner strength by being illegitimately suppressed. The suppression of democracy and Catalan culture and language gave them strong links in the public mind. It is not surprising, therefore, that the prevalent view among Catalan nationalists is that over the centuries there has been, in Catalonia, a close even apparently causal relationship between autocracy and Spanish, on the one hand, and between democracy and Catalan, on the other. This opinion deserves great attention because it is central to the whole issue. It would of course be too simplistic to claim that all pro-democratic movements have favoured Catalan or that all pro-autocratic or dictatorial movements have favoured the spread of Spanish at the expense of Catalan. However, in this century the movement par excellence Francos glorioso Movimiento nacional was most definitely a Spanish nationalist movement, aiming to obliterate Catalan along with what they referred to as the other dialects spoken in Spain, and to replace them with la lengua del Imperio. Some Falangistas intended to distribute Catalan books from lorries during the victorious military parade of the Caudillos army of Spanish, Italian and Moorish troops, to underline the will of the new regime to respect the culture of Catalonia; but the authorities never allowed those books to be handed out, and indeed thousands of books were publicly burnt over the following months, especially in Barcelona. Increasingly, the democratic opposition used the Francoist repression of use of the language in the press, on the radio, in schools, in shop signs, in local councils etc. to mobilise public and world opinion. Many historians and others have written profusely on this clear association between the will for a democratic regime and the will for the status of the Catalan language to be restored (e.g. Benet, 1973; Ferrer i Girons, 1985; Sol i Sabat & Villarroya, 1993; Guardiola, 1980). The Congrs de Cultura Catalana (197577), an extraordinary, unrepeatable multidisciplinary look at the state of Catalan society, including enthusiastic work in Valencia, the Balearic Islands and in the other Catalan-speaking areas outside Catalonia proper, again related closely the plight of the language to the political oppression it had suffered, the effects of which were noticeable in all fields. A few years later, the same organisers were responsible for the II Congrs

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

157

Internacional de la Llengua Catalana (1986), which took a basically sociolinguistic look at the health of the language and made wide-ranging recommendations to the authorities, many of which have still not been implemented over ten years later. The call for a joint body co-ordinating language promotion in at least the three main areas where the language is official (Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands), along the lines of the Taalunie between Belgium (for Flanders) and Holland or the co-operation between the Scandinavian countries channelled through the Nordic Council, has gone unheeded for reasons which I shall discuss below.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language policies and liberalism All this does not exclude the possibility of someone claiming that there are exceptions to such a clear-cut relationship between language and democracy, that the cops may not in all cases be cops (or else they may be crooked cops) and the robbers may not all be robbers. And indeed in the past few years it has been interesting from an academic point of view if not from any other to observe the emergence of a current of opinion inside Catalonia itself, and with powerful loudhailers helping to broadcast their views in the rest of Spain, which claims that the Generalitats language policies are not democratic. Sometimes the fight was against policies that were imagined rather than real; sometimes dissent was to forestall or pre-empt policy decisions that were not necessarily going to happen anyway. It would be a gross oversimplification to say that the promoters of such lobbies have been right-wing ex-franquistas. It seems also to be the case that some of these critics have moved over the years away from leftist positions. One particularly well-qualified opponent of the language policies designed by the Catalan government and Parliament is Francesc de Carreras who argues from the standpoint of a liberal. The subject in question is a language bill that was soon to be enacted:
Sin embargo, el ncleo de aquello que se pone en discusin no es tanto la ley en s misma, sino toda la poltica lingstica que la ley ha llevado a su culminacin. El error de fondo de esta poltica, y tambin, por supuesto, de la ley, radica en que se inspira en una concepcin nacionalista de Catalua que, a mi modo de ver, no resulta conciliable con los principios de libertad y pluralismo en los cuales est basada nuestra democracia constitucional. Porque, ciertamente, desde esta concepcin, la lengua es considerada como el nervio de la nacin, aquello que convierte a los ciudadanos en catalanes. Como deca un manifiesto nacionalista hecho pblico hace unos meses, la lengua es una manera de ver el mundo, un lugar donde se configuran mitos y deseos, una casa que ayuda a convertir en pueblo a aquellos que la habitan. Desde una posicin liberal y democrtica, una lengua es, sin duda, un rasgo cultural que caracteriza a una sociedad, pero nunca un rasgo cultural que pueda limitar nuestra libertad individual; es decir, nunca una manera de ver el mundo. La lengua no es la esencia de nuestra personalidad o el ncleo duro de nuestra identidad como personas: desde la Ilustracin, por lo menos, nuestra identidad y nuestra personalidad slo tienen un fundamento que no es otro que la libertad.

158

Current Issues in Language and Society

Por tanto, el error de fondo que constituye confundir los derechos de las personas con los derechos de las naciones -partiendo de un concepto preexistente de nacin, desligado de los derechos de cada uno de sus componentes -se proyecta en el articulado de la ley a dos niveles: por un lado, confundiendo lengua propia con lengua nica o preferente; por otro, confundiendo la legtima proteccin de la lengua catalana, necesaria por ser lengua minoritaria, con la imposicin del uso del cataln a todas las instituciones pblicas e incluso a las relaciones entre particulares. (de 12 Carreras, 1998) Much could be said to counter these arguments, and much has. For instance, the history of the Enlightenment in France is precisely the history of the negation of peoples right to speak their own language unless it was French. For instance, Spanish is not official in Catalonia because Spanish-speakers live there. Several authors have pointed out the large number of similar rules and regulations the central government applies vis--vis Spanish, starting with the obligation of all citizens to know Spanish, without any of these self-proclaimed liberals batting an eyelid, at least in public. Others have argued that a person cannot be truly free, as a member of a minority, unless the political structure takes special and deliberate account of this fact (Kymlicka, 1995; Branchadell, 1997). But in the last analysis I (at least) cannot help feeling that each writer is firmly rooted in his or her own cultural and ideological perspective, and that a true dialogue between the opposing points of view is, by definition, well-nigh impossible.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Democracy and language: The rule of the majority Where minority language speakers are actually in a majority, democracy can help redress the power balance. Otherwise democracy can be used to confirm minority status, unless of course international standards on human and minority 13 rights are scrupulously respected. Some democratic countries re-define regional boundaries so that the local majority becomes a minority in two new territorial units (e.g. Slovakia). In the 1960s Franco seriously toyed with the idea of lopping the whole of the province of Lleida off Catalonia and adding it to an Ebro region along with the three basically Spanish-speaking provinces of Aragon. It is significant, I am sure, that there is no generally accepted word for languages, or rather language groups, that find themselves in a subordinate position in a given state. They have variously been referred to as minority languages, lesser-used languages, stateless languages, lesser-taught languages, unofficial languages, regional languages, dialects, minoritised languages, langues moins rpandues etc. The problem is that the simplest word, minority, has a mathematical connotation that is sometimes inappropriate: if Danish and Norwegian are not minority languages, why is Catalan, which is spoken by more people? The answer, of course, has nothing to do with linguistic matters, but is a matter of power: some languages have been adopted by the state and therefore have its backing and enjoy the benefits thereof; while other languages in the same state are either neglected (only sometimes benignly) or in other ways given a subordinate role. In Spain for instance, the general law on the

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia


14

159

judiciary states that Spanish is the language of all court proceedings, and then allows a small space for Basque, Galician and Catalan, though only under certain circumstances. In a situation of perfect democracy, multilingual countries (that is, countries whose borders enclose specific areas where different languages have been spoken for centuries) could accommodate such issues, allowing the majority in each area to decide upon its linguistic regime. This does indeed happen in Switzerlands cantons. It also happens in (coastal) Finland, where (in a remarkably flexible and pragmatic way) municipalities in which the proportion of Swedish-speakers in each census surpasses a certain benchmark become officially bilingual (or cease to be bilingual, when the percentage declines). The question here though is that minority language groups are often not in a majority even in their heartland. Catalonia itself has been subject to periodic surges of immigration from the rest of Spain. Immigrants used to become fully and actively bilingual within a couple of generations; but this has happened only partly in the last thirty years, chiefly on account of the massive scale of recent immigration, which means that under half of the present population are Catalans in the traditional sense. Thus the day may come when a new majority will take over the reins of language policy, and will reject the long-standing entente cordiale (which I am stating far too crudely!) that Catalans will continue to learn Spanish provided incoming Spaniards learn Catalan and use it in their interactions with Catalans, or at the very least ensure that their children do so. This would undoubtedly be democratic in the sense that the local majority would make the decision; but it could also signal the death-knell for the local language by removing it from a favoured institutional position and thus reducing its association with power, however limited. It might also lead to social division, with Catalan-speakers reacting strongly against the public use of Spanish, even if the minimum international standards were still respected. Though I do not want to take the simile too far, this issue does remind me of the plight of the American Indians, whose reservations are essential if they are to be truly able to maintain their way of life, including the use of their language(s). Kymlicka (1995) has interesting and to my mind convincing points to make on this.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language and Devolution


So much for the relationship between language and democracy. Let us move on to an equally interesting interface, that between language and devolution. Let no-one question the profound relationship between the two, often closely associated with identity and self-affirmation. Noah Webster, the American linguist, writing in 1789, assumes the relationship in the following: Let us then seize the present moment and establish a national language, as well as a national government as an independent people, our reputation abroad demands that, in all things we should be federal; be national; for if we do not respect ourselves we may be assured that other nations will not respect us. (Webster quoted in Weinstein, 1982: 9495; viz. Cooper, 1989: 147)

160

Current Issues in Language and Society

As has already been mentioned, it is often said in Catalonia that the Catalan language has only flourished, in the past hundred or more years, in times of democracy. The two dictatorships (Primo de Rivera and Franco, both army generals) were certainly enthusiastic and thorough about banning Catalan, especially the second and much longer regime. Yet the Boletn Oficial del Estado of both periods has curiously few examples of repression, because this largely took place without the need for legal measures. Once the Catalans knew what could happen to them if they kept their shop signs up in Catalan, or were caught teaching pupils in Catalan, or tried to publish a newspaper in Catalan, there was scarcely any need to actually legislate! Nevertheless, historians and political scientists have written profusely about the subject, and conclude that the degree of repression, including propaganda designed with the expert advice of leading figures in the Hitler regime, was very severe indeed, especially in the early years (Benet, 1973; Ferrer i Girons, 1985; Sol i Sabat & Villarroya, 1993). Yet, if we read through recent legislation governing languages passed by the Spanish Parliament, and through the Boletn Oficial del Estado, the claim that democracy is by its very essence good for Catalan is certainly not substantiated. On the contrary, there has been an unflagging interest in ensuring that Castilian Spanish remains supreme. What varies is the degree to which this supremacy is imposed. The 1978 Constitution is most certainly an historic step forward as regards the recognition of the other languages of Spain, and specifically Catalan, Basque and Galician; yet even then only one language is official throughout Spain, and these other languages have to share their official character inside the historical territories where they have been spoken for centuries. The Swiss or the Belgian models, where the historical language in each territory is the only official one (at least as far as German, French and Italian are concerned), are most certainly not applied. My position may seem unduly harsh, but it is backed up by the existence of a large body of current legislation and statutory regulations 15 which still make the use of Castilian Spanish compulsory. When the Generalitat complained that some seemed to forget that the Constitution obliges all the authorities to take measures to ensure that the linguistic heritage is protected, ministries rephrased later measures. Instead of making the use of at least Spanish obligatory, they now say at least the official language of the state, which is simply a euphemism which hides exactly the same state of affairs. What then has given rise to the very widespread belief in Catalonia, that the Catalan language can only flourish in times of democracy? The answer is in the very different conception that Catalans have of democracy, as opposed to the Jacobin centralist and uniformist view. For Catalans, democracy and devolution have meant the same for the whole of this century at least. Let us look into this in a little more detail. Llibertat, amnistia, Estatut dAutonomia was the slogan that encapsulated the demands of the Assemblea de Catalunya towards the end of the Franco regime. If Llibertat and amnistia represented democracy and an end to political reprisals and repression, Estatut dAutonomia was a call for devolution. Unfortunately, for many in Spain Llibertat and Estatut dAutonomia for Catalonia were, and to some extent still are, tantamount to a serious threat to the integrity of the state. To put it another way, many Spaniards are unconvinced

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

161

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

that Catalans see Spain as an attractive proposition or project, and given the chance, would opt for independence. This immediately raises two issues. One, the inferiority complex that some Spaniards seem to feel, with respect not merely to the French, the British or the Italians, but even to the Catalans. The stereotypical Castilian, the hidalgo, may be extremely proud to the point of violence if need be to defend his personal identity: he is easily insulted and quick to take offence. But his relationship with Spain is much more complex and is a bitter-sweet, or a lovehate one. I insist that I am conjuring up the image of the traditional Castilian, but if there is any truth behind the stereotype this would explain the ferocity of some Castilian reactions to Catalan demands. The second issue is whether or not Catalans really do want to become independent. Field research, and especially surveys, are highly contradictory, particularly when compared with the election results of those parties (the largest of which is Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya) which actively pursue full sovereignty for Catalonia. A good example of this is a study by Antoni Estrad and Montserrat Treserra (1990). When a sample of 2100 people were asked if they considered independence to be desirable, fully 39.4% replied affirmatively. As might be expected, the figure was brought down by the fact that a considerable proportion of the sample were not born and bred in Catalonia; and when the authors looked at the replies given by those interviewees whose parents were both born in Catalonia, the answers were as shown in Table 1.
Table 1
Yes, independence would be desirable No, independence would not be desirable Other replies, indifference No reply
Source: Estrad & Treserra, 1990, Table 50, p. 104

55.4% 31.3% 3.0% 10.3%

Equally revealing, however, were the answers to another question, in which interviewees were asked whether they thought that independence was possible. Only 37.4% replied that they thought it would be. Significantly enough, the figure is only slightly higher among the interviewees whose parents were both born in Catalonia (see Table 2). There is obviously a fairly high degree of scepticism among those of Catalan ancestry. The average Catalan is very familiar with the definition of politics as the art of the possible and votes accordingly, on a highly pragmatic basis, largely
Table 2
Yes, independence is possible No, independence is impossible Other replies, indifference No reply
Source: Estrad & Treserra, 1990, Table 49, p. 102

41.3% 47.0% 3.8% 7.9%

162

Current Issues in Language and Society

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

abandoning the independence parties. Not only pragmatism but also a healthy respect for history, which the system has been careful to inculcate over the centuries: Catalonia did not win her independence in 1640, unlike Portugal. Catalonia did not retain her confederal status in 1714, having lost to the Bourbon armies. And much more vividly, Catalonia lost to Franco and was punished for having striven to recover her national identity. These somewhat simplified 16 statements have helped to prevent Catalans from dreaming; ideological feeling, for instance, is much less intense than in, say, the Basque country. 17 So the average Catalan person-in-the-street is not prone to seriously contemplate independence, because of memories of the savage repression wrought the last time such an aim was regarded as being a real and viable option. However, the questionnaire included yet another item on independence, in such a way as to allay peoples almost genetic fear of violent reactions from the 18 Meseta. The question asked was as follows: If a referendum was called now to begin a gradual process towards independence for Catalonia, how would you 19 vote? The results (Table 3) are quite striking, in my view. Once the fears are removed, and even bearing in mind the quite understandable fact that two out of nine interviewees whose parents are (or were) both Catalan, and two out of seven of the other interviewees either say they would not vote or refuse to give an opinion, those who say they would vote for independence greatly outnumber those who say they would vote against it. Let me add, finally, that the survey was carried out by ICOP, SA, a firm with a well-established reputation in the field of market and opinion research.
Table 3
Both parents Catalan Id vote Yes Id vote No Id cast a blank vote I wouldnt vote I dont know/No reply Total 60.5% 14.9% 2.5% 6.5% 15.6% 100% All others 33.0% 34.6% 3.6% 11.8% 17.0% 100% Total 44.5% 26.4% 3.1% 9.6% 16.4% 100%

Source: Estrad & Treserra, 1990, Table 51, p. 107

Language and devolution in Catalonia Returning to the main issue of the relationship between language and devolution, Catalan could have been defined in the Spanish Constitution (1978) as a national language with official status in specified parts of Spain. Instead this status was established by the Statute of Autonomy (1979) which was drafted by the Catalan MPs, put to the people in a referendum and given the level of an organic law, which forms part of the constitutional legislative package. Article 3.1 of the Statute states that the historic language of the people who have inhabited Catalonia, and have been hegemonic there for over eight

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

163

centuries, is Catalan. A close approximation in English to the expression llengua prpia de Catalunya would be Catalonias own language. The second paragraph says that Catalan is the official language of Catalonia (). The sentence does not, however, end here, for it continues: () as is Spanish, official throughout the Spanish State. This means, in effect, that Catalan is not the official language in Catalonia, but one of two. The grammatical mistake was politically intended: it underlines the different origin of the official character of the two languages in Catalonia. Note, as I have already pointed out, that Spanish (it is called Castilian in the Statute and the Constitution, incidentally) is not official in Catalonia because there are Spanish-speakers living there. Leading legal specialists such as Josep Maria Puig-Salellas were quick to point out that the official status of Catalan, alongside Spanish (which is, as I have already said, official throughout Spain) is both autonomous (that is, a Catalan text is valid whether or not it is accompanied by a Spanish version, and vice versa), and indivisible: (a) It is indivisible, so that the official nature of one of the two languages cannot be limited, for example, by reducing it to one particular material or geographic domain of the life of the community, while excluding it from another, even if this domain is the exclusive responsibility of the State or the Autonomous Community. () (b) It is autonomous, in the sense that each official language is official on its own, so that if a directive only allowed the autochthonous language if used side by side with Castilian or even imposed this double use of both 20 languages, this would be unacceptable. (Puig i Salellas, 1983: 6263) Paragraph 3 of Article 3 takes account of the fact that after a period of repression of one language in favour of another, simply declaring both languages to be official will not in itself guarantee that people will be able to overcome their former (imposed) habit of using the language that was allowed, and start to use the other. Affirmative action is therefore necessary. Lacordaire described the reason for this very neatly: Entre le fort et le faible cest la libert qui opprime et la loi qui affranchit (Sol, 1995: 91). It also illustrates the legitimacy of working, within a liberal tradition, to overcome the obstacles that limit, in practice, the free 21 exercise of language rights inside Catalonia. The paragraph states that: The Generalitat of Catalonia will guarantee the normal and official use of both languages, adopt whatever measures are deemed necessary to ensure both languages are known, and create suitable conditions so that full equality between the two can be achieved as far as the rights and duties of the citizens of Catalonia are concerned. This is a clear statement of the social contract: both Catalan- and Spanish-speakers are expected to make a balanced and shared effort to integrate in both directions, and the authorities have to work actively in pursuit of this objective. Leaving to one side, for a moment, the issue of the legal status of the language, one of the main novelties of the 1978 Constitution was the transfer of power to the regions. The Constitution devotes considerable attention to the responsibilities that central government may or may not transfer to the autonomous

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

164

Current Issues in Language and Society

governments. Articles 143 to 158 deal with these issues. Article 148, for instance, states that autonomous communities (the official name for regions and stateless nations) can take over responsibility for urban and territorial planning; public works; railways and roads which start and end inside the territory; non-commercial ports and airports; agriculture and livestock; forestry; protection of the environment; hydraulic planning, including spas; hunting, and coastal and inland fishing; internal trade fairs; economic development of the autonomous community, in the framework of general economic policy; handicrafts; museums, libraries and music conservatories; monuments and historic heritage; culture, research and the teaching of the language (where applicable); tourism; sport; social assistance; health and hygiene. Paragraph 3 of article 150 grants the state the right to legislate by defining the principles that have to be applied, so as to harmonise legislation and regulations enacted in different regions. This issue has on several occasions given rise to considerable crises and polemic, because the central Parliament can decide unilaterally on those areas which it is in the states general interest to harmonise. Finally, the regional governments are entitled to raise their own taxes, above and beyond the general taxation system run (except in Navarre and the Basque community) by central government. The Catalan Statute lists the areas for which the Catalan regional authorities are to be responsible. These include the public health, prison and education services, the arts, public works and the environment, economic and industrial development, tourism, labour relations, internal commerce, etc. All these powers had been administered since 1939 through provincial offices of the Spanish government ministries in Barcelona, Tarragona, Girona and Lleida (broadly equivalent, all in all, to the Welsh or Scottish Offices in the UK) and were handed over, with budgetary provisions, over a period of years (though a few services have yet to be transferred) to the new or rather, restored Catalan administration. This basically meant that the civil servants changed boss, but 22 neither desk nor basic tasks, at least initially. What did change very quickly was the language used at work in these delegations. Whereas very few forms were even bilingual in 1979, the use of written Catalan grew very rapidly. Although the quality of such use was often not up to standard, this is hardly surprising given that many of the civil servants were not even Catalans themselves, and virtually none of the Catalans had had any form of education in or through Catalan. Thus a massive in-service language training scheme was put into effect, involving the Escola dAdministraci Pblica de Catalunya, the Catalan civil service college. Increasingly, new appointees would be expected to have a satisfactory level of oral and written Catalan, and a language qualification would also be a requirement for promotion. No-one, however, lost their job on linguistic grounds. Not a single person. In 1980 the first elections to the Catalan Parliament gave a clear mandate to Convergncia i Uni, under Jordi Pujol. He has been the President ever since. The socialists were shocked at their poor result, having expected to win, and they refused, in my view mistakenly, to join a broad coalition government. Within a short space of time the new government had appointed a director-general for

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

165

language policy, Sra Aina Moll, daughter of one of the most important linguists of this century (author of the ten-volume Alcover-Moll Catalan Dictionary) and a linguist in her own right. During her eight-year mandate there were three main policy objectives: (1) To put into practice the basic legal instruments, and to ensure that the Generalitat itself practised what it preached, in exemplary fashion, as far as the actual use of the language was concerned. (2) To ensure that all school children would become active and literate bilinguals, and that adults would have access to special language training on demand. (3) To encourage the whole population to play an active part in the recovery of the public use of the language, in a spirit of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. Two of the three main elements of this policy were and still are beyond the control of the directorate general (and in the latter case, of the government as a whole): the education system, and the public TV and radio services set up by the Catalan Parliament. The 1983 Language Bill was enacted thanks to the support of all the parliamentary groups (though the Partido Popular, at that time still called Alianza Popular, failed to get a seat). At the time, the Act was not regarded primarily as a Convergncia i Uni imposition, though over the years memories fade and more and more often one reads references to the language policy as if it had been designed by the government coalition, instead of being the outcome of a carefully worked out and negotiated parliamentary pact. The 1983 Language Act is far less ambitious than its Quebec equivalent, Bill 101 or the Charte de la Langue franaise (1977). Yet in one respect, Catalan language planners advanced further than their counterparts in Quebec. The former were anxious to take the public with them and undertook attitude-changing campaigns. Let me give two simple examples, both from the early 1980s: the Norma campaign and the Scales spot. The Norma campaign was a very successful and popular attempt to bring the language question out in the open. Short video films illustrated different ways in which people could contribute to the recovery of the language, revolving around the image of a 10-year-old girl called Norma. A couple of caravans drove round Catalonia, from one market place to the next, showing the films on monitors and distributing material (stickers, posters, etc.) while dozens of lectures were given in cities, towns and villages. The Scales spot was designed shortly after the 1983 bill became law. It consisted of a beautiful 30-second spot in which the metaphor of a set of scales was used to convey the intention of the law, which was to lead to a balanced and just linguistic situation. This time dozens of round-table discussions were organised, mainly in districts in the industrial hinterland of Barcelona, where nearly all in-migrants lived, and where it was felt that demagogic politicking could cause serious social unrest. Alongside the language-status planning work which I have been describing, a great deal of work was undertaken on the language itself, i.e. in the field of corpus planning. Three initiatives deserve special attention. Firstly, a multimedia language course designed for adult Spanish-speakers, under the auspices of the

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

166

Current Issues in Language and Society

Council of Europe. Digui, digui quickly became a best-seller, and has since been adapted for speakers of other languages, including English. Secondly, the subsidising of a growing number of language courses organised locally either by cultural organisations such as mnium Cultural or local councils. Over 40,000 people still attend such courses every year. Thirdly, a terminology research centre for Catalan, called Termcat, was founded. Among other achievements in its early years, it developed the necessary vocabulary, in Catalan, Spanish, English and French, for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In the years following 1988, under our second director-general, Miquel Reniu, the accent was placed on building structures. Firstly, the teachers and other specialists working locally, and numbering over 300, were contracted by a specially founded consortium (consisting of the Generalitat and most of the main local authorities in Catalonia), which has an annual budget of about 8 million. Secondly, a Social Council for the Catalan language was established in 1991, with a membership of over 40 representatives from most of the main sectors of Catalan society. And thirdly, a great deal of work went into trying to systematise work in favour of Catalan, and to establish objectifiable ways of deciding upon priorities on the basis of strategic analyses of the situation. Our third, and present, director-general, Llus Jou, has seen the 1983 Act replaced by a new Act (No. 1 of 1998) which renders immersion programmes the regular way of receiving non-Catalan-speaking children into infant schools, unless parents choose otherwise; makes some linguistic requirements of employers; increases the use of Catalan in public registers; introduces quota systems into private radio and TV stations broadcasting in Catalonia, etc. Looking back over these years, there seem to be two periods: one, in which the Catalan population identified very firmly with the aims of the government, and during which the increase in the public use of the language was evident in shop signs, oral use in meetings and consumption of radio and TV in Catalan. Awareness-raising campaigns were fairly frequent. However, after about ten years the wind seemed to cease filling the sails of the process. The easy work was over, the volunteers had been mobilised. Further gains seemed to become harder. The government has not undertaken any further advertising/propaganda campaigns on the language issue for years now. And the process began to be perceived as linked to the will of the government: some parties were seen as becoming less enthusiastic in their support. Many people feel that the present state of affairs is now normal as far as the use of Catalan is concerned. I shall leave this section as it stands, though at the end of my paper I shall refer to the socio-demographic situation, which is critical for the future of the Catalan language and for the Catalans as a people. Before ending, however, let me refer to a separate matter. One sometimes comes across references to the language situation in Catalonia, and particularly to the language policy in the region, in comparison with Belgium or Switzerland. Here is an example: La relativa facilidad con que los hablantes de una lengua pueden aprender la otra ha servido para que Catalua no sufra la segregacin fsica de las dos comunidades lingsticas como sucede en Blgica entre las comunidades francesa y flamenca; en Finlandia, entre las comunidades finlandesa

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

167

y sueca, y en Canad, entre las comunidades francesa e inglesa. (Jackson, 23 1998) These comparisons are quite inappropriate. If these two multilingual countries are quoted to serve as a model, it must be as a model for the state, not for part of the state. It is Spain, and not Catalonia, that should be compared to policies in Belgium, Switzerland or Canada. And indeed, time and again Catalan nationalists (and recently, Basque nationalists as well) have called for Spain to accept and implement its condition as a multilingual and multicultural country (e.g. Ninyoles, 1977). A recent example is given by the present Catalan minister for Culture, Joan-Maria Pujals: En estos veinte aos de democracia se han asumido positivamente la pluralidad poltica y las alternancias en el Gobierno, y tambin la redistribucin del poder antes centralizado y ahora vertebrado en el Estado de las Autonomas. Pero existen todava muchas reticencias para aceptar la 24 pluralidad lingstica [] (Pujals, 1998) Until this occurs, and Catalan is treated by central government and institutions at least as well, in Catalonia, as is Castilian Spanish in, say, Extremadura, the balance will be constantly loaded against Catalan. Yet time and again Spanish nationalists use Spanish nationalistic arguments to attack policies in Catalonia, seemingly blissfully unaware that they themselves are as fervently nationalist as they accuse the Catalans of being.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Bilingualism for whom? Even highly respectable and respected Spanish liberal intellectuals like Pedro Lan Entralgo, who is widely regarded as a friend of the Catalan cause, insist on the need for all Catalans to be bilingual (in Spanish, needless to say!), even if in the same breath they acknowledge that non-Catalans living in Catalonia should learn Catalan (Lan Entralgo, 1997). Reactions to language legislation in Catalonia, from the traditional, Jacobin, Spanish side, are interesting to analyse. There are several different such organisations, some of which have been founded quite recently (Voltas, 1996). One of the more militant Spanish nationalist groups, Accin Cultural Miguel de Cervantes, founded in the early eighties and with a clear right-wing image, took up the cause of a lawyer, Esteban Gmez-Rovira, whose personal legal war against the Generalitat has been unflagging (he managed to have the 1983 Language Act taken back to the Constitutional Court in 1994, eleven years after the central government had done the same). Realising that no more could be done to try and get Spanish courts to declare that this legislation, particularly its application in schools, is unconstitutional, Accin Cultural Miguel de Cervantes took the case to the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in Geneva in March 1997, on a human rights ticket, where it was classified under procedure 1503, a procedure designed by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1967 to deal with situations which reveal a consistent pattern of violations of human rights. It remains to be seen whether this case will be referred by the working group to the Sub-Commission, which meets once a year. I had occasion to comment to the UN information officer in

168

Current Issues in Language and Society

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Geneva that the language policy in Catalonia falls considerably short of the policy in any Swiss canton, so that if Catalonias policy was censured by the UN Sub-Commission, they could expect demonstrations in the streets by Swiss citizens! Those opposing the Catalan governments policy tend to define themselves as bilingistas. Significantly, many of them are in fact militantly monolingual. Their view of bilingismo is in fact a desire to be able to survive anywhere within the Spanish state without having to learn or use any language other than Spanish. Spanish nationalists argue that any legislation which makes knowledge of Catalan a job requirement goes against article 28 of the Spanish Constitution, which guarantees freedom of movement for all citizens throughout Spain. Such a claim was made by the central government when the Catalan Parliament passed its Civil Service Act in 1988; but the appeal was turned down by the Constitutional Court, which ruled that the Catalan Parliament and government are entitled to establish such requirements, provided (reasonably enough) they are not disproportionate with regard to the linguistic needs of the post. The other main legal offensive against the Catalan government was launched against its language policy for public schools. Not only the Spanish Constitutional court, but also several authors (e.g. Milian, 1994), and indeed international courts, have made it clear that there is no basic human right to education in ones own language. There is, however, a basic right to education, and this cannot function unless the child understands the language in which this education is given. In Milians words (I have chosen the Spanish edition of his successful book): El contenido propiamente lingstico que encubren tanto el derecho a la instruccin como el derecho a la educacin es pura y simplemente el derecho del nio a recibir la enseanza en una lengua que les sea comprensible. Este contenido no significa que los nios gocen del derecho 25 a recibir la enseanza en su lengua. (Milian, 1994: 443) The highly successful immersion programmes (Strubell, 1996) ensure this, and the fact that Catalan and Spanish are both Romance languages is, of course, a great help. Opposition to the Generalitats policies in the media is found in its most extreme form in the Madrid daily newspaper ABC, which is known for its Spanish nationalist position. This paper has an extremely long-standing tradition in this regard. One author, in studying the newspaper in the period 19161936 concludes that: no solament podia contemplar en tota la seva cruesa i virulncia quin havia estat histricament labc de lanticatalanisme, sin que tamb vaig poder entendre millor en qu ha consistit la histria de Catalunya i dEspanya durant el nostre segle i quins han estat llurs xits i fracassos en un procs 26 [] que sembla encara no resolt. (Medina, 1995: 7) The tone of the articles is inflammatory. Here is a selection of extracts from a fairly recent article by none other than the former editor of the paper, Lus Mara

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

169

Anson (who, by the way, claims British ancestry as the reason for omitting the accent from his surname): La llamada ley de Poltica Lingstica [] pretende hacer de Catalua una regin monolinge. Pretende extirpar el castellano de la Autonoma catalana. Introducir veladuras o matices a estas afirmaciones sera sumarse al pasteleo electoral, a la poltica desdentada de la componenda y la 27 claudicacin. (Anson, 1998) Jordi Pujol [] ha cado en la tentacin totalitaria del poder, al establecer un sistema lingstico que atenta contra los derechos humanos y perjudica gravemente al sector menos favorecido de la poblacin catalana. (Anson, 28 1998) One might suspect that some believe, at least secretly, that had Spain remained a strongly centralised country, as it was under Franco, none of this would have happened.

Language and devolution elsewhere The social scientists dream (and in fact, any empirical scientists) is to control all the independent variables but one in an experimental situation, and see how changes in the value of the independent variable affect the value of the dependent variable. Though this is not strictly the case for there are other variables involved it is extremely interesting to see how the same degree of devolution, granted to Catalans and Valencians for instance, has not led to the same increase or rather recovery in the use of the (same) language. I would like to include the Balearic Islands as well, but there are two large differences in the political context which discourage their inclusion: the Balearic Islands have never seriously contemplated setting up a television (and radio) service of their own, unlike Catalonia and Valencia, which have TV3 and Canal 9 respectively; the government of the Balearic Islands has only very recently taken over responsibility for the school system. It would be perfectly understandable for an outsider to imagine, given that the language is the same, that the Franco (and former) regimes have affected both of them equally, and that both regions have devolved political institutions, that Catalonia and Valencia would have adopted similar language policies, and that the language situation would now be quite similar. A comparative analysis of the Statues of Autonomy and of the basic language legislation (the Language Acts passed by both Parliaments in 1983) gives little inkling of the degree to which the two situations do really differ. The fact that in the region and its legal texts Catalan is called Valencian, should not particularly disturb us. The simplest explanation of the difference might be to point out that whereas Catalonia has been governed since the first post-Franco elections in 1980, without a break, by Catalan nationalists, the Generalitat Valenciana has been governed by socialists (till 1995) and by the conservative Partido Popular since then. Still more significant is the existence of a right-wing regionalist party, Unin Valenciana, whose main feature is its strikingly anti-Catalan character. Following years of parliamentary sniping, since 1995 they have held the balance of power, and in return for supporting the Partido Popular, they have occupied some key

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

170

Current Issues in Language and Society

political posts, including the post of Speaker in the regional parliament, or Corts Valencianes, and several ministries. In these areas, a different spelling system (using, I may add, what all linguists I know regard as quite ridiculous criteria) has been adopted so as to try and further the claim that Valencia and Catalonia have nothing at all in common, and that anyone who claims otherwise (such as the whole of academia) is some kind of a traitor. In fact, Unin Valenciana, though a regionalist party purporting to defend the regions heritage, consists largely of people who speak Spanish and not Catalan. Its heartland is the city of Valencia itself, a city where the number and proportion of speakers of the language has declined dramatically since even before the Franco regime took power in 1939. Several authors have tracked the development of a considerable movement against the Catalans and against the recovery of the language in Valencia (e.g. Bello, 1988; Strubell, 1994). One of the main daily newspapers in Valencia, Las Provincias, has waged a constant campaign, including incendiary commentaries published anonymously almost every day; it would almost certainly have been closed down in any other country for inciting the population to violence and rabid xenophobia. Many Catalans visiting Valencia have learned to their dismay that cars with Barcelona number plates often get scratched if they are left parked out in the street overnight. This is of course nothing compared to the incendiary bombing campaigns directed at book shops and leading intellectuals about twenty years ago. Right now many people are holding their breath while the Consell Valenci de Cultura prepares its report on the whole issue. All the universities and, needless to say, virtually all linguists have put their weight behind the orthography that has been used by virtually all writers in Valencia since 1932, the so-called Normes de Castell. The secessionists, known locally as the blaveros, have only three official representatives on the Council and are doing their best to influence public opinion through the mass media. In the meantime, the Catalonian channel, TV3, broadcasts the latest Valencian soap opera without dubbing it! I have been referring to Valencia for two reasons. One is that in contrast to Catalonia, the language has recovered much less rapidly and sturdily. In practice the language policy in Valencia was much more timid under the socialists, and under the conservatives has all but disappeared; even such trilateral technical agreements regarding the mutual recognition of language certificates issued by the Junta Permanent de Catal, the Junta Avaluadora de Valenci and their counterpart in the Balearic Islands, have been unilaterally rescinded, as has the joint publication of books of common cultural interest. The other reason is that in the case of Valencia the relationship between language and devolution was politicised to such a degree that it backfired. The language issue was used, before devolution took place in the early 80s, to try and drive a (political, but also social) wedge between Catalonia and Valencia.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Parliamentary democracy in practice: Language use in Parliament and in local councils It might be worth glancing at language use in democratic councils. Here different patterns emerge in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia, though

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

171

on paper everyone is free to use either of the two official languages. In the first two, use of Catalan predominates. In Catalonia there are, as might be expected, some MPs whose first language was not Catalan (my impression is that they tend to belong to the socialist or former communist parties, though at least one present Minister of the Catalan government is a Spanish-speaking in-comer who speaks quite acceptable Catalan), but virtually all of them became active bilinguals 29 before entering politics, or even afterwards. All bills and motions are tabled, to my knowledge, in Catalan, and when a bill is enacted, it is translated by the Parliaments language service into Spanish, and sent to the Official Spanish gazette and to the Spanish edition of the Catalan gazette, to be published. On several occasions right-wing MPs who usually make their speeches in Catalan have done so in Spanish, either to make a particular point or to provoke even moderate nationalist MPs. They have certainly succeeded on the latter score, much to the glee of the Madrid right-wing daily, ABC! One of the leaders of the Partido Popular is from south-west Catalonia, and makes his speeches in a very colloquial Catalan rather than a formal register, to the annoyance of linguists with even slightly purist leanings. In the Balearic Islands Catalan again is quite predominant, and curiously enough as we shall see in a moment the right-wing MPs (Partido Popular), who are in power, use the language perfectly naturally, though at times (as I have already mentioned above) in a somewhat colloquial register which some judge inappropriate for parliamentary debates. However the scene is quite different, as you might expect, in Valencia. To start with, the President, Eduardo Zaplana is neither Valencian by birth nor a Catalan-speaker. As I have already stated, his Partido Popular defeated the socialists in 1995 and have since then been forced to follow a secessionist policy by the regionalists, Unin Valenciana, who give them parliamentary support. The latter use a different orthography from standard Catalan, though this is only applied in the Hansard-equivalent minutes for some of the speeches (there is no oral difference!), depending on the choice of each speaker. The Speaker is himself the leader of Unin Valenciana. Speeches made by members of both parties are mostly in Spanish, while the socialists and ex-communists are more likely to use Catalan. In local councils in Catalonia, there were problems in a number of dormitory towns around Barcelona, following the first local elections since the war, in 1979: the in-migrant majorities in some cases booed councillors who tried to speak in Catalan at council meetings. My impression is that these problems quickly disappeared and that all Catalan-speakers, and some whose first language is Spanish, use Catalan in meetings without incidents. Virtually all mayors use Catalan in council meetings, except perhaps a few in some of the councils in the Barcelona hinterland. As I have said before, when it comes to election time (be they European, general, Catalan or local), meetings tend to be more bilingual, some Catalanspeaking candidates giving at least part of their speeches in Spanish in districts where most of their potential voters are not Catalan-speakers. Only Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, the independence party, does not to my knowledge hold any election meetings in Spanish. On television and on radio, all parties use Catalan and most use only Catalan. Again, nearly all parties advertise their

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

172

Current Issues in Language and Society

slogans in Catalan in the street (the socialists often do so in bilingual fashion). Campaigns which use both languages do not tend to produce bilingual advertisements, though they may do so for brochures.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Serving the public in a democratic system: Language use in the Catalan administration and in local authorities There being two official languages, all administrations in Catalonia use both, but in proportions which range from near-monolingualism in one language to near-monolingualism in the other language. It is important to distinguish between the language which an administration, as an organisation, uses for its internal functioning, on the one hand, and on the other, the language used for serving the public. There is no better indicator of the gradual change that has been taking place since Francos death than the language used by the administration. The change indicates that we have moved from a position where the subject was at the service of the administration to the administration being at the service of the citizen. Many Spanish ministry offices in Catalonia closed when the Statute of Autonomy came into effect. Those remaining which include the Income Tax Offices (Delegaciones de Hacienda), the state police stations (Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional), driving licence offices and some others have gradually started using Catalan alongside Spanish. Catalan-speakers can often not be served in their own language, though they are nearly always understood if they insist on carrying on using it. But the greatest change by far has taken place in offices which were transferred to the Catalan government thanks to the Statute of Autonomy. In these Catalan predominates: staff have made great strides to learn or become literate in Catalan, new signs, official forms and notices have been developed, and in nearly all cases the Catalan-speaking public is served in its own language.

Devolution and Democracy


In the nation-building period in western Europe which started in the 17th and 18th centuries, the idea of centralisation and uniformisation were key concepts. The idea of regional autonomies was anathema to the ruling elites of Spain, France or Great Britain, and any claims in this regard were dismissed as traditionalist nostalgia. As we shall see below, not all empires followed this model, even in Europe itself. However, the experience of the expansionism of the Germans in this century led to careful formulations, after the Second World War, of human rights which excluded references to collective rights. However, the liberal tradition has had to face the fact that individuals cannot be adequately contemplated outside their social context. The reasons for the outbreak of conflicts between ethnic communities, more often than not between majorities and minorities, are numerous and varied. As a rule, however, experience shows that the chances of conflict erupting are increased when a minority, or in the OSCE context, a national minority, perceives its future as a community as being at risk. Failure of the majority to act with a view to accommodating the legitimate linguistic and cultural aspirations of national minorities can create the sense that the vital space

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

173

necessary to the communitys survival is threatened. It is in this context that the importance for a community of securing the necessary space for its language in the private and public spheres becomes evident. (Siemienski, 1998b) The fact of the matter is that international instruments that have been developed to cope with this issue have usually used the cumbersome phrase the rights of persons belonging to national minorities and have avoided phrases such as the rights of national minorities. This has basically been done to try and deny minorities a legal claim to self-government, autonomy or devolution. Nevertheless, following the death of Franco, the Catalans and the Basques managed to achieve a political model which did indeed contemplate a fairly wide degree of self-government, linking up with the model designed in the 1930s which was crushed by the military uprising. At the same time it is perhaps significant that the regionalisation of Spain designed in 1978 is not an isolated phenomenon in western Europe. There are several countries with a tradition of regionalisation. In Germany and Austria, the Lnder are careful to protect their powers against encroachments from their federal governments and the European Commission (to which I shall return in a moment). But neither country has based its structure on existing autochthonous linguistic groups: the East and North Frisians, and the Sorbs, in Germany are small minorities even within their respective Lnder, while the same can be said for the Slovenes, the Hungarians and the Croats (as well as the basically urban Czech and Slovak groups) in Austria. In other countries with a long tradition of regionalisation, e.g. Switzerland and Belgium, the regional/sub-national divisions are based on linguistic criteria. In the countries which are moving towards greater regionalisation (e.g. the UK) or who are under some pressure to do so (e.g. Italy) linguistic concerns sometimes enter into the equation, sometimes not.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Subsidiarity and devolution We increasingly live in a debate over decentralisation. I have expressed my views on this elsewhere:
But there is no strict need to recognise the rights of stateless nations in order to put into effect an intermediate level of regional government to the benefit of citizens. The principle of subsidiarity is used throughout Europe (with 30 the exception of one large island, just off the north-west of the continent) in relation to the general principle of devolving problem-solving to the lowest feasible level, and only referring such problems hierarchically to superior levels when it is only at such levels that they can best be solved. The Brussels level is indeed the top level for European affairs, but it is hardly coherent to call upon the principle of subsidiarity to defend the sovereignty of the state yet deny the sovereignty of the people through a regional structure. What is more, at a time when political leaders are busy rolling back the state (an expression which cannot be easily translated into other languages/cultures) it is worth remembering that to roll back, in Latin, is 31 de-volvere, that is, precisely the word devolution that has brought us

174

Current Issues in Language and Society

together today! Equally to the point, devolution involves re-turning something to the people, something which we should argue firmly belongs to the people! This is all part of a more or less natural process that has taken place all over the world, where formerly autocratic monarchies have gradually and progressively given their power to bodies which, to a greater and greater extent, have represented the people: first just the landowners, then male taxpayers, and finally all adults in universal suffrage. During the whole of this process no-one could forcefully claim that the states have been weakened. Let us then all agree that people should have the right to solve their own problems, rather than having to accept decisions made by much larger populations. In a representative democracy, this obviously means being able to choose their own political leaders and government. This happens, of course, in local government, but as I have just said there are a whole lot of issues which are better resolved at a higher level, because they are of general interest of the whole of the population in the stateless nation. This is where a regional assembly, which elects a regional government, takes on its full meaning. (Strubell, 1997) So we must bear in mind the peculiar meaning attached in Britain to the word subsidiarity especially by the Conservative government under John Major. On the continent it is certainly taken to mean the return of decision-making to the lowest tier at which it is possible and efficient, and is by no means limited to the relationship between the state and Brussels.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Devolution without democracy? At the same time, a look back over Europes recent history can also right any impression we might have that devolution could not happen where there was no democracy. In Flanders and Brittany, to give just two examples, attempts were made by Hitlers occupying forces during the Second World War to woo locals towards the Axis cause by offering degrees of home rule that Belgium and France, respectively, refused to countenance. At the end of the war, the respective nationalist movements suffered a loss of prestige and public support because of this and reprisals were made. I believe that a similar process went on in the Yugoslav republic of Croatia in the same period, and that part of the Serbs desire for revenge was a result of the puppet Croatian regime which sided with Hitler.

Conclusion
Identity In reading through my draft text I have found an important element missing: any clear reference to the slippery issue of identity. I made a passing reference to it in comparing the bases for Catalan and Basque nationalism. I also referred to Pujols widely accepted, though political rather than sociological, definition of a Catalan. I should perhaps say more. Two issues spring to mind, one of a specific nature and one of a more general

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

175

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

kind. Firstly, I have come across non-Spaniards who are surprised and even shocked that this definition denies non-Catalans in Catalonia their own nationality, when all former USSR republics (at least, to my knowledge) continue to respectfully classify all their inhabitants be they the autochthonous population, naturalised citizens, or residents who are still foreign citizens as Russians, Armenians, Ukrainians or Georgians. Even a small country like Estonia publishes lists of such people, numbering 121 different nationalities. In the Catalan case, the broad and generous definition of a Catalan is a way of avoiding politically motivated classifications which could so easily lead to a distinction between firstand second-class citizens. There is no political threat at all to the identity of Andalusians in Catalonia, to take one example. The largest local festival in Catalonia is an imitation of the Sevilla Feria de Abril. It is held on the outskirts of Barcelona, mobilises hundreds of thousands of people, and attracts not only substantial subsidies from the Catalan government, but also politicians of all colours, who flock there like bees to pollen flowers. And secondly, the issue of identity surely pervades all that I have been talking about. We all agree that democracy is desirable. But should the democratic government for which I vote and whose laws I follow be my people or someone else? Do citizens feel that their governments represent their group? Identity is of course a personal issue, but it is the collective aspect, the group allegiance aspect, the belongingness aspect, to which I would like to devote a few moments of attention. In an increasingly integrated society there seem to be two processes occurring in parallel, though in apparently opposite directions. Integration has of course been going on for centuries, if not millennia, in the following direction: huts in a jungle clearing structured village metropolitan city global village In this context, as each person becomes more of a world citizen, feeling more and more comfortable in what were previously perceived as exotic and alien 32 environments, there seems to be an increasing search for the roots of our collective identity. This more intimate collective or group identity can be interpreted as being expressed in political terms, in Europe at least, by an increasing, though gradual, transfer of power from central to regional government: devolution! All of what we have been discussing would be meaningless, or the cause of serious concern, unless the people and the peoples involved felt that these changes and processes are for the better, even in personal (psychological) terms. The sense of threat to ones identity, on the other hand, is one of the most powerful and insidious of social phenomena. Powerful, because it has led to wars (not only in the past but in our own times), and insidious, because it is easy to instil insecurity into a person or a group, and difficult to remove it. At the same time, we live in an age when many claim a multiple identity and multiple allegiances: a fervent Catalan nationalist may celebrate a victory by the Spanish football team: but then, another may not! What is abundantly clear throughout is that people tend to play the role, or the stereotype, assigned them (often unconsciously, and often over a period of generations) by those in power, as portrayed, for instance, in Max Frischs play, Andorra. I am only touching on this. A full consideration of this claim could in my view merit another seminar.

176

Current Issues in Language and Society

The need for pro-active language policies Just before I draw to a conclusion, I would like to quote from a recent report I gave at the presentation in Vienna of the Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities, where I spoke of the Catalan experience and justified the need for affirmative action by the authorities to overcome a long period of repression.
I am grateful to the professor of Mercantile Law at the University of Barcelona, Antoni Font, for a metaphor that helps to explain why the authorities should play an active role in overcoming the previous state of inequality, above and beyond merely declaring the official character of a language. He describes the situation aimed at by the uniformising nation-states [] as a linguistic monopoly. In free market societies anti-trust measures are foreseen even in the most liberal of states, and monopolies are regarded as undesirable in that they are based on privileges. Affirmative 33 action is therefore legitimate in order to break monopolies, be they economic or linguistic. Among other things, the competitive position of products produced in a demographically stronger language will be measurably better (particularly in terms of costs and prices) than that of those produced for a smaller market. To put it another way: positive discrimination may be needed, at least temporarily, in order to overcome the effects of a pre-existing discrimination, and thus to achieve equality and equity. But there are also social psychological reasons for the authorities to take affirmative action in our case. Social language norms those that define in what circumstances it is deemed appropriate to speak Catalan were so defined that only its use in closed social circles among acquaintances was regarded as acceptable during the Franco regime, particularly in the cities. Changing what is regarded as socially acceptable is as vital as it is difficult to achieve: in the last analysis, people have to be freed from the pre-existing social restrictions or constraints so that they can not only use it in public, but also help (indirectly) non-Catalan-speakers to learn the language in a social context. (Strubell, 1998)

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Changing social habits, and the demographic issue My conclusion is not overly optimistic. Most of the seven million people who can speak Catalan still switch to Spanish more or less unconsciously, in their dealings with people who understand them perfectly and can in many cases converse quite adequately in Catalan. Young people seem to be in general bilingual and biliterate but this again does not lead, at least in the Barcelona metropolitan area, to the Catalan-speakers using their language freely. At the same time, the government seems loathe to do anything about it (though of course there are strict limits to interference in peoples social activity which must not be surpassed). An added problem is demographic. Since 1930s the fecundity rate of Catalans has been close to or even below replacement levels (Sarrible, 1987). During the 1950s and 1960s, as so often happens, the first generation of immigrants had a

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

177

much higher number of children per couple. Today the present fecundity rate is well below the replacement level, even when we look at the whole of the population. This will make Catalonia extremely fragile in terms of its ability to integrate newcomers linguistically. It makes the position of Spanish (Castilian) much stronger. Monolingual Spanish-speakers living in monolingual enclaves within Catalonia may grow in number. Why Catalans are having such small numbers of children, if any at all, is beyond my brief on this occasion, but is certainly beginning to have a negative impact on the language. Over a third of bilinguals in Catalonia speak Catalan as a second language, with the effects that interference has on their spoken and written Catalan. A steadily increasing proportion of future teachers in training colleges in Catalonia are from Spanish-speaking families, and theirs will be the responsibility for ensuring that Catalan is adequately learnt in schools, in a few years time. This may have an effect on the language itself. With all this in mind I conclude by saying that I believe it remains the responsibility of the whole of Catalan society to decide and ensure that the language continues to act as a valid and real sign of the identity of the Catalan people, in their everyday lives.
Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Correspondence Any correspondence should be directed to Miquel Strubell, Institut de Sociolingstica Catalana, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (mstrubell@correu.gencat.es). Notes
1. For instance, in January this year during the inaugural lecture of a course on Catalan sociolinguistics, organised by the Escola Municipal de Mallorqu in the Majorcan town of Manacor. 2. Who can certainly stake a claim to discuss a concept like democracy of course. 3. Following one of the definitions of the word given in the Concise Oxford Dictionary (7th edition, 1982) in which democratic is synonymous with favouring social equality. 4. The Concise Oxford Dictionary (7th edition, 1982). 5. Though Michael Jacksons gradually increasing pallidness might lead some to question this affirmation, as might the fact that some people go to extreme surgical lengths to change their physical sex. 6. As, someone once told me, happened to a Catalan prospective air hostess awaiting her final interview for the main Spanish airline, who was told that her Catalan accent would rule her out, in spite of her excellent written tests; I must add that General Franco had only recently died at that time. 7. Kymlicka (1995) outlines several examples where quota systems are used, so the idea is certainly not hare-brained. 8. The secret text aimed at the following: Que se produzca el efecto sin que se note el cuydado. 9. Jos Calvo Sotelo. 10. We lived better with Franco. 11. We lived better against Franco. 12. However, the kernel of what is under discussion is not so much the Act in itself as the whole of the language policy that the Act brings to its culmination. The mistake at the origin of this policy, and also, of course, the Act, is that it is inspired by a nationalist conception of Catalonia which, in my view, is not consistent with the principles of liberty and pluralism on which our constitutional democracy are based. For to be sure, from this conception, language is regarded as the nerve of the nation, that which converts citizens into Catalans. As a nationalist declaration made public

178

Current Issues in Language and Society

13.

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22. 23.

24.

25.

several months ago stated, language is a way of looking at the world, a place where myths and desires are configured, a house which helps to convert into a people those who live in it. From a liberal and democratic position, a language is, without a doubt, a cultural trait which characterises a society, but never a cultural trait that can limit our individual freedom; that is to say, never a way of looking at the world. Language is not the essence of our personality or the hard kernel of our identity as people: at least since the Enlightenment, our identity and our personality only have one fundament, and that is freedom itself. So the fundamental error confusing the rights of persons with the rights of nations (starting from the pre-existing concept of a nation, disconnected from the rights of each of its members) is projected in the articles of the Act at two levels: on the one hand, confusing the propia language with an only or preferent language; on the other, confusing the legitimate protection of the Catalan language, which is necessary as it is a minority language, with the imposition of the use of Catalan in all public institutions and even in the relations between private people. Several instruments are devoted specifically to the issue of minority rights: both the Framework Convention on the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages were Council of Europe initiatives that have been ratified by a sufficient number of states to come into force in February and March of this year. In addition, at the request of the High Commissioner for National Minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Foundation for Inter-Ethnic Relations has developed and published the Oslo Recommendations and The Hague Recommendations, dealing with these issues. Ley Orgnica del Poder Judicial. More than a hundred, according to one count. Some Catalans, particularly members of the wealthier classes, sided with the army in 1936, fearful that the chaotic situation unleashed by the unsuccessful coup dtat would harm them, their families and their businesses: as indeed it did in many cases. I think this is the politically correct term! The central plateau of Spain. Literally: Si ara es convoqus un referndum per iniciar de forma gradual un procs cap a la independncia de Catalunya, vost que votaria? (a) Es indivisible, de forma que no pot limitar-se el carcter oficial duna de les dues llenges, per exemple, reduint-la aun determinat mbit material o geogrfic de la vida de la comunitat, excloent-la dun altre, encara que aquest mbit sigui de competncia exclusiva de lEstat o de la Comunitat Autnoma. () (b) Es autnoma, en el sentit que cada llengua oficial ho s per ella mateixa, de manera que seria rebutjable una norma, que noms admets la llengua autctona si susa al costat del castell o, fins i tot, imposs aquest s doble de les dues llenges. However, once the line dividing this territory from Aragon is crossed, none of the language rights referring to Catalan are recognised, despite the fact that about fifty thousand Catalan-speakers live in Aragon and consider themselves to be Aragonese. In fact, in many ways the new administration inherited the defects of the former system, which had served a totalitarian regime for almost forty years. The relative ease with which the speakers of one language can learn the other have helped Catalonia not to suffer from the physical segregation of the two linguistic communities as happens in Belgium between the French and Flemish communities; in Finland, between the Finnish and Swedish communities; and in Canada, between the French and English communities. In these twenty years of democracy political plurality and alternation in power have been taken on board positively, as has the redistribution of power, which used to be centralised and is now devolved in the State of the Autonomies. But there remains a great deal of reluctance to accept linguistic plurality. The strictly linguistic content which is covered by the right to instruction and by the right to education is purely and simply the right of the child to receive instruction in

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

Language, Democracy and Devolution in Catalonia

179

26.

27.

28. 29.

30. 31.
Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011

32. 33.

a language which it can understand. This content does not mean that children have a right to receive instruction in their own language. I could not only contemplate in its full crudeness and virulence what has historically been the ABC of anticatalanism; I also managed to understand better what the history of Catalonia and of Spain has consisted of during the present century and what their successes and failures have been in a process [] which seems not to have yet been resolved. The so-called Language Policy Act [] aims to make Catalonia a monolingual region. It aims to extirpate Castilian Spanish from the Catalan Autonomy. To blur such affirmations, or to add nuances to them, would be tantamount to adding to the electoral plotting, to the toothless policy of shady dealing and backing down. Jordi Pujol [] has fallen into the totalitarian temptation of power, by establishing a linguistic system which goes against human rights and puts at a serious disadvantage the least favoured sector of the Catalan population. The head of the Uni General de Treballadors de Catalunya, Josep Maria Alvarez, though a trades unionist and not a politician, is a striking example of a person who has learned Catalan as a personal commitment. I myself heard his first speech in Catalan, and his progress in just a few years has been remarkable. Written before the present UK devolutionary process. Deputing, delegation, of work or power, esp. by House of Parliament, to bodies appointed by and responsible to it, or by central government to local or regional administration esp. in Scotland and Wales. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 7th edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982.) I deliberately use the word which was the title of a successful TV series some years ago, on this very subject. Also sometimes termed positive discrimination.

References
Anson, L.M. (1998) Un vaso de agua turbia. ABC, 10 February. Bello, V. (1988) La pesta blava. Valncia: Edicions 3 i 4. Benet, J. (published anonymously) (1973) Catalunya sota el rgim franquista. Paris: Edicions Catalanes de Pars. Branchadell, A. (1997) Liberalisme i poltica lingstica. Barcelona: Empries. Cohen, J.M. and Cohen, M.J. (1991) The Penguin Dictionary of Quotations. London: Bloomsbury Books. Conversi, D. (1997) The Basques, the Catalans and Spain: Alternative Routes to Nationalist Mobilisation. London: Hurst & Company. Cooper, R.L. (1989) Language Planning and Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. de Carreras, F. (1998) El error de fondo. El Pas, 26 January. Estrad, A. and Treserra, M. (1990) Catalunya independent? Anlisi duna enquesta sobre la identitat nacional i la voluntat dindependncia dels catalans. Barcelona: Fundaci Jaume Bofill. Ferrer i Girons, F. (1985) La persecuci poltica de la llengua catalana. Barcelona: Edicions 62. Fishman, J.A. (1991) Reversing Language Shift. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Guardiola, C-J. (1980) Per la llengua. Barcelona: Edicions de la Magrana. Jackson, G. (1998) Tengo un sueo para Catalua. El Pas, January 7. Kymlicka, W. (1995) Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lan Entralgo, P. (1997) Un cataln bilinge. El Pas, November 13. Medina, J. (1995) Lanticatalanisme del diari ABC (19161936). Biblioteca Serra dOr 147. Barcelona: Publicacions de lAbadia de Montserrat. Milian i Massana, A. (1994) Derechos lingsticos y derecho fundamental a la educacin. Un estudio comparado: Italia, Blgica, Suiza, Canad y Espaa. Barcelona: Editorial Civitas/Escola dAdministraci Publica de Catalunya. Nelde, P., Strubell, M. and Williams, G. (1996) Euromosaic. Production and Reproduction of

180

Current Issues in Language and Society

Minority Language Communities in the EU. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Ninyoles, R. Ll. (1977) Cuatro idiomas para un Estado. Madrid: Edicusa. Puig i Salellas, J.M. (1983) La doble oficialitat lingstica com a problema jurdic. Revista de Llengua i Dret, 5378. Pujals, J.M. (1998) Tercera: Ms claro que el agua. ABC, February 21. Sarrible, G. (1987) La fecundidad en Barcelona-ciudad en la dcada del 70 (nativos y migrantes). Perspectiva Social 24, 3957. Siemienski, G. (1998a) Education, language and identity: The Hague recommendations regarding the education rights of national minorities. Paper read at the Seminar East Meets West, European Centre for Modern Languages, Graz, Austria. Siemienski, G. (1998b) The Oslo recommendations regarding the linguistic rights of national minorities: A tool of conflict prevention. Paper read at the Seminar East Meets West, European Centre for Modern Languages, Graz. Siguan, M. (1994) Conocimiento y uso de las lenguas en Espaa (Investigacin sobre el conocimiento y uso de las lenguas cooficiales en las Comunidades Autnomas bilinges). Madrid: Centro de Investigaciones Sociolgicas. Sol-Durany and Joan, R. (1995) Le principe de territorialit des langues et la protection de lidentit linguistique des peuples. Droits linguistiques et droits culturels dans les rgions dEurope (pp. 8992). Barcelona: Departament de Cultura, Generalitat de Catalunya. Sol i Sabat., J.M. and Villarroya, J. (1993) Cronologia de la repressi de la llengua i la cultura catalanes, 19361975. Barcelona: Col. La Mata de Jonc 22, Curial. Strubell, M. (1993) Catalan: Castilian. Trends in Romance Linguistics and Philology. Volume 5: Bilingualism and Linguistic Conflict in Romance (pp. 175207). Strubell, M. (1994) Catalan in Valencia: The story of an attempted secession. In G. Ldi (ed.) Sprach-standardisierun g. Schweizerische Akademie des Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (pp. 229254). Universittsverlag Freiburg. Strubell, M. (1996) Language planning and classroom practice in Catalonia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 17, 24, 262275. Strubell, M. (1997) Regional autonomy. A case study: Spain. Paper prepared for a seminar organised by ECTARC (European Centre for Traditional and Regional Cultures), Llangollen, 11 July. Strubell, M. (1998-forthcoming) Language and diversity: The case of Catalonia. International Journal on Minority and Ethnic Relations. Voltas, E. (1996) La guerra de la llengua. Barcelona: Empries. Vroede, M . de (1975) Th e Flemish Movement in Belgium. Kultuurraad voor Vlaadenren/Institut voor Voorlichting, Belgium. Webber, J. and Strubell, M. (1991) The Catalan language. Progress towards normalisation. The Anglo-Catalan Society Occasional Publications 7. Weinstein, B. (1982) Noah Webster and the diffusion of linguistic innovations for political purposes. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 38, 85108.

Downloaded At: 14:40 13 January 2011