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dimarts, 17 de maig de 2016

'The Economist' carga contra la política lingüística de la Generalidad de Cataluña

Citizens can report language culprits anonymously, and many have proven eager. A few years ago a patriotic librarian, Roger Seuba, claimed to have denounced 5,000 companies. Business owners say other citizens take the law into their own hands, smashing shop windows or spray-painting their façades.

The Spanish and Catalan languages enjoy co-official status in the region. When reviewing Catalonia’s independence status in 2010, the Constitutional Court of Spain ruled that imposing either language on private enterprises violates the constitution. Yet fines kept being imposed. In February 2016, Catalonia’s superior court of justice banned parts of another language protocol that obliged public servants to initiate and continue all conversations in Catalan. The Catalan government said it would ignore the decision.

Anti-secessionist opposition parties are trying to change the laws, but have been stymied by the nationalist coalition of the regional president, Carles Puigdemont. The regional branch of the conservative Popular Party says the language fines violate freedom of expression. In late April, a member of the European Parliament for Catalonia’s liberal Ciudadanos party said the law clashes with European regulations on language diversity.

Unsurprisingly, Montserrat Ribera, the director of Catalonia’s consumer agency, disagrees. Language fines enshrine the fundamental right of Catalan consumers to be served in their own tongue, she explains. And they are necessary to help preserve the language.

Forcing businesses to translate every public communication into a local language with a few million speakers may widen its appeal for some. For others it has the opposite effect. Since he was fined, Mr Centeno, a Catalan born and bred, refuses to speak in his mother tongue. He demands that all government documents sent to his mailbox be written in Spanish. “Son talibanes!” (“They are Talibans!”) he shouts, in Spanish. In Catalan it would be “Són talibans!”
Artículo completo, aquí

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