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Sociolingüística catalana

CECOT Companies and their Language Uses, Attitudes and Services, by the Institut DEP, Anna Prunés and Joan Solé i Camardons


The twenty-point difference in the use of Catalan in oral and written internal communication reveals an increased use of spoken Catalan in informal situations between employees, while Spanish is still more dominant in written communication.

At the two poles, employees of the services sector always communicate with each other orally in Catalan, while industry uses both Catalan and Spanish. At this level, small-medium enterprises use Catalan much more often, whereas microcompanies and large enterprises tend to use Catalan less in this area.

C. Payslips and employment contracts
Spanish is the language of this type of document in 58% of companies who acknowledged that Catalan is seldom or never used in this area. However, one in four companies surveyed declared that they often or always used Catalan in company payslips and employment contracts. A further 5.3% of companies stated that they sometimes used this language.

3.5. Advertising and written communication with customers and suppliers

A. Advertising (press, radio and television)
Although, by and large, Catalan is the language of advertising, there is a certain diversity as regards language use in this field: 32.5% often or always used Catalan, whereas 11.5% sometimes used it and 28.3% seldom or never used this language. However, 27.5% of the CECOT companies that we surveyed did not use this type of service.

By sectors of activity, commerce uses Catalan more frequently than the services or construction sectors, which employs a modest use, and the industrial sector, where use of this language is minority.

B. Leaflets and brochures
Although leaflets and brochures are also a form of advertising, Catalan is used less here than in advertisements in the press or on the radio or television. A total of 33.8% of companies surveyed acknowledged that they seldom or never used Catalan in their leaflets and brochures, 25% always or often used it and 8.3% sometimes used this language. However, 32.8% of CECOT companies did not advertise in this way.

The commerce sector makes the greatest use by far of Catalan in leaflets and brochures, whereas construction companies make a more modest use of the language, and industry has the lowest score in this area.

C. Forms and invoices
A total of 51% of CECOT companies never used Catalan in their forms and invoices, whereas 34.5% often or always did so and 10.3% did so only sometimes.

Considerable differences can be observed between sectors of activity: although construction companies, commerce and services mainly use Catalan in their forms and invoices, the industrial sector make a minority use of it.

D. Written communication with clients
Written communication with clients is subject to the language preference of the latter and to the language usually used in relations with them. There is a strong tendency to use Catalan in written communication with clients: 37.5% of companies often or always use it and 23.8% sometimes use this language. However, 32.6% seldom or never use Catalan for this type of communication.

The services and commerce sectors chiefly use Catalan at this level of communication with clients; construction companies use it more modestly, and industry makes a minority use of this language. Moreover, small-medium enterprises often or always use Catalan in their written dealings with clients, whereas this use becomes minority in microcompanies.

3.6. Language norms

Seven out of ten CECOT companies declared that they did not use their own set guidelines for the use of Catalan, although 28.3% did have some.

Of the companies that had set down their own guidelines, almost eight out of ten ruled that Catalan had to be used in dealings with clients, whether in person or over the telephone. Furthermore, almost two in three companies had adopted Catalan as the language of written communication with clients and of oral communication within the company. Lastly, 48.7% of companies had established a norm stating that Catalan was the language of internal written communication.

Despite the wide variety of companies, a greater number of managerial staff from the services sector have adopted Catalan as the language of use for all situations, whereas managers of industrial companies point out the use Catalan in written communication with clients. Large enterprises set down more guidelines for written communication with clients than other types of company.


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