New blogs

Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Navarrese demand linguistic equality


Thousands of southern Navarrese demonstrated yesterday in Pamplona in demand of equal rights in access to education and services in the Basque language.



'Freedom to choose the Basque language'

A key issue is availability of public education in Basque language but they also demand the right to access TV in Basque and the legal possibility of expressing themselves in Basque language in everyday situations.

The artificial division of Navarre in three linguistic zones (Basque, mixed and non-Basque), which is designed to discriminate against Basque speakers has been often described as Napartheid and has been criticized by EU institutions (to no avail).

Source: Gara.

6 comments:

Heraus said...

Your analysis is right. Still, one cannot deny that South of Artajona (according to Jimeno Jurio) is a zone where Romance dialects have been spoken since Roman times.

Undoubtedly enough, those people should opt to freely learn the Basque language. As a symbol that these lands used to be Basque (in remote times though). Because they want a Basque-speaking Navarre. But that really means that even before learning Basque, these people must feel linked with Basque culture.

IMO, militants should try to impulse a Basque "nationalist" feeling in this area before even making the Basque language easily accessible. Maybe militants should try to take advantage of irredentist feelings in neighbouring Rioja. If people in the Ribera identify their "navarro-riojano" culture as part of a greater and diverse Basque universe (as they used to believe up to the 1930s, see link), things will be easier.

Eeventually, it'll be a matter of choice.

http://www.errioxa.com/

Maju said...

Nobody questions history: it's just a matter of equality.

"IMO, militants should try to impulse a Basque "nationalist" feeling in this area before even making the Basque language easily accessible. Maybe militants should try to take advantage of irredentist feelings in neighbouring Rioja".

I think they should demand a Krutwig-style Basque Country. Because the modern concept has just a Carlist tradition: it's the EH that that the invaders left autonomous... for some time. You are absolutely right that La Rioja and all Castile up to Atapuerca is EH.

However Basque language is more important than nationalist feelings: where the language is lost, the identity is too soon after. Without language there are no Basques.

marnie said...

Hey Maju, I've been meaning to post something on linguistic pluralism on your site.

Why create linguistic zones?

What happens to linguistic minorities in these zones? What about linguistic third parties?

Why not allow linguistic choice by allowing schools in different languages in the same "zone"?

Beyond schools, what constitutes reasonble linguistic protection for a minority language? Signs? Government officials? Commercial labelling?

How do you create a civil service that can rend services in two or more languages?

Regarding medical care, what protections are in place to ensure protection for linguistic minorities?

What about the increased cost of teaching non-native speakers a minority language. How to promote language excellence?

What is the official language of government? If there is complete linguistic choice, how do you ensure and pay for universal translation services in the function of government?

How to balance costs of multilingualism against the need for a vibrant economy?

marnie said...

One thing that I would add is that I think there is a real danger, with "official bilingualism" of creating schools that are linguistic and cultural ghettos.

The real challenge, speaking from experience, it to create a linguistic balance where there are enough native speakers so that the language is spoken, but also some non-native speakers.


On a practical basis, the solution to the linguistic ghetto problem isn't an easy one.

Maju said...

"How do you create a civil service that can rend services in two or more languages?"

This a complicated thing but basically means that everybody in contact with the public should speak both languages fluidly. Long recycling periods and public financing are provided for those who can't.

But when something as simple as having papers printed in both languages is not done... even in areas where supposedly all is bilingual, well.

"What about the increased cost of teaching non-native speakers a minority language".

Yes, it takes time and investment. But on the good side it also creates economic circulation.

Whatever the case, those are the technical issues, what really matters are the principles: the equality of both languages (or the superiority of Basque if anything, which was first).

"What is the official language of government?"

In Navarre Spanish, in Spain Spanish, in the BAC Spanish and Basque, the North has no autonomy whatsoever, so it's French.

"... how do you ensure and pay for universal translation services in the function of government?"

That's why public servants in contact with the public MUST be bilingual, naturally. That's how it is in the Western Basque Country.

Translation services are only needed at certain steps like trials (because Spain does not demand Basque language proficiency to the judges and attorneys it appoints here), production of blank paperwork, laws, parliamentary discussions.

No big deal, after all it's just two languages. What is a real Babel tower is the European institutions at Brussels, with more than 20 official languages. That's complicated! Yet it's done.

"One thing that I would add is that I think there is a real danger, with "official bilingualism" of creating schools that are linguistic and cultural ghettos".

That's why it's important to prioritize Basque language, because Spanish you learn it, want it or not, but if you don't learn Basque early on in your life, later it's a lot harder.

And then you won't get that job as bureaucrat... nor (more important) be able to speak with the people at both sides of the mountains (because obviously we don't normally study French: we learn English for international purposes). When you go forth and back through the Western Pyrenees, you realize how important is Basque (only there of course but it's our heartland).

"The real challenge, speaking from experience, it to create a linguistic balance where there are enough native speakers so that the language is spoken, but also some non-native speakers".

I don't know which is your experience (Canada?) but the real challenge is to get the young generations learning Basque since early on, so 50 or 100 years from now, everybody knows Basque and we can, if we wish so, skip Spanish altogether.

That's why school and the media are so important. In most of Navarre if you want to school your children in Basque language, you hav to pay for it (and maybe not have any school close by). Same in the North. Same for TV: you may need a satellite dish... making Basque a privilege for the affluent and committed, not a right for all.

"On a practical basis, the solution to the linguistic ghetto problem isn't an easy one".

Not sure what you mean by "linguisti ghetto". There are no Basque monolinguals anymore: there's no Basque linguistic ghetto. There's a Spanish and a French linguistic ghettos instead, and that can only be solved by spreading Basque, gradually but persistently.

This requires policies that protect the Basque language and the rights of those who wish to use and/or learn it.

marnie said...

I wrote up some thoughts on linguistic pluralism, partly in response to your comments.


I'll email you. It's too long to post.