Le Catalan - La langue officielle
Catalan - The language of Andorra (Catalá)
Catalan is one of the Roman languages. The inhabitants of 4 countries speak this language: Andorra, Spain, France and Italy. On Spanish territory, Catalan is spoken in Catalonia or in the principality of Andorra (Catalunia o Principat), in most of the Valencian country (País Valenciá), in the Balearic Islands and in a small part of Aragonese territory. In France it is in the department of Pyrénées Orientales (Languedoc Roussillon) often called "Catalonia North" (Catalunia del Nord). Catalan is also spoken in the town of Alghero (Sardinia, Italy). In Andorra Catalan has always had the status of a state language. A total of 10,700,000 people speak Catalan.
In modern Catalan there are two dialects: the eastern dialect (eastern catalá) and the western dialect (western catalá). The eastern dialect includes: the central dialect (the eastern part of Catalonia), the Balearic dialect, the northern dialect and the Roussillon dialect. The western dialect is the language of the western part of Spain, the dialect of the south and the Valencian country.
The Catalan from the city of Alghero is part of the first group, the Catalan from Andorra from the second.
At the beginning of the 13th century Catalan, which did not have much difference from Provençal at the time, asserted itself as an independent language. It is the period of birth of philosophical works and of the "Book of the Gentile and the Three Wise Men" (Llibre del gentil i els tres savis) written by Ramon Llull. At the time of King Pere el Ceremonios began a very rich activity of translation and the works of other languages most known are translated into Catalan.
The golden age of Catalan literature begins at the end of the 14th century and reaches its peak in the 15th century. Francesc Eiximenis, Bernat Metge, Antoni Canals have created a magnificent prose in Catalan. Andreu Febrer and Jordi de Sant Jordi compose poems in a language that is increasingly moving away from Provencal. However, the most brilliant author of the Middle Ages remains Ausiás March. Among the novel writers, Joanot Martorell with his "Tirant lo Blanch" is the best known. The work "Curial and Guelfa" by an unknown author is also famous. The second part of the 15th century is linked to the authors Jaume Roig and Rois de Corella.
The period of the importance of the language coincided with the period of the political crisis which led to the almost everywhere infiltration of the Spanish language which took more and more place in all the spheres of life of Catalonia. This process even touched the Rousillon or however from the moment of the annexation of this territory to France (1659) the French and not the Spanish took the top. For almost 3 centuries (XVIth-XIXth) spiritual life in Catalan almost ceased to exist. This period entered the history of the country as the era of decline (decadence).
In the XIXth century in Catalonia the process of linguistic assimilation for the Spanish language is in full development. Social and political tensions have known very important forms in Catalonia where movements appear first for the protection of regional interests and then national interests. The process of normalization of Catalan, which was the main subject of the First International Congress of Catalan and Literature in Catalan (1906), has taken on double significance. On the one hand it is linguistics (normalization and standardization of the language, reform of the spelling), on the other hand the requirements of the official recognition of Catalan, its teaching in the school and in the establishments of the higher education, its use on radio and television, which means the return to the Catalan language in society and in people's private lives. The reform of the spelling of Catalan is linked to the name of Pompeu Fabra who was the inspiration and the editor of "Norms of the spelling of Catalan" with the Catalan Research Institute. He wrote these standards in 1913 and proposed them later in the "Grammar du catalan".
During the Franco dictatorship the Catalan was again repressed and removed from almost all spheres of life of the Spanish people, keeping their positions only in Andorra and in the south-east of France. In Spain after the death of the dictator the first newspaper published in Catalan appeared in 1976 and in 1977 almost 38 years later the Generalitat (autonomous government of Catalonia) was again established and Catalan was once again declared a native language. In 1978 it was officially introduced into the education system first in Catalonia and then in the Balearic Islands and Valencia.
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