Of a time and a country

Schools are a linguistic battlefield, and this explains why they often speak of vehicular language and, by extension, of the language of the playground.

Of a time and a country

Schools are a linguistic battlefield, and this explains why they often speak of vehicular language and, by extension, of the language of the playground. The demographic reality of at least the last three decades has disrupted inertia in which Catalan was already the most vulnerable link. Anchored in the sentimental self-esteem of immersion, freeze-dried as propaganda, and by the unreal anachronism of "one people, two languages," any enduring political pact to put ideological discord before a higher sense of public service has been disregarded.

Trapped in an asymmetric labyrinth of legal abuses, today disobedience is appealed to after outsourcing the responsibility for the health of Catalans to the classrooms, which were already suffering from a saturation of responsibilities. Without the State having ever assumed constitutional plurinationality as its own virtue, tensions between languages ​​have been cultivated with electoral fury. It is an erosion that has denied the complexity of reality and has weakened the tangible influence of language.

The current situation creates perverse arguments, which try to equate antagonistic diagnoses. There are those who confirm that knowledge of Spanish may be defective, but, above all, there is abundant evidence of a decline in the colloquial use of Catalan. And here the language of the courtyard once again acquires a totemic role. I count my case as the infinitesimal chrome of a collective album. I learned Catalan, without knowing it, in 1971, when I was 11 years old, in a private school where, almost clandestinely, all classes were taught in Catalan. The language (of the classrooms and the playground) was Catalan, and some subjects were taught in Spanish. In 1975 I went to high school, and in the courtyard Catalan and Spanish coexisted and, in the classrooms, only Spanish. Today, however, when you listen to the teachers who have not yet abandoned all hope, you sense that, beyond the political gestures and the diabolical legal threats, the language of the playground is, as a school principal explained to me, "the language of the mobile”. It may be a desperate response to the clichés of propaganda. But in this playground that each one imagines according to his interests, colloquial contagions and media dependencies no longer have anything to do with the face-to-face communication of games and interpersonal relationships. Today the context imposes immediate abductions and a docility among the speakers that has a lot of renunciation and gregarious laziness. It is a reality of interactive digital superpowers. Result: if right now a group of Catalan-speaking teenagers is in the courtyard sharing the adoration for a funny video, they will never say that it makes them laugh but “fa laugh”, which is, at this point, one of the colloquial aberrations of a time and of a country.


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