XLVIII Международная филологическая научная конференция

History of bilingualism in Catalonia

Лидия Дочкова Шамова
Пловдивски университет «Паисий Хилендарски» (България)

17:00 - 17:20

Ключевые слова, аннотация

Catalonian, Catalonia, History, Spanish in Catalonia, Coexisting Languages, Bilingualism.


The purpose of this text is to make a short review of the development of bilingualism in the territory of Catalonia.
The problem of coexisting languages nowadays affects 41,3% of the Spanish territory or 18,4 million people, therefore the linguistic situation in the country is a question of high importance. 29% of the citizens of Spain live in territories where Catalan language is considered official.
Since the XII and during the first half of the XV century the only spoken language in Catalonia and the other areas of the Aragonese crown as Mallorca and Valencia was Catalan. Latin was the other language which coexisted with it. In this period Spanish was the language of the Kingdom of Castile. The very first contact between Catalan and Spanish was produced at the end of the Middle Ages with the beginning of the Spanish political unity under the leadership of Castile. During the XVI and the XVII centuries the diglossia between Catalan and Spanish increased. In the next century an absolute diglossia develops between both languages in the common population, with Spanish becoming the only language of culture. We can talk about mild recovery of Catalan as language of culture since the second half of the XIX century. In this period both Spanish and Catalan are found in daily use. There were different situations of diglossia between them throughout the past XX century as well. The Civil War (1936–1939) is considered as one of the darkest ages in the history of Spain. During the next period — the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939–1975) — not only Catalan, but all the languages spoken in Spain apart from Spanish, had their use mostly limited to family and rural areas, therefore the situation of diglossia increased. After accepting the new Spanish Constitution in 1978 and several local laws, the positions of the Catalan language have recovered and it was recognized as an official language in Catalonia together with Spanish. From 1978 up to the present day, the XXI century, there are 4 official languages in Spain — Spanish, Catalan, Euskera (Basque) and Galician. Spanish is official for all of the country, Catalan is official in Catalonia, the Balearic islands (where it is called Balearic, also named after each island: mallorquín, menorquín, ibicenco y formenterero) as well as in Valencia (where it is called valenciano). The Occitan language, called Aranese in the territiry of Valle d’Aran, is the proper language of this area and is also official in Catalonia. A democratic principle requires bearing in mind the wishes of the population.
«Bilingualism is the ultimate objective, and in order to achieve it, it is necessary to act with tact and flexibility through short, medium and long-term plans» (Fernando Lázaro, 1983).