5. Variables that affect language use
In this section we
will look at, and reproduce in diagram form, the most important variables influencing the
use of Catalan in the companies under scrutiny. To make comparison of the two types of
companies easier we firstly carried out a process to make the measured variables as
homogeneous as possible.(2) Analysis was carried out using the
C&RT technique which divides the variable under scrutiny into two groups each time,
taking the greatest difference between means, and seeking to have them as homogeneous as
possible amongst themselves as the guiding principles. The intention here was to show
which were the variables with most discriminatory power in indicating levels of Catalan
use in firms.
As regards the
segmentation trees (branching trees representing segmentation) what is missing here are
the characteristics or typology of the companies (the equivalent of sociodemographic facts
in individuals (3) since variables like the
geographical situation of the company, whether a branch of a mother company or not, the
percentage of sales in Catalonia, the number of workers, turnover, and the market sector
/type of product or service, all give important information on the kinds of companies that
use more or less Catalan. But one could hardly apply a governmental language policy
programme to them directly, over the short or medium term, or at any rate this would not be easy.
5.1 Multinational companies
The previous ISC
study on the use of Catalan in multinational companies, whose data we have already drawn
upon in this article, correlates the characteristics of the companies with their use of Catalan, thus showing what kinds of company as defined by these characteristics most use and
which least use Catalan.(4)
We developed an
explicatory model analysing the relationship between the variables of performance and
attitude of the big companies on the one hand with the use of the language on the other,
since use can be explained not only by the characteristics of the companies but by other variables too. Discernible from the ISC
model are two groups of variables which have been measured but not related to use and
which turn out to be not unimportant:
The performance variables of the company correlating
with use of Catalan are:
staff training courses (STC) in Catalan
company avail itself of Catalan translation or correction services ?
Does the company have its own in-house
directives on the use of Catalan?
Is knowledge of
Catalan taken into account when taking on staff?
Spanish taken into account when taking on staff?
Does the company sponsor activities related
to Catalonias cultural heritage.
The variables evaluation and attitude vis-à-vis use of Catalan
in companies are:
Plans to organise Catalan
Plans to increase the use of
Catalan in your company
Do you think there are advantages
in using Catalan in the company?
Do you think there are
disadvantages in using Catalan in the company?
What is your evaluation of use of Catalan in your company
important is Catalan in your company?
The technique employed here enables one
to relate these two groups of variables with the use of Catalan, in order to be able to
discern with more accuracy what influences language use in the international companies. In
this way we will be able to pinpoint the companies using Catalan more or less, as defined
by the variables mentioned above (those of performance and attitude).
In the first
instance, to be able to see which variables in the two groups are significant, that is to
say have appreciable impact on the use of Catalan, an analysis was carried out of the
variance range of all the variables (5) in the said
groups. The results of this process show that only four out of all the variables emerge as
statistically significant to 95%. Thus it will be these four variables that we shall use
to develop our explanatory model.
Significant variables in the explanatory model
in-house training schemes that the firm organises in Catalan
Catalan as a criterion when taking on new staff
importance of Catalan in the company
Value put on
Catalan in the Company
segmentation tree was constructed using the C&RT technique, by means of which a
graphic representation of an explanatory model was obtained, explaining use of Catalan and
taking into account the variables from the two groups that we have said were significant.
In every tree
diagram, the mean Index of Catalan use in Companies (ICUC) is indicated, plus the number
of companies in each group and the percentage that this figure represents over the total
sample (300). Thus following the branching we
can see which variables are those that discriminate best and know the group of companies
that make more or less intensive use of Catalan.
Diagram 1 shows
graphically the segmentation tree of the big companies. To arrive at the group of
companies that make greatest use of Catalan one simply has to follow the path marked in green and to arrive
at the least or lowest use of Catalan the red path has to be followed.
In the second
instance there are two paths, since the group of companies that use least Catalan
comprises only 6 companies. and is not very significant, and so a second path has been
marked to another group showing low use and consisting of more companies numerically (19
The firms with
greatest use of Catalan (ICUC= 78.6) are therefore those where more than half of the
in-house training courses are in Catalan (i.e. use Catalan as the medium), have knowledge
of Catalan as a requirement when taking on new staff in Catalonia, obtain a score of more
than 5 in the importance accorded to Catalan and more than 8.5 out of 10 in their positive
evaluation of use of Catalan in the company. We see that these constitute a group of firms
that use Catalan in almost all ambits and situations, in a way that goes beyond being a purely functional response to the market.
Firms with low use
(IU=12.1) are those that run less than half their in-house training courses in Catalan,
require knowledge of Catalan when talking on new staff, and score less than 5 in the
importance accorded Catalan. Thus, for these companies, Catalan is a consideration only
when hiring staff, that is, it has a purely functional value, undoubtedly because of the
type of service they offer, which makes linguistic contact necessary with the customer or
client, and the Catalan market.
The other path
with companies with very low use of Catalan (ICUC=14.7) are those that run less than half
their in-house training courses in Catalan as the medium, do not take Catalan into account
when taking on new staff in Catalonia, and score less than 5 in the importance accorded
use of Catalan. These companies do not even
accord a functional value to Catalan and make little use of the language in all ambits and
situations. Nonetheless, their ICUC score emerges as higher than that of the companies
referred to in the previous paragraph, perhaps because there are only 6 of them and so not
Diagram 1: Segmentation tree showing the variables of performance and
attitude toward / evaluation of Catalan in the big companies. (PDF 8 KB)
Source: Own elaboration, based in ISC data.
We see that the
two variables with most discriminatory power are those of performance, followed by the two
variables of performance and evaluation. In other words, the variables that significantly
affect use of Catalan, the performance variables are more important than those of attitude
or evaluation, and this is quite logical, since it is one thing to be politically correct,
and seeing this as maybe the expedient thing to do where possible, and another putting it
into practice, especially where the big companies are concerned motivated as they are by
hard-nosed economics and demand.
variables one by one we see that what best discriminates use of Catalan measured by the
index of Catalan use in the company, is the percentage
of training courses run by the company in Catalan. It can be seen that the ICUC= 28.7 if more than half the courses run by the
company are in Catalan and the IUCE=51.1 if they run less than half the courses in
The second most
effective variable in discriminatory power on use of Catalan is whether the company has
knowledge of Catalan as a requirement when taking on staff, and this is logical given that
where incoming employees have to know Catalan, Catalan will obviously be used more than in
companies where employees don't necessarily know the language. This variable is clearly
explanatory and could be a very important point to consider in the language policy
directed at the commercial world.
In third place is the importance given
to the use of Catalan within the company and lastly there is the subjective evaluation of
Catalan use within the company. With these two variables, if there is a high perception of
use, this will normally be because the use actually is high, even though there may be
companies that tend to see use as insufficient while others see it as excessive despite
equal use in practice for economic and ideological reasons..
5.2 Public service companies
the segmentation tree of the ICUC in public service companies it can be seen that there is
only one significant variable with discriminatory power regarding use in this sort of
company: The percentage of in-house training courses carried out in Catalan, echoing what
we found in the case of multinational companies.
2. Segmentation tree
Index of Catalan Use in Companies (ICUC)
Public service companies
Own elaboration, based in ISC data.
We see then, that
public service companies that have half the in-house training courses or more in Catalan
have a ICUC OF 66.5 and those that have fewer than half score 37.27. It can be seen that
these indices are higher than those in the groups separated off by the first branch of the
tree in the case of the multinationals since the public service companies have a higher
6. Language policy for the multinationals and public service companies
6.1. Justification of the policy
world is reluctant to accept linguistic obligations and plead economic reasons for not
doing so, (6) but in any
case it is (obviously enough) against almost any intervention by the administration in the
market. Companies adopt the neoliberal maxim of no intervention in the economy, but just
as the instances of economic bankruptcy are
notorious, the market in turn also forces cultural
bankruptcy, globalising the world and concentrating culture with culture just as it
does with capital, and concentrating the majority languages (7) in
international relations - with consequent massive loss of cultural richness. cultural. It is clear that, economically
speaking, to have a common language in international relations increases productivity and
global production, just as the greater the size of a language's territory the more useful
this is for the new economy. Yet this fact produces
a mechanism analogous to the negative external market forces. The main international
language, English, and the associated increase in productivity, has as its downside the
reduction of the cultural and linguistic heritage in all other communities.(8) For
none of their fault, they are effected negatively. This goes against almost all notions of
fairness (9) and
clearly in a comparable situation with pollution from a factory -the outcome of increasing
productivity but adversely affecting the rest of the community- the state or governmental
body has to intervene. Thus, regulation or intervention by the administration in cultural
and linguistic matters is, from this point of view, perfectly admissible, where this is to
avoid the perversity of the market bringing about cultural and linguistic loss.