In the days of Franco, the various local languages in Spain were, by and large, suppressed. The overall effect of that was that they were on the way to dying out.
However, since the early 1980s single language schools in the local language have sprung up in all areas of Spain where there is a local language. That’s particularly important in the Basque region as their language is so different from all others that it’s said to be virtually impossible to learn unless you learn it as a child.
But there’s a downside to all this promotion of local languages and that’s that it’s beginning to cut those taught in them from the rest of the world. This morning we had one of an increasing number of Spanish guests who couldn’t really speak any language other than Catalan. We could barely communicate with them at all because they couldn’t speak more than a few words of English, French or Spanish.
Now, I can understand that in some areas they would prefer not to be taught in Spanish but they really need to learn one world language or many people will find themselves virtually cut off from the world. Remember that these are local languages: if you only speak a local language you’re going to have trouble outside that region.Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.