The rebirth of Catalan: how a once-banned language is thriving

This discussion belongs to Translation news » "The rebirth of Catalan: how a once-banned language is thriving".
You can see the translation news page and participate in this discussion from there.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Link was intended as new thread Sep 27, 2015

Mea culpa.
I actually tried to post the link to this Guardian article as a new Translation News item, but seem to have ended up here by association and/or ineptitude due to lack of familiarity with how to post these things. Sorry folks!

[Edited at 2015-09-27 09:17 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-09-27 09:18 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
True or false? Sep 27, 2015

A Spanish friend of mine says that Spain is gradually breaking up into dialect regions, where unless you speak the local dialect as your first language you can't apply for a job etc. and the local dialect is the language in which your children will be taught in school. Was he exaggerating or is that true?

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
A grain of truth Sep 27, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

A Spanish friend of mine says that Spain is gradually breaking up into dialect regions, where unless you speak the local dialect as your first language you can't apply for a job etc. and the local dialect is the language in which your children will be taught in school. Was he exaggerating or is that true?


He was indeed exaggerating (sounds like a typical grumpy expat statement) but the true situation is more complicated than that and it opens up a whole can of worms.
"You can't apply for a job" most likely refers to the bias towards local "dialect" speakers ( I don't wish to become embroiled in the dialect versus language debate, or whether Valenciano and Catalan are the same thing or not, a hot potato around here!), but this merely refers to official local, municipal or regional government posts.

For example, not all schools in Valencia are teaching all their subjects in Valenciano as well as Castilian Spanish.

It's complicated.


 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:00
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Catalans speak both languages Sep 27, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

A Spanish friend of mine says that Spain is gradually breaking up into dialect regions, where unless you speak the local dialect as your first language you can't apply for a job etc. and the local dialect is the language in which your children will be taught in school. Was he exaggerating or is that true?


Don't let a Catalan person hear you referring to Catalan as a dialect!!

My husband was born during Franco's time and Catalan was a forbidden language yet it is his native language. All his schooling was in Spanish but as soon as he left the classroom he spoke Catalan. Practically everyone spoke the language in the privacy of their homes and when they were with friends and family.

Nowadays Catalan is the main language used in schools, though children also study Spanish and English (as separate subjects). However, as soon as the students leave the classroom, they talk in the language they prefer.

As for applying for a job: if a person is interested in working for the regional government (in official organisations, state schools, etc.) they must hold the B2 level of the European Framework or have passed Catalan up to the final year of secondary school (17/18 years old).

I live very near the coast, so you hear both Spanish and Catalan but if you go further inland, you'll probably find the majority of people speak Catalan.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Catalans speak both languages Sep 27, 2015

That's Catalan. What about all the other parts of Spain that are doing the same thing with their dialects/languages ?

 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:00
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I think it's the same all over Spain Sep 27, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

That's Catalan. What about all the other parts of Spain that are doing the same thing with their dialects/languages ?


As far as I know, the same thing's happening all over Spain.

By the way, in one of my subjects at university I learnt that a dialect can be considered a language once literature written in that language has been published.

And:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/22/catalan-language-survived


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
And that's the problem Sep 27, 2015

Helena Chavarria wrote:

As far as I know, the same thing's happening all over Spain.



..and according to my Spanish friend, who works internationally and who thinks about Spain "in the world" that is a problem. Do you agree?

[Edited at 2015-09-27 19:09 GMT]


 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:00
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Human beings are specialists in making life difficult Sep 27, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

..and according to my Spanish friend, who works internationally and who thinks about Spain "in the world" that is a problem. Do you agree?


Well, I try not to get involved in politics, mainly because I can't vote in Spain (I'm not Spanish) and I can't vote in the UK (I left the country over 15 years ago and I've been taken off the electoral roll) but I agree it doesn't make life any easier.

Though I suppose it's not a bad thing from a translator's point of viewicon_smile.gif


 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Barcelona Sep 27, 2015

Helena Chavarria wrote:

I live very near the coast, so you hear both Spanish and Catalan but if you go further inland, you'll probably find the majority of people speak Catalan.


I am curious as to what the situation is in Barcelona.


 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:00
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Barcelona is multi-cultural Sep 27, 2015

Michele Fauble wrote:

I am curious as to what the situation is in Barcelona.


It depends on whereabouts you go! I went to a Powwow before the summer and I didn't hear much Spanish or Catalan. People were speaking English, French, German, Russian...

I only live 60 km from Barcelona but I felt as though I was in another world. However, I remember travelling on a bus a few years ago in London and no one was speaking English. When I mentioned it to my mother she was surprised I hadn't realised that London is multi-cultural and I think that goes for most capital cities around the world.

Having said that, I know quite a few Catalans who live in Barcelona but perhaps it would be better if someone who lived there answered your question.


 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 18:00
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Errmmm... Sep 28, 2015

Tom, your Spanish friend needs a holiday or a break from reading the rightwing press. Spain is not breaking up into language regions where you can't get a job on the basis of language skills in general. Simply not the case.
Each of the "Comunidades Autónomas" which have a language other than Castilian as their "lengua cooficial" have different norms as regards language requirements for posts such as teachers, civil servants, etc... which has given rise to some problems but it's not considered a "big issue" - in any case, it's difficult to generalise.
In the Basque country for example, 50% of the population simply can't speak/understand Basque (and you can't blame themicon_wink.gif, roughly a third can speak it and the remainder have a passive and probably rather dodgy knowledge of it.

Neil, next time someone tells you otherwise you can tell them what the Valencian (¡!) Academy itself determined ten years ago:

To wit: "Academia Valenciana de la Lengua (AVL), institución normativa oficial del valenciano, acordó por unanimidad un dictamen vinculante el 9 de febrero de 2005 concluyendo que "la lengua propia e histórica de los valencianos, desde el punto de vista de la filología, es también la que comparten las comunidades autónomas de Cataluña y de las Islas Baleares y el Principado de Andorra. [...] Las diferentes hablas de todos estos territorios constituyen una lengua".
Comeback on a plate: "Así que tú sabes más que la Academia, ¿verdad?"

As regards the situation in BCN, and the school system in particular, the norm is that the vehicular language is Catalan plus several hours in Spanish. This has been contested in the courts by a handful of families but is generally accepted by everyone else.

Some (and I imagine your friend is amongst them), will say that this is detrimental to their learning of a language with the potential of Spanish which is the gateway to hundreds of millions of people, unlike Catalan.

What he either doesn't know or suspiciously fails to mention is that in nationwide educational assessments Catalan schoolchildren typically obtain higher scores in Spanish than those in Valladolid, one of the supposed birthplaces of Castilian.

The problem in Spain is that politics confuses and confounds what should be a strictly linguistic issues. Language is used (and I know, hardly for the first time) as a political tool.

Language has been falsely used to debilitate Catalonia by separating it from what some Catalans consider to be the
rightful "Catalan Countries", i.e. Catalonia but also Valencia, Balearics, bits of France....etc.

For example, the previous government introduced a subject to replace religion in schools that focussed on the rights and duties of citizenship, environmental concerns, sex education, etc... which their rightwing rivals countered in Valencia by requiring it be taught in English, knowing full well this would leave classrooms full of clueless, bemused pupils due to their inability to follow such a course in English and to the despair of woefully unequipped teachers.

A ridiculous situation that I doubt could occur elsewhere.

And Tom, Romance languages are just that, not dialects, please.

Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Portuguese are languages.

And Basque is a non-Indo-European language (Aquitani?).

If the last sentence is right, I claim my five pounds.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Hmmmm Sep 28, 2015

Andy Watkinson wrote:

Some (and I imagine your friend is amongst them), will say that this is detrimental to their learning of a language with the potential of Spanish which is the gateway to hundreds of millions of people, unlike Catalan....


Well- precisely. I'm interested in learning Spanish so that I can visit Central and South America.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:00
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Being asked to translate Catalan Sep 28, 2015

I'm an experienced translator of French and Spanish to English.
A couple of the very good agencies I work for occasionally send me a bundle of "Spanish" documents to translate which in fact include some pages (or even parts of pages) in Catalan. My response is that, although I can usually understand most of the Catalan and could probably have a shot at putting it into English, I am NOT QUALIFIED to do so and think it would be unprofessional of me to try.
Am I right? Sometimes they try to urge me to do it anyway but, so far, I've resisted.
One such document was a statement by a police officer somewhere in Catalonia which was a strange mish-mash of Spanish and Catalan in the same paragraph or even the same sentence. Is this usual?
Your opinions, please, dear Prozians.


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

The rebirth of Catalan: how a once-banned language is thriving

Advanced search







TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search