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The Catalan language’s vitality

Dimarts, 5 d'octubre de 2010 00:15 h

Catalan is a Roman language with some 12 million speakers. This figure ranks Catalan as the 8th most spoken language in the European Union, the 20th most published in the world and the 10th most translated language. It is present in 4 different states (Spain, Andorra, France and Italy), being official in Spain and Andorra. It was forbidden during the 40 years of General Franco’s fascist dictatorship. With the return of democracy, it has overcome a survival state and is nowadays experiencing a moment of great vitality. For instance, it is taught in 120 universities in 31 countries around the world.

Catalan is the vehicle language in child, teenager and university education. It also has a predominant status in the public sphere. Catalan’s coexistence with the Spanish language at the individual level is a model. Both Catalan and Spanish are considered by many citizens as their mother tongues and as adoption languages by immigrants, who have made Catalonia’s population grow to 7 and a half million inhabitants. New immigrants learn Catalan as a useful tool for integration.

As a referent Mediterranean capital, Barcelona is a city that clearly shows the linguistic coexistence between Catalan and Spanish. The city is increasingly holding onto English as a global tool, a global lingua franca to welcome visitors and passers-by. Launched by the Agència Catalana de Notícies to foster the country’s priority for internationalisation, the Catalan News Agency portal is a project to present Catalonia to the world in English.

The Internet is a great ally in the strategic operation of opening Catalonia to the world. As a news agency, we are very aware of the digital success regarding information proliferation and our brand’s reinforcement. Furthermore, we are an agency that mainly informs in Catalan through the Internet. The best way to show Catalan’s vitality is by the enormous activity on the net, as it is the 26th language in the world with the most indexed web pages. In addition, Catalan is the only language that has its own Internet domain, .cat, which is valid for websites written entirely or partially in Catalan, indistinctive from their theme.

Catalans are very dynamic in the global village and the social web. Catalan is the 8th language in the world with the most blogs, the 14th language in Google search (by the way, there is a www.google.cat) and the 13th language in Wikipedia, ranking higher than Norwegian and having an article growth rate higher than Chinese. Catalan is thus a commonly used language on the street and is expanding through the Internet.

(Article publicat a Catalan Views, la tribuna d'opinió de la Catalan News Agency.)


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