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Sociolingüística catalana
Autumn 2001

Catalan language organizations. Observations on the language organizations archive and database,
by Efrem Sebastiŕ i Ortigosa

This research has been commissioned by the Institute of Catalan Sociolinguistics in the framework of practicals of the Political Sciences Degree at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, with a dual aim: to create a database of organizations involved in the language standardisation process, and to obtain the maximum amount possible of classified information on the organizations that defend and promote the Catalan language. 




Methodology and description

Results of the observation
Typologies according to the scope of activity
Territorial distribution
Territorial scope
Media presence
Relations between organizations


Although the main aim and the bulk of the project was to create an archive and a database, we have been able to use the information we collated and classified to make a series of observations about the situation of language associations. These observations are provisional and approximative, but they provide us with a panoramic view of the situation of language organizations in the Catalan-speaking territories and with general data concerning

  • the typologies and scope of the organizations’ activity

  • their territorial distribution

  • their geographical scope

  • their presence in the mass media and the relations that they have established with each other.

Methodology and description

To obtain the definitive list of organizations, a series of criteria has been applied to the associations that appear in a series of lists and directories:

  • present at the Primera Trobada d’Entitats per la Llengua (I Congress of Language Organizations)

  • Database of Websites of Catalan language organizations and institutions

  • directories of language associations from a range of Internet portals.

According to these criteria, the subjects under study are:

  • independent civil organizations whose primary aim is to defend or promote the Catalan language

  • those whose main activity is as above

  • organizations that work for the expansion of language whether in general terms or in a specific area of society

  • organizations from all over the Catalan-speaking territories, whether regional or national, local or district-wide (comarcal).

The information obtained from this research was mainly contributed by the organizations themselves directly by completing a questionnaire that was sent to the organizations or indirectly by gathering the information from the Websites of the organizations. The Press Archive of the Sociolinguistics Documentation Centre at the Directorate General of Language Policy and documents and projects related to linguistic associations and activism were also consulted.(1)

The result of this project is centred on two resources for consulting information: an archive with all of the information obtained on the organizations, and a database to classify this information. Given the purpose of this project – providing access to the maximum amount of information on language associations as a whole – this archive is very important. It contains all the material related to the associations – in hard copy – that was uncovered during the research, classified into alphabetically-ordered folders. Each folder contains the completed questionnaire, extracts from the Website and other documents from the organization, publications and material published by the associations themselves, and press articles on the organization. The database classifies and structures the information extracted from the archive into 18 fields, and mechanizes the search for information on the organizations. This database provides information about the formal data and contact information of the organizations, their nature and activities. It allows us to find information more quickly and easily and to know what information we possess on each organization in the archive, which grows accordingly.

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