Catalan language revival fuels backlash in Spain

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A dog wears a pro-independence Catalan flag as Catalan separatists formed a human chain to mark Catalunya's National Day in central Barcelona

By Fiona Ortiz CORNELLA DE LLOBREGAT Spain (Reuters) – Francesca Munoz, the principal at Sant Miquel primary school near Barcelona, is fighting a linguistic crusade that has fuelled a remarkable recovery of the local Catalan tongue – and of the region’s secessionist movement. For 30 years, public schools in Spain’s Catalonia region have taught most subjects in Catalan, not the national Castilian Spanish language. There are now some 10 million Catalan speakers in or near the region bordering France and the Mediterranean, putting the language in a league with Swedish and Greek after it was repressed under the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Such is the strength of the Catalan renaissance that it is prompting a backlash among some parents concerned their children are getting short-changed on Spanish, the world’s second-most spoken language by native speakers after Mandarin.


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