Monday, November 17, 2008

Què volem?

El passat 8 de novembre la revista The Economist va publicar l'article "How much is enough?" sobre la realitat nacional catalana. L'article contenia nombroses afirmacions inexactes o imprecises sobre la política, el govern i l'economia de Catalunya.

En aquesta pàgina fem difusió de l'escrit del professor Carles Boix, on s'expliquen i rebaten aquestes inexactituds, i demanem a la revista The Economist que, d'acord al seu compromís d'objectivitat, transparència i professionalitat, rectifiqui els errors que apareixen en el seu article.


Anonymous said...

Many of the comments made in this "public reply" are very unbalanced, and do not relfect at least my personal experiences of living in Catalonia.

Consider the following:

- Most children in Catalan state and state-subsidized schools in P3 (the first year of schooling aged 3-4 years) receive zero Spanish teaching at all: 100% Catalan. In the following years ths Spanish content is typically a very small number of hours a week. This is usually quite a violent experience for small children from non-Catalan-speaking families.

- Schools extra-curricular activities are only subsidized by the Catalan government if they are taught in Catalan, even resulting in things like English being taught in Catalan instead of English!

- To work in most public-sector positions in Catalonia, a certified level of Catalan is needed whereas there is no normal requirement on spoken or written Spanish, with a consequential effect on the use of Spanish by Catalan civil servants.

- Many public and private organizations in Catalonia bitterly complain about the low level of Spanish in the native workforce. Consider as an example the "COMISIÓN DEL MERCADO DE LAS TELECOMUNICACIONES" in Barcelona which regularly has to ask mainly Catalan applicants to try to use good Spanish.

- The statistics for people able to manage in the Catalan language are almost all based on long-term Catalan population (living in Catalonia more than 3 years). It does not reflect the approx 50% of Catalan population that would prefer to use Spanish if possible.

- About 200 to 300 businesses a year are prosecuted for not placing shop signs in Catalan. These signs are almost all in Spanish and can be understood by a higher proportion of the Catalan population than the equivalent sign in Catalan.

- Apartment owners are obliged by law to participate in a rotating presidency of the "community of neighbors", which they are obliged by law to conduct in Catalan rather than Spanish (even if none of them are Catalan speakers).

The basic point is this: there is a strong political discrimination against anything non-Catalan or non-Catalan-language in Catalonia. You may debate whether this is good or bad, but it does happen as a deliberate effect of Catalanist politics, and is the sorry experience of many people in Catalonia.

Xavi said...


- The data shows that Catalan children have equal or higher Spanish competency than their Spanish peers (please read the document again)

- In many (if not most) public-sector positions there is NOT a Catalan requirement. However, this is a problem, because you should expect that civil servants can use both official languages in Catalonia

- You use the example of "COMISIÓN DEL MERCADO DE LAS TELECOMUNICACIONES". This was just a political issue: workers and even executives did not want to move out from Madrid. The issue was not the language, but only that they wanted to stay in Madrid

- It is not true that "statistics able to manage in the Catalan language are almost all based on long-term Catalan population". It is very difficult to find anybody who does not speak Catalan (I don't know anybody), and it is very simple to find people who does not speak or even understand Catalan

- It is normal that businesses have signs in Catalan, since Catalan is an official language

- I don't know the law about "community of neighbors" compulsory use of Catalan, but I will check. Usually community of neighbors meetings, as any other meeting in Catalonia, anybody uses the language that she wants, with total normality (excepting the case where somebody does not understand Catalan, and everybody then starts to talk in Spanish - it never happens the opposite)

Please, double check the document (by the way, congratulations to the author), and you'll find information about how many people living in Catalonia perceive there is a problem with the language.