divendres, 5 de desembre de 2014

Attempt at ‘linguicide’ during Franco’s dictatorship

The repression of Franco’s regime is often seen from its most cruel point of view, that of the unpunished murders, the inexplicable disappearances or the arbitrary tortures. The repression and persecution of the regime had, however, more subtle forms of political influence. The censure penetrated into all aspects of daily life and, markedly, into the language, the text books destined for learning, the publications and radio broadcasting. Everything was under the control of the censor, the regime’s institutions and those who supported the ‘Falange’ party.
The law approved by Franco’s government, on April 5th 1938, when Franco’s troops penetrated the Catalan soil, left the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (passed by the Constitutional Courts of the Spanish II Republic) without effect. As a consequence, the Catalan language, which was official, together with Spanish, was left out of the Parliament of Catalonia, the Administration, school and University. Its public use was prohibited and it was consigned to home life, which meant it was pushed back into a situation of diglossia, that is, where Spanish was predominant over Catalan. Catalan was choked and hidden and its public use was tauntingly despised. The region was covered with posters and signs where one could read ‘If you are Spanish, speak Spanish’, ‘If you are Spanish, speak the language of the Empire’. If a citizen was heard speaking Catalan in a public space, he was addressed with phrases like ‘Speak in the Christian tongue’ or ‘Let’s see when you stop barking’. Public signs with offensive sentences like ‘Prohibited to spit and speak in Catalan’ could be read.

The historian Borja de Riquer considers that ‘Franco’s regime tried out a ‘Spanishisation’ and assimilation policy in Catalonia by imposing the Castilian culture and language as the only official ones’ and he recalls a service from March 16th 1939 from the undersecretary of Public Order: ‘The regional languages must be prohibited when they do not properly serve a greater ambient or a particular greater sphere of promotion of the principles of the Movement and the work of the Government’. 

The ‘Catalanophobia’ and the obsession to eliminate any vestige of ‘Catalanity’ reached the ridiculous extremes that Josep Benet gathers in ‘Catalunya sota el règim franquista’ [Catalonia under Franco’s regime]. Thus, he explains that the sign of Hotel Sabadell in Burgos had to be covered up, to hide its name, in spite of the fact that it had no tie with the toponym, but that it reflected the name of the owner: Just Sabadell. This man, who was pushed by the ambient, had to renounce his surname because of the analogy with the city in the Vallès area. An even more significant event, which is gathered in the same work, is that immediately after the occupying fascist troops entered into the city of Barcelona, the popular Catalonia square became the ‘Spanish Army Square’ (also known as ‘National Army Square’ in other documents of the time).

In this context, many prominent personalities had to go into exile because of their ideas, which were contrary to those of the winners. With regards to the language, the most paradigmatic case is, without a doubt, that of Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, 1868 - Prada, Conflent, 1948), who was the author of the official ‘Gramàtica catalana’ [Catalan grammar] of the IEC (1918) and of the ‘Diccionari general de la llengua catalana’ [General dictionary of the Catalan language] (1932). Franco’s regime was especially hard upon Fabra’s work, in a way that when, in 1943, the first books – those of Jacint Verdaguer – in Catalan were allowed to be published, under the supervision of Josep M. Cruzet, the condition was that they not be published in accordance with the rules of the Institute of Catalan Studies. Therefore, they were published as if they were written in a language without codification.

The concealed policies of the regime also greatly damaged the Catalan language. Thus, in 1939, the Governing minister Ramón Serrano Súñer nominated Luis de Galinsoga as director of ‘La Vanguardia (Española)’, which was the most important newspaper published at that time in Barcelona. Always with the support of General Franco, of whom he was the panegyric and biographer, Galinsoga came from the direction of Sevilla’s ‘ABC’ and had stood out due to his written pieces and blatant anti-Catalan manifestations. In 1959, a popular campaign, headed by the Catalan people, managed to get Galinsoga expelled from the helm of the newspaper, as a repulsive reaction against the phrase ‘all Catalans are shits’, which Galinsoga had pronounced while attending a church service given in Catalan.

The debate about the attempt to murder Catalan by Franco’s regime again became centre stage during a discourse of King Juan Carlos, on April 23rd 2001, during the delivery of the ‘Cervantes Prize’ to the writer Francisco Umbral: ‘Our language was never an imposed one, but one of encounters; nobody was ever forced to speak in Spanish: it was the most varied people who made the language of Cervantes their own, out of free will’. The King’s words caused an enormous consternation, especially taking into account that it was a text prepared by the ministry of Culture of the government of José M. Aznar.

The consequences of the linguistic prohibitions and persecutions of the Spanish dictatorship still continue to this day. As the philologist Joan Solà, who won the Prize of Honour of the Catalan Letters 2009, has said, ‘the poorness of present day Catalan only comes from the fact that it has not been able to be taught as a normal language and, therefore, has not been able to make the student long to read good authors, which is an excellent way to acquire a rich and precise language’. In Benet’s point of view, ‘the nation, individual and language is the same thing (...) It is like separating the blood from the body. The language is spiritually as strong as blood. The Catalan people have always been politically subdued’.

More about discrimination of Catalan here


Dr. Joan Badia About the author of this article for Help Catalonia Special Collaborators On February 4th, 2010 the BBC reported the death of the last speaker of Bo, a language in the Andaman Islands, India. With the death of this woman, an entire language disappeared, together with a culture and a way of relating to nature. Every time...

Another attack against the Catalan people

About the author of this article for Help Catalonia Dr. Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera Spanish Linguist and Professor at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid The recent verdict of the Spanish Supreme Court, which establishes that the Spanish language must be the language of teaching, together with Catalan, in Catalonia’s educational...

Help Catalonia is an association that receives no subsidies whatsoever from the Spanish state, the Catalan government or indeed any other organisation. We, the people who work in this project, do so on a voluntary basis and for no financial gain whatsoever.
If you like the task we are performing and would like to help us carry on our undertaking you may make a donation through bank account No. IBAN ES69 0049 4751 4421 9506 0811 
Or you may also make a donation via PayPal clicking the button "Donate" . THANK YOU

About Catalan language

What is Catalan? Catalan is the language of Catalonia. It had already evolved from common Latin by the 9th century and belongs to the western branch of the Romance languages. Also: What is Catalan? A language or a dialect of Spanish? Where is Catalan spoken? The linguistic domain extends over 68,000 km2 in four different...

English isn’t spoken in the United States

Let’s imagine for a moment that Barack Obama’s government in the United States decides that the language spoken there is “American” and has nothing to do with English. Sure, it is clear that there are differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between the English spoken in the British Isles and in the USA, but nobody, especially not...

Judge removes custody of 4-yr-old from mother for having brought her to Catalonia

A Tenerife judge took custody of a 4-year-old girl away from her mother because of the supposed linguistic barriers that moving her to Catalonia, Ripollet near Barcelona in this case, imply. According to a report in the newspaper El Punt Avui, the ruling of the District Judge in Güímar, Tenerife, says that because the parents do not...

Linguistic discrimination in Europe, the catalan case

The General Representative to the EU of the Government of Catalonia delivered a speech on Wednesday last on the occasion of a Conference held in the European Parliament on linguistic discrimination in the EU, with an emphasis on the Catalan case. A report entitled “Linguistic discrimination in Europe, the Catalan Case”, which had been...

Spanish Supreme Court insists Spanish must be teaching language in Catalonia if requested by one pupil

 In appeal, the Spanish Supreme Court (TS) has sided with the family who requested their son to be taught in Spanish in a public school, alongside Catalan. Despite the Constitution not advocating pupils had “the right to be taught in Spanish”, but only stating they had “the right and duty to know Spanish”, a dozen families have requested...

More about discrimination of Catalan here

74-Year Old Kicked Out of Train for Speaking Catalan: Rosa Parks Did Not Surrender, Neither Will Catalonia

On 5 December an employee of Spanish railway operator RENFE expelled 74-old Josep Maria Sagrera and his 4-year old grandson from a train because he dared to address her in Catalan. The employee shouted “I hate Catalans, and now, because I say so, you are getting out!”, she made the train stop, and kicked out both. The incident took...

A six-month prison sentence, a 1,000 euro fine and his driving license suspended for speaking in Catalan

Carles Mateu Blay, who is native of Almenara (Castelló), was retained for more than three hours during a breath test in Almassora last June. The reasons why he was held were speaking in Catalan and refusing to speak in Spanish to two police agents from Guàrdia Civil. Finally, he was sentenced to jail for six months for disobedience...

"I was expelled from the Spanish Parliament for speaking Catalan"

My name is Alfred Bosch, I am a Catalan and I am member of  Parliament at the Spanish Congress, representing a pro-independence coalition, headed by the Catalan Republican Left. On April 11th, our three representatives were expelled from the Spanish parliament. Why? Because we were speaking our native tongue, we were speaking in...

Spanish Education Minister against Catalan Schools

The huge controversy caused by Spanish Education Minister Wert’s efforts to undermine the Catalan school system, and his new law to “improve education quality” hides something more than a simple attack to our language. Indeed, this minister-hooligan has other goals in mind.     Reading the draft, we can see Wert's...

Council of Europe urges Spain to conduct judicial proceedings in Catalan

The evaluation report by the Council of EuropeCommittee of Experts  is a clear textshowing Spain is not doing its duty. Catalan language is being harassed in the judicialproceedings. As the report itself says: “On the basis of the observations made bythe Committee of Experts in its second evaluation report, the Committee ofMinisters...

Spanish minister Wert: a 1926 precedent

The policy of Spanishizing, or even culturally colonizing Catalonia, is nothing new. Not even Spanish Minister of Education Mr Juan Ignacio Wert's proposal of relegating Catalan to an optional language in Catalonia. The historical document above recently referred to by journalist @AntonioMaestre, publishes a Royal Decree which includes...

Help Catalonia is an association that receives no subsidies whatsoever from the Spanish state, the Catalan government or indeed any other organisation. We, the people who work in this project, do so on a voluntary basis and for no financial gain whatsoever.
If you like the task we are performing and would like to help us carry on our undertaking you may make a donation through bank account No. IBAN ES69 0049 4751 4421 9506 0811 
Or you may also make a donation via PayPal clicking the button "Donate" . THANK YOU

Spanish Education Reform Would Suit Dictator Franco

Parents, teachers, civil society and Catalan government all oppose Spanish Education minister Wert's education reform. Catalan education association Somescola considers the Wert education reform made public yesterday would be in keeping with the times of the anti-Catalan Franco regime. The Catalan education platform Somescola considers...
Read more »

'The Guardian' sees the Catalans as ‘people under threat’ by Spain

The British newspaper The Guardian has produced a very interesting interactive map based on the newly released "Peoples Under Threat" index from Minority Rights Group International (MRG). This index is an annual report that uses statistical data to identify situations around the world where communities are at risk of mass killing. It...
Read more »

0 comentaris:

Publica un comentari a l'entrada