2. General studies
3. Language policy
5. Non-university education
6. University education
7. The media
8. Other domains: companies,
advertising and the church
The object of
this article is to present the most relevant studies, reports and research on the
sociolinguistic fortunes of the Galician language (Galego) carried out and/or
published in the period between 1990 and 2003. We will focus exclusively on
sociolinguistic materials sponsored by or published by such Galician public institutions
as the Xunta de Galicia, local administrations, the universities, and the Consello da
We will divide
this essay into seven sections: general studies, language policy, administration,
non-university education, university education, the media, and other domains (companies,
advertising and the church).
2. General studies
until the present, the most relevant general study to have come
out relating to the overall state of the Galician, language, on
the macro-social level, is the Mapa Sociolingüístico de Galicia
(MSG). We will not linger over its characteristics or its contents
since these have already been evaluated and commented upon
(Noves SL. Winter 2002)
Nor will we
look at the general research which included the sociolinguistic situation of Galician as
one more object or case study within a wider or more general framework (for instance, the Euromosaic
study cf. Nelde, Williams & Strubell (1996) or the work carried out by the
Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas cf. CIS (1994) and (1999).
In 1992, the
Instituto Galego de Estatística (the Galician Institute of Statistics) published the
results of the linguistic questions on knowledge and use of the Galician language which
had been included in the 1991 census on population and housing (cf. Instituto Galego de
Estatística, 1992). The data was presented in four volumes one for each province of
Galicia and in these, information was gathered on knowledge and use of the Galician
language by age, education in progress, past education, activity, occupation, etc.
Included, too, were tables featuring cross-tabulation of knowledge and use of Galician.
All this information is available by province and local administration.
scores given are raw percentages are not given and are presented without any
type of description or interpretation, such overall figures would seem to coincide very
well with the results and trends shown by the Mapa Sociolingüístico de Galicia.
of this work is quite clear: here we have relevant sociolinguistic information for each
local authority, cross-tabulated with the main independent variables. There are, however,
certain aspects which admittedly limit its usefulness: there are only a few
sociolinguistic indicators included in the original questionnaire, percentages are not
given, few independent variables are considered, and no interpretation is provided of the
partial and overall figures.
As regards its
diffusion and exploitation, we need to recognise that there was little of either and only
in certain very specific cases did it serve as a source of information for subsequent
tasks, for example on language planning. It would seem that the near overlap in time
between the publication of this study and the beginning of the publication of the MSG
volumes meant that the results of the IGE-1992 were not sufficiently regarded.
3. Language Policy
In the field
of language policy in Galicia we have the report El proceso de normalización del
idioma gallego (1980-2000) (the process of standardisation of the Galician
language, 1980-2000), promoted and coordinated by the Sección de Lingua del Consello da
Cultura Galega. (1) The aims and objectives of this
report are threefold: a) obtain more in-depth information on public use of the
Galician language; b) present an evaluation of the impact of linguistic initiatives
by the regional autonomous administration; and c) put forward recommendations for
the improvement of language policy in Galicia. The study will be published initially in
four volumes, and we shall be commenting on the first two one which has already come
out, and the other which is in press. The two remaining volumes, planned to come out in
2003, are: public administrations, and the planning stage of the corpus.
volume (cf. Cidadanía-Rede de Aplicacións Sociais, 2003) concentrates on analysis of
language policy in Galicia since 1980. Its main aim is to focus on compilation and
analysis of the standardisation process, of initiatives by the Galician parliament and
speeches and ideologies relating to language politics, as well as a detailed review of the
budgets allocated to the Galician language during that period.
methodology employed here is usual documentary approach, applying qualitative techniques.
Specifically, an application of the Delphi technique was carried out with a group of key
volume (cf. Bouzada, Fernández Paz & Lorenzo, 2003) takes infant and primary
education as its universe. (2) The aims and objectives of the work
were as follows: a) to obtain a rigorous diagnosis on the current state of Galician
in the schools and in education transmission; b) obtain a diagnosis and analysis of
the most relevant sociolinguistic trends which contextualised linguistic practice in the
schools during the period 1980-2000; y c) analyse the ideologies and opinions of
the sectors making up the school community vis-à-vis language standardisation process.
methodological level the research was organised in two parts. In the first place there was
a macro social investigation, using quantitative indicators, based on a significant sample
of schools, stratified by type of scholastic centre (private/public) and by province (a
total of 201 schools in the four provinces of Galicia). To this end three questionnaires
were designed: one for the head teachers and holders posts of responsibility in the
schools (with 41 questions); another specifically for the language standardisation team in
each school (with 53 questions); and an observational evaluation sheet (with 48 items).
Additionally, case studies were carried out, based on qualitative indicators, based on a
scheme classifying the schools according to their greater or lesser degree of
galicianisation and type of area (urban/non urban) and type of scholastic centre
volume was published in March 2003 and the second is due to come out in April 2003. Thus,
full the impact of these publications still remains to be seen. But at all events, what we
have here is the first systematic evaluation of the contemporary process of
standardisation of the Galician language, and so the social repercussions of the findings
are likely to be considerable.
reports on the present status of the Galician language in the different public
administrations (local government institutions) in Galicia are relatively few in number.
We shall start by commenting on several reports published by the Consello da Cultura
Galega and go on to take a look at the studies carried out by the local government
investigation into the future of the Galician language published by the Consello da
Cultura Galega Bouzada & Lorenzo (1997) devote a section to looking at the management
of the Galician language from and within the Galician regional government institutions.
The general aim of this investigation was to present an assessment, based on empirical
findings on the sociolinguistic situation in Galicia, of the limits to and the potential
of the Galician normalisation process in the local contexts and the world of work (the
part dealing with the workplace will be commented upon below in section 8).
varied research methodology was used in this investigation. A representative sample of the
social actors involved was selected and a wide-ranging and diversified interview script
was devised, with open and closed questions, relating to the state of the language and
trends in the promotion and evolution of patterns of language use.
to the contents, the first stage of the research involved looking at the state of the
question of normalisation in the local government area from different angles and different
levels: the autonomous regional administration, the civil society and local entities,
devoting considerable space to a description of the current situation and the debate on
the management of normalisation in local entities (evaluation of the current situation and
future prospects for normalisation techniques and municipal and local language services).
there was a section devoted to the airing of opinions, attitudes and experiences relating
to the extension of the Galician language to local (public) ambits in Galicia derived from
the interpretations and arguments of the different entities involved (public
administrations, politicians, social actors, opinion leaders, linguistic normalisation
technicians, etc.), with the aim of obtaining an x-ray picture of the limitations and
challenges which all who are working for the promotion of the language in local and
community contexts find themselves faced with.
was analysis of a particular case study: the experience of the process of normalisation at
the local government offices of the town of Moaña (Pontevedra province). Lastly, in the
final section of the report, there was an explanatory scheme mapping the strong points and
weak points of the normalisation process at local and community levels.
specifically with the local level, while no exhaustive sociolinguistic description was
offered of local government offices in Galicia (see, however, in section 2. General
studies, the reference to information provided by the Instituto Galego de Estatística,
1992), a number of studies were carried out which we should comment upon. Of especial
importance here are those which looked at the city of Santiago de Compostela and the city
In the case of
the city of Santiago de Compostela (Coruña province), the research on the fortunes of the
Galician language there (cf. CidadaníaRede de Aplicacións Sociais, 2001) was
designed with a view to identifying the most relevant factors influencing the social uses
of Galician, with a practical objective: establish the aims and strategic approaches of a
plan of action for normalisation at the city of Santiago local government offices. Thus,
this study sets out to document the sociolinguistic state of affairs in order to implement
language planning suited to this initial language situation.
The work was
given a two-part structure. Firstly, use was made of the specific MSG data for the city
Santiago (sample of 1,153 questionnaires). Complementing this, different maps were devised
based on the different relevant sociolinguistic variables, making it possible to observe
and make comparisons regarding the most relevant sociolinguistic features of the urban and
suburban fabric of the city.
a view to undertaking a participant type of study, a qualitative analysis was designed in
which social actors and agents were involved; together with the members of the research
team, a qualitative evaluation by sectors was built up using the DAFO technique
complemented by in-depth interviews of qualified representatives of different sectors and
social settings at municipal level (politicians, media, the world of work, education, and
The result of
this research was a report giving the sociolinguistic profile of the municipality, a
general as well as a specific DAFO analysis for seven social domains (firms, relations at
the workplace, non-university education, university education, information technology, the
media and the church), an evaluation of the work of Santiago's municipal language service,
and a set of recommendations made by the team writing the report on the specific design of
the municipal plan for linguistic normalisation, which was finally approved by the
Santiago de Compostela city council in 2002.
In the case of
the city of Vigo (Pontefract province), in 1997 and again in 2002 two research projects
were carried out on the sociolinguistic situation of Galician in the city (cf. Vagabonded
et al., 1998; 2003, in press). Both studies were based on a quantitative investigation by
means of a questionnaire which was administered to a stratified sample of the population
of Vigo. The 1997 qustionnaire contained 35 questions on the usual aspects: first
language, linguistic competence, habitual language, frequency of use of Galician and
patterns of language use, as well as attitudes and opinions. The 2002 questionnaire
consisted of 37 questions, and in it, in addition to the items already included in the
1997 study, there were questions focusing on evaluation of the activities of the municipal