Index of use
Linguistic uses in relations between citizens and public administration
Linguistic uses in the relations within the socio-economic domain
Mother tongue of the adult population of Andorra
Linguistic use at home, with friends and at work
Indicator of use
Linguistic uses in the relations of citizens with the public administration
Linguistic uses in the relations with the socio-economic domain
Outcomes and implications for the Andorran language policy
Analysis of the results and publication of Linguistic competences and uses among the
school population of Andorra
Uses and social representations of Catalan in Andorra
The story of the
sociolinguistic studies promoted by Andorran institutions is rather recent. The deep
changes experienced by the Andorran society during the second half of the XXth century
have caused important cultural and linguistic changes among the population, especially
during the last 25 years.
Up till then the
General Council (Consell General, i.e. the government) and many municipalities had to pass
legislation, in their respective domains of competences, on various cases or contexts in
which the language to be used was unclear. The agreement of the General Council dating
from the end of the 19th century (1898) via which the síndic ordered that "passports
and guides should be printed in the Catalan language and not in Spanish, because the
former is the own language of the Valleys" shows that the ambiguity in the
use of languages is a long-standing theme and is not related only to the most recent
directives issued to regulate on some irregular use of the language (mainly in labelling,
advertisements or documents submitted to the Andorran administration) was for many years a
useful and adequate tool assisting Catalan to hold the place which corresponds to it as
the official language. During the eighties the resources devoted to language policy were
clearly insufficient and it was this, probably, which led to the creation of two
fundamental institutions for the promotion of Andorran culture and the integration of
immigrants: the most relevant was the setting up of the Andorran education system from the
school year 1982-1983, while the second one was the creation in 1988 of the language
policy service to support private companies and commerce in the use of Catalan, to improve
the level of knowledge of the official language among the population and to promote its
use according to the article 2.1. of the Constitution and the directives of the General
Council regulating the use of Catalan.
After an initial
settling-in phase of this service, which for the first time provided resources in domains
other than that of education, the Andorran government expressed the need to analyse the
sociolinguistic situation in-depth. This was the origin of the survey on uses and
linguistic knowledge of the population in Andorra carried out in 1995.
studies had analysed the Andorran situation from different perspectives, for example
Lixfeld's work on "The relationship between social and linguistic structures in a
multiethnic state" (an authors study that made relevant contributions), or the
better known study by Boix & Farràs on use, competence and linguistic ideologies in
Andorran high schools, which focused on young people and combined both quantitative and
population census was carried out in 1989 and two questions were included on the languages
spoken at home. Unfortunately, the results were hardly useful due to the low number of
The 1995 survey
Despite of the
relevance and value of all the studies carried out previously by different researchers,
Andorran experts worried about the tendency to assimilate or make too hasty comparisons
between the Andorran situation and that of Catalonia which was quite different from both
psychological and sociological points of view, especially at that time. For this reason,
the highest priority of the survey was that it should be undertaken by Andorran experts
who nonetheless could be advised by Catalan specialists. This surveys was aimed at
providing the first sociolinguistic picture of the adult population of Andorra as a whole.
The study was
entitled Usos i coneixements lingüístics de la població dAndorra.
Its technical characteristics and main results are described below :
the municipalities of Andorra
in Andorra aged 14 and over.
the place of residence of the interviewee was selected according to randomised routes and
then the interviewees were chosen according to the quota method.
The sample was stratified by gender, nationality and place of residence (municipality)
Absolute margin of error
Error calculated for a probability below 95% if P=Q=50%.
Type of interview
25/30 minutes-long personal interview based on a previously structured questionnaire.
from September 11 to October 10, 1995 by a team of 19 interviewers.
2.1 Mother tongues
percentages of the population according to the mother tongues established in this first
survey were as follows:
2.2 Index of use
The frequency of
use of each of the languages in each situation was evaluated according to a scale ranging
from 1 to 5: 1 meaning "n", 2 "little", 3 "from time to
time", 4 "quite often" i 5 "very often". To set up the indicator
of use we took into account the relations within the household, with friends and at work
as these activities constitute the fabric of daily life, and later on a weighted average
was established between the frequencies of use in these domains. The results were:
2.3 Linguistic uses in relations between citizens and the public administration
In order to
analyse these uses we asked the interviewees which language they used in their relations
with the governmental offices, municipalities, social security offices (CASS), the
public-owned electricity company (FEDA), the public hospital (Hospital Nostra Senyora de
Meritxell), the immigration services, and in which languages they received the reply.
this emerged as the most favourable domain for the use of Catalan.
2.4 Linguistic use
in the relations within the socio-economic domain
taken into consideration were as follows:
when going to the doctor
when going to shopping centres;
when going to restaurants;
when taking a taxi or a bus;
when going to a shop;
when going to a bar, pub or disco;
when going to a bank, an insurance company or a service agency;
when going to the hairdresser.
We gathered the
different domains in order to establish the situations more or less favourable to the use
of Catalan. The results were as follows:
situations with a high
level of use of Catalan: banks/insurance companies/service agency and doctors/dentists;
situations with a fair level of use of Catalan: restaurants, shops and
situations with a low use of Catalan: taxi/bus, shopping centres and bars/pubs/