Cosa de tots? : language, identity and power in 1990s Catalonia
This thesis is an investigation of and reflection on aspects of the process of acquisition of Catalan as a second language through attendance at the adult education classes provided on a subsidised basis by the Catalan government, through the Consorci per a la Normalitzaei6 LingO/stiea. Its subject matter is the language situation in Catalonia, not the phenomenon of adult education in its own right. However, in line with the tenor of the above quotation, its origins are based on the assumption that learners, whether adults or nor, manifestly do not approach the learning process in a vacuum and that exploration of the perceptions and attitudes of some of those studying in this particular context would be of interest in furthering understanding of the dynamics of the process which they embark on. The group in question is an important one, partly because the programme which they are involved one is a large one - more than 275,000 people registered for courses at a Centre de Normalitzaei6 LingOfstiea between 1991 and 1998 (Consorci per a la Normalitzaci6 lingOistica 1998a) - and partly because the majority of these are L 1 Castilian speakers and as such in one sense representatives of approximately half, and potentially more than half, of the population of the Principality (e.g. StrubeIl1998). After an introduction which summarises briefly the field of study and the historical background to ethnolinguistic differentiation in Catalonia, the first Chapter of the thesis describes my own involvement in one of the relevant courses as a participant observer, interviews that I carried out with some of the other participants and the dominant themes and questions which emerged from this process. The second Chapter analyses some of the complexities of the politics of language in Catalonia in recent years and attempts to assess objectively some key aspects of the status of Catalan and the respective ethnolinguistic vitality of Castilian and Catalan in the Principality. Chapter three 11 is an as dispassionate as possible consideration of what role might be required of the L 1 Castilian community in the realisation of the 'normalisation' of Catalan, referring in particular to the 1998 Uei de Normalitzaci6 LingOfstica and issues of motivation, integration and assimilation. The fourth Chapter reports the results of the subjective perceptions of over one hundred questionnaire respondents concerning the main issues dealt with in the previous two Chapters, in particular ethnolinguistic vitality and orientation towards the acquisition of Catalan. In a final section, I attempt to draw some conclusions from what goes before.