I have no idea how the Generalitat’s campaign to get newcomers to speak Catalan has taken any longer than a week. This video…
The point of the “Encomana el català” campaign is to get speakers to speak it. What statistics have shown is that native Catalan speakers tend to switch to another language, such as Spanish, when someone responds to them in Spanish. The campaign isn’t as much a “Learn Catalan” campaign as much as it is a “don’t switch to another language while you’re speaking” one. So while the video is an extremely cheesy way of portraying the speaking of Catalan in the streets, it’s not directed at foreigners, but rather native speakers, since even non-Catalans who live in the area can often understand the language while they may not be able to express themselves in it.
Yeah, you’re right - I wasn’t being super-accurate. Mainly, though, once I saw that video for the first time, I couldn’t help but think of it anytime I read about the Generalitat’s promotion of Catalan. You have to admit that it’s pretty hilarious.
I’m all for the actual goal of “Encomana el català”: I understand Catalan 99% of the time and at least speak enough to get by, so I feel silly when, for example, cashiers speak to the 10 people before me in Catalan and then decide to tell me my price total in Spanish. It’s even more common and awkward for some of the people I know who don’t look stereotypically “western European”, some of whom speak Catalan better than Spanish but get spoken to in Spanish anyway just because they are singled out by apparent ethnicity. For the Catalan people to whom I’ve spoken about this issue, it’s not only coming across as a promotion just to get them to speak Catalan to everyone including foreigners who may or may not be speaking Spanish instead and might need to hear Catalan to learn it, but also as a promotion to encourage that native Catalan speakers not switch to Spanish with people who supposedly “look foreign” - that’s not super politically correct, and plenty of immigrants or people with foreign families already speak lovely Catalan. In some cases, switching to Spanish is just not a great way for Catalan supporters to help people learn their language, and in its worst incarnations it can even be offensive when a local assumes that a person can’t speak Catalan just because of their apparent race or nationality or whatever.
…and despite the silly video, I also reblogged your post because I agree, especially on the point that the Generalitat should do more to promote Catalan internationally. I wish I’d had the opportunity to learn it in the U.S. before I got to BCN. Vanderbilt does offer one or two classes per year, but that’s all. It’s surprising that there are so few resources to learn it outside of Catalunya considering how important a city BCN has become (and that it’s the 4th most popular tourist city in Europe). I did hear from my sociolingüística professor that it’s become a really popular language to study in Germany, but I don’t know how true that is or what would have caused it. I think it’s prettier (and easier to learn) than French anyway… and it makes me mad that most Americans don’t even know it exists.
You’re also right that it’s sad that lots of speakers can’t read and write in it. Thankfully, those statistics have improved enormously here in the past few decades: in Catalunya, of people at least 15 years old, 90.5% read it, and 62.3% write it. That’s not horrible considering that the older portion of the population was educated during franquismo and that lots of adult Spanish speakers (from both Spain and Latin America) move here and never manage to learn Catalan. Andorra has similar statistics, and the Balearic Islands aren’t too far behind (considering that lots of people immigrate there too). However, the literacy statistics in València are only mediocre (although tempered by the fact that they have a significantly lower percentage of speakers), and they’re just dreadful in els altres Països Catalans, which makes me realize how huge a difference it makes that Catalunya makes such an effort to promote it from the top.
Anyway, yep, Catalan is awesome, woo Generalitat… I get far too serious when I start talking/writing about linguistic policy, and then people seem to find me rather boring, just like when I talk about things like phonology. Oops. So now I’m going to go back to posting silly videos and things.
Right before the La Competència podcasts I download (a radio show on RAC1 that’s all sorts of lulz; if you speak Catalan you should check it out, it’s hilarious) there’s always a ten-minute recap of recent news, both in Catalunya, Spain and the world, and the one I started listening today from…
I have no idea how the Generalitat’s campaign to get newcomers to speak Catalan has taken any longer than a week. This video of theirs makes learning it look like so much fun: if you speak Catalan, you will apparently get the privilege of buying your daily bread from a cheerful man with an enormous, perfectly-waxed handlebar bigoti… and so much more. The star of the video is even suddenly blessed with the ability to do a full-out cheerleader toe touch as a result of his Catalan skills. For realsies.
one of the more compelling reasons to study another language is so we can learn how to say dirty things to people who aren’t familiar with it. for this, the native american language of klamath is especially well-suited.
klamath has a peculiar system of bodily adverbial affixes which is a …
But sad… because Ethnologue shows that there is only one living speaker (as of 1998 - meaning there are probably zero now)
It’s rare for politics and basketball to meet. In fact, I prefer it that way. However, I’m really happy that the Suns management decided to do this. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wanted to use the “Los Spurs” jerseys for the Cinco de Mayo game as well, but the team doesn’t have them available currently. It might not have much of an impact on the actual outcome of immigration law, but it’s great that team owners who have that level of media influence are showing some support, where many are just leaving it up to those most invested in the fight.
a subtle political statement made by a powerful non-political institution… and spanglish. these are a few of my favorite things.