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Author: John MacInnes & Sarah Gore

Title: The Politics of Language in Catalunya

Year: 1998

ISBN: 1-900522-60-8

The Catalan and Castilian languages are often portrayed as being in direct competition in present day Catalunya. This paper argues that the relationship between the two official languages of Catalunya is less confrontational and more subtle. The paper focuses on the role played by language in Catalan nationalism: from its historical development to the present day situation. It analyses in detail the 1983 Linguistic Normalisation Law and the 1998 Linguistic Policy Law passed by the Generalitat de Catalunya (the government of the Autonomous Community of Catalunya established by the Spanish Constitution of 1978). The social and political debates surrounding these laws are discussed, to show the different political climates surrounding each law, and the way in which the politics of language has become more of an end in itself. Data from a 1996 Centre for Sociological Research survey on national and regional identification is presented as further evidence of subtle relationship between the two languages and wider issues influencing national identification. The paper concludes by analysing the situation of the Catalan language at both the state level in Spain and the wider international context.

Angus Bancroft