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Catalan: past, present and future

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Afra Pujol i Campeny.

The aim of this talk is to present a survey of the history of the Catalan language and its state nowadays. With 4,080,000 speakers (Ethnologue, 2014), ranking no. 17 by number of articles in Wikipedia and being the only official language of one European State (Andorra), Catalan cannot be described as a minority language, at least not in comparison with the languages dealt with in previous CEL&CG talks. However, Catalan is certainly minorised and discriminated against, as evidenced by the official treatment it receives with respect to the corresponding state language —Spanish, French or Italian. Minorisation encourages substitution, which is reflected in the language’s lexical resources and structure. The future of Catalan, therefore, is not guaranteed. Krauss’s 1992:7 ominous premonition (“the coming century will see whether the death or the doom of 90% of mankind’s languages”) may very well affect this Romance language too.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Endangered Languages and Cultures Group series.

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