Catalan Review

El Català: Una Llengua de Molts Pocs Néts

Catalan Review (2010), 24, (1), 373–385.

Abstract

Catalan represents, in terms of linguistic weight, in Spain what Spanish represents in the United States: the largest minority (or minoritized) language. However, Catalan is a language of few sons, and even fewer grandsons. Following press reports, we found that it was not until 2009 that Catalan-language journalists commonly used the word «problema » when describing immigration, breaking an unwritten political correctness code by naming the «immigration challenge.» Herein, we maintain that current levels of massive immigration constitute a threat to the survival of Catalan. Catalan habitual usage can be expected to continue to decline (see Censos linguistics, 1980s until present). No amount of polite euphemism will change this outcome. Exogamic marriage, changes in Catalan public schools, the expansion of ethnic neighborhoods, and a collective fatalistic attitude — all of these factors contribute to this decline. Thus, in 2011, Catalan is una llengua de molt pocs néts.

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O'Donnell, Paul