While, intuitively, the term linguistic
competence is likely to be understood by any non-expert, we would explain briefly as
With this factor
we refer to the way the linguistic knowledge of the staff is fitted for the post they
occupy. To know whether the linguistic knowledge of the workers is adequate for the work
they do (according to the category or group they belong to, if they have to deal with the
public and the functions they carry out) we can provisionally establish preliminary standard
We describe the
meaning of the term linguistic profile as relation the individual linguistic
profile with the post occupied in consonance with the Certificate awarded by the JQCV
(Board of Qualifications for Knowledge of Valencian) at the Chancery of Culture of the
Generalitat of Valencia:
speak of linguistic profiles we refer to the sum of the linguistic abilities necessary to
carry out satisfactorily the range of communicative acts required by a given employment.
Accordingly, the more reference points there are in the job description, the easier it
will be to identify the linguistic requirements needed.
The formulating of
some basic guidelines by which to define linguistic profiles is necessary above all if we
wish to have a practical guide with which to orientate the management of a given company
when deciding the degree of linguistic competence that a worker needs to occupy a given
profiles require sufficient competence for the demands of the labour market, and this
means, often, the need for employees to undergo a flexible cycle of ongoing training and
A proposal for
establishing correspondence the levels of Valencian recognised by the Knowledge of
Valencian Qualifications Board and the different professional groups is as follows:
Level of oral comprehension (understand)
Level of written
Level of oral expression (speak)
Level of written expresion (write)
Certificate issued by the JQCV
|Personnel who have no contact with the public
|Personnel who attend the general public
Thus, 37 % of the
employees at Sagunt Local Council do have sufficient linguistic competence for the post
they occupy. While this percentage is low, it (the Linguistic Competence factor of the
employees) is above the mean established for the organisation as a whole.
Factors where the
employees have a direct effect, such as the production of documents for both internal and
external use is not quite 34 % overall (mean). On this basis, it could be thought that
workers at the Sagunt Local Council do not have sufficient linguistic competence for the
work they do.
In part it is true
that they do not, in the majority of cases, have adequate linguistic knowledge for the
linguistic profile of the posts they occupy. On the other hand, however, we will see that
in the case of the linguistic profile for the elementary standard, (5) some 31% of the council
staff have sufficient level to be able to speak and write in Valencian.
Thus, despite the
existence of local government employees with sufficient ability and linguistic competence,
and the fact that this linguistic competence is backed up by technological and
human resources (information technology, dictionaries, translation service, etc.) the
majority do not use Valencian habitually, in their official writing.
One could put
forward as a possible cause the existence of insecurity, diffidence, fear of making
spelling mistakes or the general lack of linguistic knowledge. Additionally, there is the
absence of specific guidelines for writing in Valencian.
We note here that
a Municipal By-law for Normalisation, agreed to by the politicians and workers'
representatives supports the use of Valencian among the workers themselves (at least among
the 37% that are able to do so).
We now proceed to
analyse factors 1 and 3:
1: IMAGE AND LABELLING
3: LINGUISTIC GUIDELINES
To evaluate the
image and Signs factor, researchers looked at the notices and both internal and external
indications, the advertising carried out in informative campaigns and the announcements
the organisation publishes in the press.
The score, in the
case of the Image and Signs factor, 36 %, is far from attaining the level of an ideal or
normal situation where all signs and similar elements are written in Valencian.
The guidelines for
language use, also with a score of 36 %, refers to the adoption or otherwise of linguistic
guidelines (Valencian or Spanish) in the different activities carried out by the Council.
Both factors are
situated above the overall mean for the organisation. However both factors are low
precisely because related to the language planning carried out by the institutions.
Even so, the
factors that have raised the score here, while still evidently being a low percentage, are
the existence of items of linguistic autonomy and back-up, basically dictionaries and
grammars, distributed by the Gabinet de Promociˇ del ValenciÓ (6) (Office for the Promotion of
4: DOCUMENTS FOR EXTERNAL USE
defined as printed documents for external use, provides us with the lowest score of all
the factors looked at.
To arrive at the
percentage, we looked at the documents generated by the Sagunt council for external use.
Besides documents, we looked at stamps and seals, the elements that traditionally give
the seal of officialdom to the documents produced by local government.
The fact that this
is the factor with the lowest score of all is explained by the fact that the stamps and
seals had not been renewed or replaced in a long time.
majority of these elements are produced in Spanish so that their renovation and
normalisation to Valencian included within a campaign on image for the outside world, is
not a priority line of action. It would involve extra spending and in many cases there is
no political will for this.
The result is that
there is not an overall external image which would give Valencian the "official"
prestige it so much needs.
5: EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION
6: INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION AND COMMUNICATION
In referring to
external communication we refer to texts, both oral (7) and written, put out by the
organisation, and not in printed form.
documentation and communication include elements such as internal circulars, calling of
meetings, orders of the day and the minutes of meetings, budgets, memorandums, the
language(s) used in meetings, etc.
communications and internal documentation we find the lowest scores for linguistic
This result is
surprising since, despite the fact that the staff have a general score for linguistic
competence which is above the mean (37% for linguistic competence, compared with the
overall mean of 34 %) the internal documents achieve a score of less than 34 % as a
The score on this
factor for the workers, 37%, does not match the scores for internal and external
communications, 32% in both instances.
Conclusions and challenges for the future
the results of this study we have arrived at the following conclusions.
In general there
is, at the Sagunt Council offices a fair percentage of workers who could write in
Valencian, but they don't in fact do so.
Valencian is not used at the same level for interpersonal oral communication (speech
between co-workers) nor when dealing with the public.
It could be said,
in any case, that a part of the staff at the Sagunt Council are fluent enough with the
necessary theoretical knowledge to write and speak in Valencian.
On the other hand
there are attitudes among the population (8) (and we need to include the Town
Hall workers of Sagunt in the latter) in favour of the fostering and promotion of
Valencian: the population and their institutions are predisposed to the use of Valencian
to increase in all ambits.
All in all, and
despite the above, the impression produced by the IndexplÓ results at the Sagunt Local
Council is one of dispersion and incoherence owing to the lack of unification of
linguistic criteria or guidelines, or we could actually say the absence of such criteria
Looking at the
IndexplÓ results, it is surprising that the linguistic ability of the employees should be
the highest-scoring factor despite the fact that it still leaves much to be desired.
Our evaluation is
that the factor which presents the lowest percentage of normalisation, external
documentation, would be the least costly to adapt to Valencian. It would constitute a
first step forward toward a change of image as well as an incentive for the workers.
It would be
possible, at this very moment, to co-ordinate and direct the group of town hall workers
who have sufficient linguistic competence to write in Valencian.
Recall that at the
present time there are already enough information technology tools to enable this step to
be taken. There is an internal computer network, there are dictionaries and vocabularies
that can be adapted to the new situation.
The comments made
by Marc Leprŕtre in his article on the language situation in the PaÝs ValenciÓ
(Valencian Country) continue to be pertinent.
We are totally in
agreement with the causes he suggests for the slow progress (we would say absence of
progress) towards language normalisation in the Valencian Country:
apparently has a high degree of legitimisation in the region (Valencian Country) since it
is supported by a considerable amount of legislation. Despite that, the weak
institutionalisation of the language in the community does not permit the homogeneous
extension of progress in all sectors. In effect, the extension in the social use of
Catalan in day-to-day life is less than what we find in more formal ambits, for example in
the school system. (
context, the 1983 Act (LUEV. the Use and Teaching of Valencian Act) presents very patchy
results depending on the ambit of application. Thus, a considerable amount of effort has
been invested in education (
) while the use of Catalan in the Autonomous Government
(Valencian Government) and private companies leaves much to be desired. Thus these latter
seem to be acting in favour of language shift away from Catalan, which will be
irreversible if a set of language policy strategies are not immediately set in
The absence of a
language policy process in the Valencian Country leads to poverty, in the quality and
quantity of the sociolinguistic studies of our territory. Not just in the area of the
Autonomous government (government of Valencia), but also in other seemingly more
accessible areas such as the local or county levels of government (town halls and county
characteristic of the few studies we have found is the lack of a clear diagnosis and