Language & Identity

Language & Identity

(1) Is the Catalan language dying ?
No. Over 10 million people speak Catalan in 4 European states: Spain, France, Andora & Italy.In Spain it is spoken in Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Valencia and parts of Aragon and Murcia. Some 161 universities around the world impart Catalan language and culture courses.Catalan is the 1st language to have its own internet domain .CAT in the world.

(2) Is it true that very few young people speak Catalan and most do not want to learn it ?
No. More 15 to 34 year olds speak Catalan than official EU languages such as Danish, Finnish, Slovakian, Croatian or Latvian. In fact it is the 14th most spoken language in the European Union.Catalan is the 7th most learned language among young Europeans - just behind English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Italian.

(3) Is it true that foreigners living in Catalonia are not interested in learning Catalan ?
No. 82% of foreigners living in Catalonia understand the Catalan language which is an increase of 21% in the last 10 years. A remarkable 40% of European residents in Catalonia speak Catalan.

(4) What is the legal position of the Catalan language ?

Article 3.1 of the Spanish Constitution defines Spanish (Castilian) as the State's only official language. Spain is the only democratic State that does not recognise a language spoken by more than 10% of its citizens. It is not allowed to be used in the Spanish Parliament and the government will not let it become one of the official languages of the EU.

Who are Plataforma per la Llengua ?

The Plataforma per la Llengua is the Catalan-language NGO. Created in 1993 it is a non-governmental organisation with over 16,000 members. it works to promote the Catalan language as a social cohesion tool. Their mission is to support the Catalan language - doing so through 'the values that define us: efficiency and efficacy, pragmatism and the pursuit of tangible results'. They work across the socio-economic and audiovisual sphere, in linguistic welcoming and settlement for new-comers, in the universities, in education and the administrations, to mention but some of their target areas.


The Welsh language is one of the treasures of Wales. It is part of what defines us as people and as a nation. The Welsh language continues to thrive, in fact, around half a million people in Wales speak Welsh; that's around 19% of the population. The majority of people living in Wales can speak English, making Wales a bilingual nation. The Welsh Language Act 1993, Government of Wales Act 1998, and Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 provide that the Welsh and English languages should be treated equally. Public bodies are required to prepare and implement a Welsh Language Scheme. In 2017, the Welsh Government unveiled a new strategy, 'Cymraeg 2050', to increase the number of Welsh speakers in Wales to 1 million by 2050 and to build a platform in society for Welsh to be spoken more often.

Today the province of Chubut in Argentina, where most Welsh immigrants settled in the 19th Century, has a population of 550,000 people. Of these, some 50,000 can claim Welsh ancestry and 5,000 speak the Welsh language.

Construction work began recently on a new 'Language Monument' in Cardiff. The International Language Monument project was established more than 10 years ago in a bid to create a statue to commemorate international languages. It should be ready by 21st February 2019 which is 'International Language Day. The day promotes linguistic diversity and multilingual education, as well as raising awareness of different languages and traditions in cultures across the world.

There is a good article in the Western Mail about the need to debate our Welsh identity. Laura McAllister says: We need "to acknowledge that many people are pretty laid back about their national identity and see little, if any, contradiction between calling themselves Welsh and British. Some will talk about "the country as a whole" and I'm afraid they don't mean Wales; many quite like the Royal family too and, last year, over a third of us voted Conservative". Consider do you feel Welsh, British or both ?