Mislabelled

Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira, vice-president of Catalonia and leader of the left-leaning nationalist ERC party, has unveiled his plans for promoting the “social use of Catalan”; wrapped up in vague statements about “great national agreements”, apparently it’s just a case of stepping up the Generalitat’s policy on only purchasing from suppliers who label their products in Catalan, as this will encourage labelling in Catalan (or justify a policy of using public money to exclusively purchase from Catalan-labelling mates). 

For all his faults, Carod is more aware of the reality of Catalonia than many other nationalist politicians and is reasonably on the case in much of his analysis, though he often lets himself down in subsequent policy ideas. But quite how he expects to make the quantum leap from labelling in Catalan to its social use is a tad intriguing. Does he expect people to go down their local and start yapping away in labelling jargon? Does labelling play a more influential role in shaping personal behaviour than I, in my protected little world, realise? Would taking a few old cereal boxes and baked-bean-tin labels into my English classes stop students from reverting to Catalan and Spanish as soon as they got down the bar afterwards?  

So it looks like we’ll be getting more of the same: more obligations and the sinister threat of a visit from the language police, rather than a more engaging linguistic policy which brings Catalan closer to the people who feel alienated by it. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone, least of all Josep-Lluís, that people might be more predisposed to Catalan if it wasn’t used as a political tool to deny them opportunities. As always, nice work, Josep-Lluís.

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~ by Daniel on January 18, 2007.

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