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Surveys with sociolinguistic content carried out in Catalonia (1994-2002),
by Joaquim Torres


a) The questionnaire

The questionnaire contains questions on knowledge of languages, on the way in which Catalan and Spanish was learnt, on the initial (i.e. first) language, whether there was a preference for relating socially with speakers of a particular language, on the language preferred for public events, for watching television and reading. There were also questions on use with the family, for example use at home, with parents, with one's wife or husband, with children, and children's use among themselves. Also asked of was language use in shops, when answering the telephone, writing a letter, talking to a local policeman, at the bank, taking notes, at work and with friends. In addition, there are a series of questions on language attitudes, including one on language affiliation.

Up to the present, the CIS have presented the results of the different questions in the territories, without comment. Miquel Siguan carried out an analysis if the whole of these surveys. In each case, among other issues, patterns of language use are looked at in terms of correlations with age, education, and main language.

Some of the most notable sociolinguistic findings

The survey carried out in Catalonia, and those carried out in the other territories, offer a broad spectrum of information. One of the findings coming out of this survey which had most impact was the question on what form language teaching should take, since this question made it possible to gauge the level of interest that inhabitants of each territory had in the choice of the language of education. The most interesting aspect here was that only in the Basque Country and in Catalonia were there more citizens wanting education in their own language rather than in Spanish.

Gaining access to the information

In addition to the possibility of purchasing data from the CIS, an option already mentioned above, there are different documents and articles that deal with these surveys. In the first place there is an initial report for each autonomous community, presenting the results without comment. In the case of Catalonia, the reference for the report is:

Uso de lenguas en comunidades bilingües: Cataluña. Distribuciones marginales. Estudio CIS 2298, October 1998.

In the second place the CIS produced a publication containing analysis carried out by Miquel Siguan of the 6 surveys:

SIGUAN, Miguel (1999), Conocimiento y uso de las lenguas: investigación sobre el conocimiento y uso de las lenguas cooficiales en las comunidades autónomas bilingües, Opiniones y Actitudes, 22, CIS, Madrid.

3.3. "Situación social y política de Cataluña"
(Social and political situation of Catalonia)

CIS study 2,410, 3-01


Obtain information on political opinion in Catalonia, and on the sense of identity as well as knowledge and use of Catalan.


a) Sample and the data collection

The universe consisted of the inhabitants of Catalonia aged 18 or more, the sample consists of 2,778 individuals and the data were collected in March 2001. The sampling process and the way in which the questionnaire was administered were as for the previous survey. In this instance the distribution of the sample was not proportional.

b) The questionnaire

Questions on the language were fewer than in the previous survey. Such questions as there were referred to knowledge of Catalan, asked about speakers' initial language, and about language use in the following situations: in the home, with friends, in shops, answering the telephone, when asking a stranger about something, at work and in a Government office. There were also questions on the language used in the school attended, and in the media most watched or read. Questions here were not mainly restricted to those inhabitants who could speak Catalan, unlike the previous survey.

Planned exploitation of the data

The CIS has only released, but not published, the results of the different questions.

Some of the most notable sociolinguistic findings

Perhaps the most interesting finding to emerge from this questionnaire relates to language use in the home, because it allows comparison with an analogous question in the CIS survey of 1978, giving us insight into the change in this respect over this period (1978-2001). Comparison is made possible because both the 1978 (3) and the 2001 survey contain three options for the reply to the question (on language use in the home): "Catalan", "Spanish" or "both", unlike the socioliguistic inquiries carried out by the CIS in 1993 (4) and 1998.

Gaining access to the information

In addition to the option we have repeatedly mentioned here of purchasing the data from the CIS, the results derived from the questions in this survey, without cross-tabulation of the variables, can be viewed on line (this was true at least in March 2003) by visiting the CIS website.

3.4. "Usos, hàbits i actituds lingüístics de la població de Catalunya"
(Use, habits and attitudes of the population of Catalonia)

Fabà A., Gàlvez O., Manrubia J., Simó A. i Ubach N.


Complement and fill out existing information on different aspects of the sociolinguistic situation of Catalonia.


a) Sample and data collection

The universe was the population of Catalonia aged 15 and over, the sample contained 1,002 individuals and the data were collected during the months of March and April 2000. The sample was random with territorial quotas (6 zones), and quotas for gender and age, with proportional distribution, and the questions were answered by means of a telephone interview. A very precise protocol was decided upon, and watch was kept to see that it was enforced.

b) The questionnaire

This included the classic questions typical of sociolinguistic surveys, plus some others. There were questions on competence in Catalan, on the degree of use in general of this language, on the language of the television programmes watched and on different use in the family, including language used with parents, with brothers and sisters, with one's partner and one's children. There were also questions on use with a stranger, with the neighbours, when shopping, with friends, in a bar, at work, with school friends, with a policeman, and when writing a note. The subjects were also asked what they would do if they addressed someone in Catalan and the latter replied in Spanish. Furthermore, there were questions on linguistic attitudes, one of these being on language affiliation.

Two questions were innovations. One was on language use in the last conversation the subject had with someone other than a family member, and another asked what would subjects do if they spoke to someone in Spanish and the latter replied in Catalan.

Planned exploitation of the data

As a first step, the authors produced a report that includes the results from each question, without cross-tabulation between variables and without comment. Subsequently, they carried out an analysis on a larger scale which includes different cross tabulations and a cluster analysis, and this has been published in book form by the same authors.

Some of the most notable sociolinguistic findings

One of the most interesting results here was the one indicating the last conversation with someone other than a family member (close to 50% in Catalan), since this result provides an evaluation or snapshot view of the weight given to the two languages (Catalan and Spanish) in the territory.

Means of gaining access to the information

The report with the replies presented without comment is:

FABÀ, Albert; GÀLVEZ, Olga; MANRUBIA, Joan; SIMÓ, Anna; UBACH, Noemí. (2000): El català a Catalunya, Unpublished report available at the Documentation Centre on Sociolinguistics (Directorate General for Language Policy): http://www.gencat.cat/llengua/documentacio

The book that has a more developed evaluation of the data is:

FABÀ, Albert; GÀLVEZ, Olga; MANRUBIA, Joan; SIMÓ, Anna; UBACH, Noemí. El català a Catalunya. Entre l’esperança i el neguit. Coneixements, usos, actituds i identitats lingüístiques. In preparation, Editorial Empúries.

Other articles on the subject are:

FABÀ, Albert; GÀLVEZ, Olga; MANRUBIA, Joan; SIMÓ, Anna; UBACH, Noemí. (2001): "Identitat i usos lingüístics a Catalunya". NOVES SL, Winter 2001 http://www.gencat.cat/llengua/noves

FABÀ, Albert; GÀLVEZ, Olga; MANRUBIA, Joan; SIMÓ, Anna; UBACH, Noemí. "Usos, hàbits i actituds sobre la llengua catalana a Catalunya", in Actes del I Congrés Internacional de Llengua, Societat i Ensenyament (Institut Universitari de Filologia Valenciana), in the journal Symposia Philologica. Pag.323-346 [in press].

FABÀ, Albert; GÀLVEZ, Olga; MANRUBIA, Joan; SIMÓ, Anna; UBACH, Noemí (2002) "Coneixements i usos lingüístics dels no catalanoparlants i dels catalanoparlants a Catalunya" in Actes del III Simposi sobre l’ensenyament del català als no catalanoparlants (in press).

3.5. "La societat xarxa a Catalunya: anàlisi empírica"
(The web society in Catalonia: an empirical analysis)

Manuel Castells (UOC) i Imma Tubella (UOC)


To analyse the use made of the Internet and the relation between this and socialising and communication in Catalonia. The research sets out to provide an X-ray picture of Catalan society and the extent to which it has adapted the organisational structures and social trends typical of the new technological and cultural contexts provided by the "Web Society". Much importance is given here to collective identity and language identity. For that reason the study provides an abundance of information on sociolinguistic questions.

The work forms part of the "Projecte Internet Catalunya (PIC)", an interdisciplinary programme on the so-called information society in Catalonia carried out by researchers from the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of the UOC (Open University of Catalonia) and sponsored by two departaments of the Generalitat: namely the Presidency and the Department of Universities, Research and the Information Society.

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