I read with interest Erik’s post from his blog at wirdheim in vilanova and I have to praise his unbiased views. I say this as quite a few people have just lately left a few less than savoury comments in their efforts to make their mark and force their opinions on others.
He explains that a lot of expats in Catalonia have negative opinions about the language policies set up to revive the everyday use of the Catalan language, the normalització lingüística if you like. An expert committee has been set up by the Council of Europe and it offers a new outlook on this.
Erik goes on to mention that the purpose of their analysis was to see how far the recommendations of the European Language Charter of 1992 – an agreement to support the development of minority and regional languages, ratified by Spain in 2001 – have been implemented and the outcome is highly encouraging for Catalonia.
The experts judge that education systems need to be based on a ‘total immersion’ in the co-official language and therefore fully justify, for example, the use of Catalan as the first language in schools here.
Among all Spanish areas with co-official languages, Catalonia received the most positive comments since only the judiciary plus some state authorities like Renfe (the railway system) and Correos (the postal service) lag behind in the use of the co-official language. In the autonomous regions of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, on the other hand, the experts conclude that education in the local language is not comprehensive and also that the authorities there were unwilling to provide all information requested.
I’d like to see Castellano co-exist with Catalan in the schools here in Cataluña and not be relegated to an hour or two a week maximum as is the case and treated as a foreign language. I think if the authorities can get that mixture right, it can only be good for Cataluña and change the views of a lot of expats who have been hurt by shrapnel.