Lixfeld: Les llengües d'Andorra: Les relacions entre les estructures socials i les
lingüístiques en un Estat multiètnic
4. Pere Notó's thesis on La identitat andorrana des d'una
perspectiva psicosociològica (Andorran identity from a psychosociological
Research objectives and hypothesis
Methodology and data collection: the conducting of 20 in-depth interviews
Results and conclusions
Theoretical framework, hypothesis and objectives
Results and conclusions
Sociolinguistic study by Emili Boix and Jaume Farràs on Usos, coneixements i
ideologies lingüístics dels joves de secundària andorrans
Introduction, justification and objectives
Methodology and methods of data collection
Results and conclusions
Principality of Andorra (468 km2) had 46,166 inhabitants in 1989 (1989 census),
of whom 10,938 (24,3%) had Andorran nationality. Some 44.5% of the population of the
Principality were Catalan-speaking, a figure which had been swelled by the large number of
immigrants from Catalonia.
The way of life
has changed very rapidly. In forty years Andorra has gone from being a poor country, with
an economy based very largely on agriculture and livestock, to having a per capita income
of 15,403 dollars in the year 1987, with an economy based on the tertiary sector (77% of
the population). An area that thrives on tourism and commerce, it receives visitors from
many different countries. According to figures issued in 1986, these were mainly from
France (43.56%) and Spain (35.67%) followed at a distance by Belgians (6.13%), Italians
(3.9%), British (3.53%) and Germans (2.11%). Spanish and French are therefore the
languages most used by visitors. In fact, almost everyone in Andorra speaks these two
languages, which are almost always llengües deducació (that is, Andorrans use
Spanish or French to speakers of these languages out of courtesy).
parishes into which the Principality is divided exhibit different demographic and
official language is Catalan, with every right to be so. It is the language used by all
departments of the Administration and has to be used in any communication with them.
Official forms are in Catalan and this language has to be used in all official demands:
This circumstance is not felt to be an imposition, rather it is the way it has always been
and no one has suggested anything else. (See Ganyet, R. et al.: "La
situació lingüística a Andorra, Catalunya Nord, la Franja i lAlguer",
coordinated by Marí, I. (1992): La llengua dels països catalans. Barcelona,
Fundació Jaume Bofill, pp. 87-88).
1. General introduction
introductory words and with some data on each of the parishes regarding its demographic
make-up in terms of more or less indigenous or foreign extraction (1) the authors present a barium meal
picture of the Andorran linguistic situation at the time of writing. "In
general," they observe, "both Catalan and French have lost considerable ground
to Spanish, which has emerged as the lingua franca in the large urban areas".
They continue with
a rapid presentation of the educational structure and system which revolves around three
types of schools: there were on the one hand, schools depending on the Spanish government (2) consisting of a primary school in every
parish and an institut (sixth form college) at Aixovall. Spanish was used
preferentially in writing and teaching in these schools, even though the students might
talk in Catalan outside the classroom, and some teachers appointed by the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs- taught partly in Catalan.
were the French schools with a similar level of coverage: one French primary school in
each parish and a large lycée in Andorra la Vella, with French-speaking teachers to
guarantee the learning of French language and culture. While for a number of years the aim
seemed to have been achieved of having French as the language in general use in all areas
of life at the lycée, above all in the corridors and the playground- this had been lost
again in recent decades in favour of Spanish.
Lastly, there were
three confessional (Catholic) schools: one at Santa Coloma and the other two at les
Escaldes, with a tendency to follow the pattern of Spanish education with the difference
being that the language used in class was the language of the teacher and school
activities were in Catalan. For several years Catalan had gradually been being introduced
into the classroom on a triple front or strategy: working to increase knowledge, use and
correctness when teaching students about Andorran culture and institutions.
In order to endow
students with knowledge of specific cultural elements of Andorran society, in 1982 the
Government set about creating the Escola andorrana (Andorran school). The precedent for
this was a report issued in 1972, compiled by the Consell General de les Valls. The
intention was to introduce a programme of Andorranisation of the French and Spanish
in order to ensure knowledge of the Catalan language, as well as familiarity with the
geography, history and institutions of the country, a commendable way of preserving its
(that is, where couples were from different language groups), had led to the existence of
many couples with mixed language use, and led to many different options or results,
usually favourable to extension in the use of Spanish, depending on the parish, level of
education and occupation of the parents among other variables. That is, many linguistic
situations at family or individual level were resolved in favour of Spanish or French,
depending on the parameters and the demographic and sociolinguistic structure of each of
the parishes and urban areas. At the same time there was continuing pressure from the
surrounding environment deriving from the French- and Spanish-speaking communities.
to the publication in NOVES SL. Jornal of Sociolinguistics, Winter
2002 of the article by Marta Pujol and Montserrat Badia, "The
studies implemented by the Andorran administration as a point of
reference for linguistic planning", it was obvious what
had to be done. There was a clear need to make available the analyses,
results and conclusions of the other previous or subsequent studies,
carried out with or without the support of the Andorran institutions,
and with or without academic aims.
In this article we
present three studies which are markedly different from each other, and not easily
compared in terms of approach, objectives and research methodology nor of the final
results achieved. These are the doctoral theses of Volker Lixfeld and Pere Notó, and a
research project carried out under the auspices of the Institut dEstudis
Andorrans- directed by Emili Boix and Jaume Farràs. They were completed before the macro
research projects carried out by the Andorra government. What still remains to be done,
undoubtedly in some subsequent monograph is the analysis of all materials that have been
collected and processed by students of the University of Perpignan, in the context of the
laboratory directed by professor Bernardó.
Volker Lixfeld Les llengües dAndorra: Les relacions entre les estructures
socials i les lingüístiques en un estat multiètnic (3)
In 1982, in the
prologue to his doctoral thesis, pioneer Volker Lixfeld, a researcher from the University
of Bochum, stated that "in the present work, the intention was to set out to describe
the linguistic situation in the Pyrenean state of Andorra", by means of "... an
exhaustive written interview, and an oral interview". According to the Introduction,
he saw in Andorra "... an ideal research area for discovering the relationship
between the linguistic phenomena and socioeconomic, political and cultural factors."
Like many another
explorer, Lixfeld fell in love, so to speak, with this micro-state the second
smallest in Europe, both in terms of its geographical area and population- nestling, as it
does, among the valleys of the Pyrenees. He adopted a line of investigation that was
relatively new, in a territory which, according to the introduction, "had been
ignored until now by linguists and sociologists, alike".
A country where
Catalan was the official language, but not the only medium of communication, where the
indigenous population constituted less than 30% of the total 30,000 inhabitants of the
country (at the time) and where the constant need for labour and the legend that the
economic possibilities of the little state were limitless, all seemed to work in detriment
of the Andorrans (and of Catalan?), ... a country where the official teaching of the
Catalan language was all but non-existent, in which a part of the foreign-born population
denied that they even understood Catalan, where both young children and adults
could be designated partially illiterate in their native language, and where a complex
political system made it difficult to adapt its structures to the social needs of the 20th
century,...". Andorra was, at that moment, such a population. It was multiethnic and
"multilingual with a growing foreign-born population in which the official language
has always been Catalan but never the only language in which its inhabitants
communicate", as the prologue duly pointed out.
From a scientific
point of view, Andorra seemed a veritable gift for that German researcher. In fact it was
a gift for any explorer working in any scientific area... A few years earlier it had been
the target for the anthropological gaze focused on it by the American researcher
Stancliff, when he wrote his doctoral thesis on Andorran customs entitled Cultural and
Ecological Aspects of Marriage, Succession, and Migration in a Peasant Community in the
Catalan Pyrenees, defended in 1966 at Columbia University.
Andorra was not
just attracting tourism, the financial sector and consumers, but also scientists and
scholars, too. And that had important effects
the Andorran state was receiving an
inrush of migrants, (4) was the goal for thousands of
tourists annually, and as official as the Catalan language might be, people were not using
it too much. Andorra had ceased to be that rural society, almost monolingual in Catalan,
that it had been at the beginning of the 20th century, to become a place where
multilingualism was the rule, where people were bilingual above all in Spanish and there
was extreme growth in the tertiary (or services) sector thanks to tourism, especially from
the 60s onwards.
Research objectives and hypothesis
As aspects to
consider in his thesis, Lixfeld enumerated (page 78):
knowledge of the most numerous ethnic groups (native Andorrans, French, Spanish).
-Modalities of language use.
-Attitudes of members of these groups towards the co-existing languages and the evaluation
they made of the other linguistic groups, as well as their linguistic awareness and
knowledge of Andorra and Catalan. The specific problem of the process of linguistic and
immediately to formulate more than twenty hypotheses relating to four main areas:
1. In Andorra, the
type of multilingualism differs according to ethnic group. These differences become
evident when comparing the achievements of Andorrans, Spanish, French and Catalans in the
skills of comprehension, speaking, writing and reading.