Catalan and Spanish

greg   Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:28 am GMT
Le catalan n'est « ibéro »-roman que dans la mesure où il a été coupé ou isolé de son terreau maternel : les langues d'Oc. Le catalan moderne (et ses variantes) est une langue issue de l'ancien Oc, ça ne fait aucun doute — rien à voir avec le castillan. En ce sens, le catalan est une forme spéciale de gallo-roman ibérisée à la marge, tout comme le piedmontais est une forme spéciale de gallo-roman sans doute toscanisée par la co-existence avec la langue officielle et majeure de la péninsule italienne : l'italien.

La comparaison entre oc périphérique (gascon, auvergnat, catalan...) et oc central (languedocien...) met en lumière les phénomènes d'interférence linguistique (adstrats, superstrats).

Catalanòfon : la France existait en 1213 !
Tiffany   Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:33 am GMT
<<I stopped writing here as Jordi a few months ago and I vividly remember your inaccuracies>>

Is that you, Jordi? Welcome back!

<<Countries such as Italy and Romania has many diverse cultural regions without autonomous seperation and their countries are relatively stable. Autonomy fuels the fires of seperation and the break up of a country.>>

There are actually many Italian separatists, including political groups. Ever heard of Lega Nord? That's a big one.

They say they want to separate because thesuccess of the industrial North is being held back by the the dead-weight of the South but here's an excerpt from Wikipedia, which may not be fact, but that I've heard before:

"The league's culture is a mix of pride in the heritage of northern Italy (particularly with historical references to the anti-imperial Lombard League), distrust of southern Italians and especially of Roman authorities, often bordering on racism, xenophobia, elements of Reaganomics, and independentism, hate for Italy and especially its flag, and claims of a Celtic heritage. The league has been often criticised, in Italy and abroad, for being too similar to a fascist party, having also organised a paramilitary group of "green shirts"."
Catalanòfon   Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:47 am GMT
Mon très cher Greg:

Bien sûr que la France existait en 1213 mais son territoire n'était pas le même qu'à présent. Tu sais bien que Nice a été rattachée a la France en 1860!

Les limites actuels de France sont bien connus.
Easterner   Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:29 am GMT
Dear Catalanòfon (or Jordi...),

I am very thankful for the useful information in this thread about Catalan, and for dispensing the wrong notion I also used to have to some extent that it is something of an offshoot of Castilian. There was some discussion going on last year on this forum about the relationship of Catalan and Occitan, and I was always aware it is a language distinct from both Castilian Spanish and French, but I have only now been made really aware that it is actually closer to French (to which it is related via Occitan) than to Castilian (although it has certainly been influenced by the latter). As I know, it is even phonetically closer to French than to Spanish, as is Portuguese. Does it also have nasal vowels, as do Occitan and French?

In fact, I find Castilian to be a curious exception among Western Romance languages in that it followed an entirely different phonetical development than did its closest sister languages. Maybe this is due to the phonetic stock of the substratum language. I wonder if it can be stated with certainty that Spanish developed from the Latin absorbed by the Iberians (ancestors of present-day Basques), and Portuguese from Latin absorbed by the Celtic population living on the Iberian peninsula (what I know from Basque, I can imagine it is phonetically more alike to Castilian even now than Portuguese and Catalan are, even if it the two are clearly unrelated). As for Catalan, it also must have developed from a variety spoken by Celts, but just partly or not at all on the Iberian Peninsula.

You also mention that Catalan speakers could have moved to Spain from the territory across the Pyrenees (Catalan having thus developed from a variety of Occitan). I find this perfectly possible, since I know from history that the Aragonese Kingdom (situated on the territory of present-day Catalonia) controlled much of the Mediterranean coast, including Provence and other Occitan-speaking areas for a while. Therefore, I would like to ask if there is any available information about wheteher the Language of the Aragonian Kingdom was really Aragonese or Catalana, and if the latter, when did this shift happen? Or was Aragonia actually a bilingual kingdom?

By the way, the information I found in the Wikipedia article on Catalan (which I assume was written by people at home in the subject) also confirms your thesis that Catalan developed from a dialect of Occitan, and spread to the Iberian Peninsula during the Reconquista. Here is the paragraph specifically stating this:

"Catalan developed by the 9th century from Vulgar Latin on both sides of the eastern part of Pyrenees mountains (counties of Roussillon, Empuries, Besalú, Cerdagne, Urgell, Pallars and Ribagorça). It shares features with Gallo-romance and Ibero-romance, and it could be said to be in its beginnings no more than an eccentric dialect of Occitan (or of Western Romance). The language was spread to the south by the Reconquista in several phases: Barcelona and Tarragona, Lleida and Tortosa, the ancient Kingdom of Valencia, and transplanted to the Balearic Islands and l'Alguer (Alghero)."

I suppose the information in this article can be taken to be correct.
Catalanòfon   Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:01 am GMT
1.) Catalan has no nasal vowels, neither most of Occitan dialects. That is one big difference with French (and with Portuguese), making the language to sound more Latin and similar to Italian or Castilian.

2.) Linguists agree Castilian was born in a bilingual area with great contact between Basque related dialects and Latin. That explains the intonation of Northern Iberian Spanish (very much the same as Basque, sounding "flat" for South Americans ) and certain things such as "v" pronounced as "b" or initial "f" falling out. Quite a few Spanish words can also be related to a Basque substratum. That also happens in the Gascon dialect of occitan (the word Gascon is actually very close to Bascon).

3.) There has always been an important Latin population in Catalonia from the days of the Empire, as important as in Occitania (southern France). The province was known as Tarraconensis (present day Tarragona).

Many of the "eccentric" differences with Occitan have been there since the earliest centuries and Catalan troubadours were already considered as writing "lengatge estranh" (llenguatge estrany in Catalan or "eccentric" "strange") by Occitan speakers from the Middle Ages.

The originality of Catalan can already be seen in its earliest texts (11th century) although there was an intense relationship with the lands of Occitania (Lengadoc and Provence, specially) until 1213, with the Battle of Muret, when the Catalan counts lost their influence and mediaeval France spread to the south. From that time on, Catalan becomes more Iberian (specially since the 15th century) while Occitan becomes more French. Currently there is a good relationship between Occitan writers (now a minority in their land) and Catalan writers (a majority in theirs). Contemporary Occitan often looks up to Catalan for neologisms and other things.

4.) Until the Middle Ages (and after) there were migratory trends in both ways. Some Occitans, losers fleeing from the power of the King of France, helped the Catalans to reconquer Valencia to the south (1238) and the Balearic Islands (1233) in the 13th century. As you can see it all starts when the Catalans having lost their influence in the south of France decide to reconquer Moorish lands to the south. These lands will be resettled mainly by Catalans.

5.) The Counts of Barcelona became Kings of Aragon due to a dynastic unity in the 12th century. Catalonia was made up of "counties" as part of the "Marca Hispanica" of emperor Carlemagne. I don't have to say it in French.

6.) The "Aragonese" dialects (some still spoken in remote Pyrennes valleys) are a transition in the continuum towards Castilian. They share Catalan and Castilian characteristics but, overall, sound more Castilian than Catalan. Aragonese was assimilated by Castilian in the 15th century and has very much vanished. Catalan was the official language of this unity since the Kings were native Catalan speakers and most of the population was. Nevertheless, many texts were written in Aragonese in Aragon (capital city Zaragoza; Saragossa in Catalan).

7.) I agree with the last paragraph in that Catalan and Occitan form part of a diasystem (system of dialects) closely related. Nevertheless, the present day differences are much wider than between Scandinavian languages and could be compared to the differences between contemporary Dutch and German. Furthermore, Catalonia has had a national literature since the 12th century with its own ortographic rules. Syntax is also different in some basic points and Catalans was the only official language of Catalonia until 1714. It became co-official in the 2nd Spanish Republic (1931-39) and has been co-official again since the late seventies.

7.) Catalan is considered the most important non-state language in Europe because of demography (almost l0 million fluent speakers, with official linguistic census figures) and a very important literature (both mediaeval and contemporary). Such important European mediaeval authors as Raimon Llull (Raimundo Lulius) or Ausiàs March wrote their works in Catalan.

8.) The Catalan people have always been very much attached to their language and culture. It explains why it is the normal vehicle of communication amogst Catalan speakers. Even when Catalan was forbidden the Catalan continued to speak Catalan at home. Catalan speakers will not speak Castilian amongst themselves although they often switch to Castilian when the need arises.

9.) Definitely, Catalonia is the richest autonomy in Spain. It's just a matter of figures. That also explains a lot of the local pride. The other thing is that Spain has two cities with a similar size and economic power. Madrid and Barcelona. That also explains a lot of things.

10.) Catalonians consider themselves a "nation" within Spain and not a "region". The Spanish Constitution (1978) speaks of "historic nationalities." The Spanish Constitution was passed by politicians from all over the state after Franco's death in what is known as "the transition to democracy." Nowadays it would seem some people would want to go back to other situations. I don't think Spain is the same country now it was 30 years ago. Thanks God for that!
guest   Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:34 am GMT
Nacionalistes cridem a la gent com aquesta (Jordi) a Espanya.

Espanya està sofrint una involució molt perillosa gràcies als vents d'inestabilitat que ens bufen des de Catalunya.

Els nacionalistes quan fan esment al poble català solament es refereixen als quals tenen el català com llengua materna, a més de la població catalana que tenen l'espanyol com la seva llengua materna (segons les estadístiques) no els consideren catalans, tan sol "charnegos".

La Comunitat autònoma més rica d'Espanya és Madrid.
Guest   Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:22 pm GMT
"Definitely, Catalonia is the richest autonomy in Spain. It's just a matter of figures. That also explains a lot of the local pride. The other thing is that Spain has two cities with a similar size and economic power. Madrid and Barcelona. That also explains a lot of things"

GDP per capita in 2004 in Euros (Top 5)
Madrid 25,855
Navarra 24,690
Pais Vasco 24,364
Cataluna 23,175
Baleares 22,888
Source: Instituto Nacinal de Estadistica, Spain

pride breeds ignorance :)

JGreco although you are wrong about the merits of autonomous rule within Spain (one of the best things that Spain has done for itself in the last 30 years), you are quite rigth in your analysis that (a part of) catalan society is bent on insulating itself from the rest of Spain, hence the obsession of some to overplay the link to french (strong as it is) over that to spanish (also very strong, and a lot more obvious from plain speech from typical speakers).

Its a pity because the same people have transformed what was a laudable pratical policy of normalising the use of catalan after decades of repression into an ideological tool for shaping the language choice of the catalan people. This is my personal impression of the laws that force the use of one of the languages in commercial displays in catalonia, or that educates all children using catalan as the main language, even though the population is very close to evenly split on the use of the two languages (55 % catalan dominat - 45 % spanish dominat households according to a recent study published in La Vanguardia , the main catalan newspaper, by the way in spanish). Its not only that the regional public powers have a strong bias for one of the languages (which could be understandable as a counterweight for the big pressure for spanish coming from the whole of the society catalonia lives in), but the normativistic aspect that FORCES individuals to use catalan in an important part of their private lives (and I would include conducting one's business as part of one's private life)
Guest   Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:42 pm GMT
<The Antimoon Forum rules state that messages are to be in English and that if you do post something in a foreign (non-English) language a translation should be provided>

False. The rules state that you should not post "messages in languages other than English TO THE ENGLISH FORUM" (we are in the Languages forum) and nothing is said about providing a translation.
Catalanòfon   Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:51 pm GMT
It's all a matter of population. Catalonia has almost 7 million people and I live it up to you how many people live in the Community of Madrid or so many times less in the Balearic Islands, Basque Country or Navarre. The figures for per capita rent is worked out dividing by the population of a community!

Perhaps it would be more interesting if you told us about exports and imports and how much each community gives the State and how important Catalonia is for Spanish economy. I agree on that.

The fact is, whether you believe that is correct or not, all Catalans have to learn a language that isn't theirs. I can assure I and all my family have also made a big effort to learn a language which isn't strictly ours. We've been doing it for generations and a lot could be told about the methods used.

Not that we mind. We love learning languages, specially one as beautiful as Spanish but, like everybody else in the world, I have one first language not two and I want it to be the usual one in its homeland.

I wish the same could be said for everybody.

You must consider it the most natural thing in the world for Catalans to learn Spanish. Well there's nothing I can do against that.
Catalanòfon   Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:53 pm GMT
I leave it up to you... (typo)
Guest   Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:16 pm GMT
catalanofon I wish your logic was up to your linguistics.

1. When talking about wealth of a country we talk per capita gdp (there might be a question whether you want it at PPP/parity purchase power or market rates), thats why we say that denmark is a lot richer than mexico, even though mexican GDP is several times bigger than denmarks. Is this a point worth arguing?

(by the way, population as of 1 Jan 2004, again from INE: Cataluna 6.813,319, Madrid 5,804,829. Madrid is a lot smaller in area and a good part of its economic area falls outside the limits of its region. If you included these populations would be similar)

2. You forget that ALL citizens in Spain have to learn a language that isnt theirs (ie english). That is good. I also think its good that catalans learn spanish. and I also think its good all citizens in catalonia learn catalan, because is a fact that a majority of the people they will deal with will prefer to use this language, even is they could also do it in spanish or even english. BUT then if your usual language is spanish (as is the case for a very big minority in catalonia), its very understandable that you prefer your kids to be educated in that language, even if they would still have to learn catalan/ english/ french and whatever other subjects are included in the common curriculum. Still, by far the worst imtromission in peoples private lives that I know of is rules concerning language use in commercial displays, that I find totally unacceptable example of social engineering

In spite of everything, I'm a great supporter of the new estatut project, because I think catalonia has to be given as much leeway as possible to make their own decissions, and learn from their own mistakes. Its the only cure for their victimism.
espanyol   Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:27 pm GMT

"all Catalans have to learn a language that isn't theirs."

Esto prueba lo que dije antes, estos fundamentalistas nacionalistas solo consideran catalan a los que tienen por lengua materna ese idioma

Això prova el que vaig dir abans, aquests fonamentalistes nacionalistes solament consideren català als quals tenen per llengua materna aquest idioma

"how much each community gives the State "
Quant dóna Catalunya a l'estat?Gens, això ho aporta un com a ciutadà. És a dir, jo com a ciutadà espanyol pago la meva renda i aquesta renda va al conjunt de l'estat i després l'estat la distribuïx com creu oportú però no hi ha ningú que va agafant els diners dels catalans, els diners dels madrilenys i tira els comptes a veure que aporta cadascun, perquè aquest discurs és un discurs molt perillós perquè dintre de Catalunya qui aporta mes, Barcelona o Tarragona. Si aporta mes Barcelona ha de rebre més Barcelona que tarragona?, i dintre de Barcelona qui aporta més?, el barri que es va enfonsar o el barri on viuen els sectors mes poderosos de Cataluña?

Que es lo que aporta cataluña a la solidaridad estatal?. Nada, eso lo aporta uno como ciudadano. Es decir, yo como ciudadano español pago mi renta y esa renta va al conjunto del estado y despues el estado la distribuye como cree oportuno pero no hay nadie que va cogiendo el dinero de los catalanes, el dinero de los madrileños y echa las cuentas a ver que aporta cada uno, porque ese discurso es un discurso muy peligroso porque dentro de cataluña quién aporta mas, barcelona o tarragona. Si aporta mas barcelona tiene que llevarse mas barcelona que tarragona?, y dentro de barcelona quién aporta mas?, el barrio que se hundió o el barrio donde viven los sectores mas poderosos de cataluña?
Catalanòfon   Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:54 pm GMT
I've said that Catalan speakers are happy learning other languages, starting with Spanish, the language of the Spanish state.

I've said that Catalonia is the place in Spain where you'll find a greater percentage of multi-lingual speakers. I've said that Catalans want to live in Catalan in their homeland. To live in Catalan people have to know Catalan. How could you live in English is people around you didn't know English?

This is what I said and I would ask Brennus to realise that my posters are writing in Catalan and Castilian and not in English.

My messages were erased when I answered in Catalan so I decided to continue in English.

The fundamentalists are the people who think that some human beings have to be bilingual from birth while they remain monolingual.

That is logic. The rest is politics.

Spain is a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic society. We are not the only case in the world and I don't agree that one language is better than the others.

Why is it that those who are dominated are made to look like dominators?
Guest   Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:15 pm GMT
Catalanofon Im glad to see in your last post that you are coming to your senses and drop the topic on the relative wealth of catalonia (a short apology wouldnt be out of place though :)). Who can doubt of the right of catalan people to use their language at the very least in Catalonia, and probably in higher instances as well.

What noone can guarantee is that catalan people will live in a catalan speaking environment whether in catalonia or outside, because the environment is made out of the personal choice of millions of individuals in catalonia and outside. I can agree that public bodies in catalonia make an effort to encourage the recovery of catalan, but its harder to accept that they embark on a deliberate campaign to change linguistic habits of it citizens:

"I have one first language not two and I want it to be the usual one in its homeland"

That attitude is the answer to your question "Why is it that those who are dominated are made to look like dominators?". It might not be obvious for you, but for the 40% plus that have spanish as their main language in catalonia their inheritance (as well as the joining forces with spain at large) is as important as yours is for you, and have the same right not to be crushed by public policy as catalan speakers have in the wider context of spain
espanyol   Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:06 pm GMT
Canviant de tema, Jordi. Estaria bé aquesta transcripció fonètica en espanyol del català?. He representat el so de la schwa amb una a, és per a fer-me una idea de com sonaria. si coneixes alguna pàgina web on pugui escoltar catalan mentre ho llegeixo t'estaria agraït

"Si als veïns de Barcelona els preocupa que l'ordenança sobre el civisme és molt restrictiva, sempre poden venir al meu barri, el Guinardó, a orinar, a vomitar, a encendre fogueres al carrer i tot allò que no puguin fer a la resta de Barcelona. Almenys això és el que passa assíduament als voltants del mercat del Guinardó des de fa anys, sense que la Guàrdia Urbana, la Policia i els Mossos facin res per evitar-ho, malgrat les denúncies dels veïns." (El periodico)

Si als veíns da barselona al preucupa ka lurdenansa sobra al sivisma es molt restrictiva sempra poden veni al meu barri, al guinardó, a uriná, a vomitá, a ansendrá fugueras al carré y totallò que no puguin fe a la resta de barselona. Almenis aixó es al ka passa assiduamént als vultánts dal mercat dal guinardó desda fa anis, sensa ka la guardia urbana, la pulisia y als mosos fasin res paravitaru, malgrát las denúnsias dals veíns