Carles Salvador, politician of
language and avantguard educator along the lines of Alexandre Galí and Delfí Dalmau, is
the personification of the humanist intellectual, fierce defender of the unity of Catalan
in the Community of Valencia, and defender of the Catalan Republic. He theorises on
language shift and proposes linguistic conscience and the self-centring of the Catalan
nation, from Salses to Guardamar... against Spanish imperialist political interference. He
demands that official status be bestowed upon Valencian and supports the theory of passive
polyglottism and international linguistic egalitarianism of Dalmau and the Esperantists.
refers to Catalan as a "national language" and always speaks in terms of the
speaking community, making a more society-centred, rather than language-centred,
hypothesis; he uses the definition of the great humanist, Lluís Vives, on the importance
of language as the basic principle of all human societies and considers that "To
conserve a language, then, is to maintain the reality of the existence of a nation".
This hypothesis is wholly modern, since it highlights the idea of language that is linked
to existence, rather than simply the essence, as authors in Jocs Florals competitions had
done; he is aware of the reality of "language change" and refers to language
shift: "A language dies when nobody speaks it". As early as in 1936, he makes
use of the terms "invading language" and "languages in contact", and
is perfectly aware of the start of the diglossic era in the Valencian Country, referring
to the theme illustrated by Lluís Millan in El Cortesano (1561) of placing
Valencian into the mouths of morons and Spanish on the lips of lords, and of hiding the
peoples own language: "conceal the Valencian language". He also refers to
self-hatred, prestige/stigma, and to the conscience and need for language use. He suggests
as a model for language policy that of the Helvetic Confederation
who we deal with last because, in a way, he is very much a synthesis of the above authors,
opens up the path to sociolinguistic science with his explicit hypotheses on the need for
study and critical development. He ironically warns that if things in the Principality go
unharnessed, we will end up "speaking Valencian", and the metaphor is not a
phonetics- or morphology-related issue. He correctly and ironically condemns shift
ideologies of a colonial mentality and considers that languages, within a context of
conflict, become tools or forms of domination; he stresses the importance of linguistic
facilitation as a means of absorbing languages; he does not dismiss the self-hatred factor
that he calls "bad conscience" or "alienation"; he explains that the
language issue is a political issue; he looks for internal responsibilities in the process
of language shift and makes a proposal for sociolinguistic sovereignty which, at the
beginning of the twenty-first century is still wholly current: linguistic activism and
language planning, a return to Catalan monolingualism, self-centring and defence of the
common language of the Catalan people in the north and south of the same nation. To live
4. Factors influencing language use
section of this research (a) will comment on some basic factors influencing
language use and (b) put forward some proposals: (a) motivation and
perception of use, action and offer of use, linguistic competence, importance of
macrospheres of administration, teaching and mass media and the changes that have taken
place in these areas, attitudes and standards of language use... (b) We need to
change the standards of current use, intervene in the perception of use of language,
convince second and third-generation immigrants of the need to become the new
Catalan-speakers, welcome new immigrants in Catalan, neutralise the cultural shock and
invite them to use Catalan; we need to promote associations among young people and make
them aware that will is more important than ability, that action (positive models) is more
decisive than reflection; we need to increase the number of hours of Catalan and reinforce
Catalan as a subject (more resources, smaller groups...), create a Catalan culture subject
at secondary level and carry out linguistic immersion, also at secondary level; we need to
promote awareness of the usefulness of Catalan and eliminate the perverse connotations of
Catalan; we should refrain from Latinising the language; we should conduct pilot-schemes
and promote research on the reasons for the continued negative standards of use; we must
associate Catalan with modernity through popular and mass mobilisations such as Acampallengua;
we should introduce new measures to promote reading, not pay too much attention to issues
of correction, but avoid the use of Spanish barbarisms; we should make people aware that
Catalan is not incompatible with any other culture and that standardisation also means
bilingualisation; we must create a need for use of Catalan and supraregional bodies and
language policy associations common to the whole of the Catalan territory; we should
promote an interlanguage for Catalans that is not Spanish or any other imperial language;
we need to promote and aid linguistic activism and ensure that existing organisations are
effectively unified or coordinated.
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Rafael L. (1971): Idioma i prejudici. Palma de Mallorca: Editorial Moll, 1975.
Virgili, Antoni (1916): El nacionalisme. Barcelona: Edicions del Cotal, 1978.
Carrión, J. M. (1987): Un futuro para nuestro pasado. Estella: Gràficas Lizarra.
Camardons, Jordi (1998): Poliglotisme i raó. El discurs ecoidiomàtic de Delfí Dalmau.
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