CATALAN IN MAJORCA (BALEARIC ISLANDS)
xx-xx-xxxx
http://www.uoc.es/euromosaic/web/document/catala/an/e3/e3.html
Institut de Sociolingüística Catalana
Catalan in Majorca (Balearic Islands)

Majorca is the largest island in the Balearic archipaelago, in the north-western Mediterranean. The native population speak Catalan, with some local variation both between the islands and in different parts of Majorca.

The fieldwork was undertaken between February and November 1996, and was coordinated in two phases by srs. Agustí Baró and Jordi Vallespir, the latter being attached to the Universitat de les Illes Balears.

The interviews were done in the following towns: Palma (107), Alcúdia (7), Calvià (8), Inca (5), Lloseta, Manacor (8), Sa Pobla (9), Pollença (15), Valldemossa (5), Santanyí (15), Felanitx (11), Sóller and Port de Sóller (25), Petra (6), Pina (18), and others. The distribution was fixed in order to proportionally represent different kinds of urban structure: the large urban capital, booming tourist resorts, towns based on a mixed economy, and villages in rural, agricultural environments.

Though the sample is not representative of the whole of the archipælago and should not be interpreted as such, the demographic weight of Majorca, plus the fact that the smaller islands have been either less (Minorca) or more (Ibiza and Formentera) influenced by tourism in recent years (with the dramatic sociolinguistic changes such a development has provoked), probably make the data obtained from the sample fairly close to an overall picture of the islands.

The distribution of the scores on several variables (the low proportion of married people, the low number of offspring, and the high proportion of university-trained respondents), are clsear signs that the sample was biassed towards a younger than average age. Table 1 shows that a higher proportion than expected - 45% - were under 30 years of age:

Table 1. Distribution of respondents by age, compared to census data for people aged 18 or more

Age

18-19

20-24

25-29

30-39

40-49

50-64

>65

TOTAL

Number

7

68

48

74

26

33

16

272

% sample

2·6%

25·0%

17·6%

27·2%

9·6%

12·1%

5·9%

100%

% 1991 Census

4·3%

10·4%

10·3%

18·8%

16·4%

20·3%

19·4%

100%

The language

The first issue raised in the survey was the name which locals give to their language, which like most Catalan-speaking territories, is often based on the name of the locality. Thus it was no surprise to find (table 2) that nearly two-thirds of our respondents claimed to "always" refer to the way they speak as Mallorquí (Majorcan), nearly all the remainder doing so "often". Most also use the term Catalan at least occasionally. As expected, hardly anyone uses the terms relating to the other islands, while the recently-coined term Balear, which is sometimes used in certain circles in Spanish-speaking Spain, appears to have no significant social basis.

Table 2. Name of the language

Always

Often

Sometimes

Occasionally

Never

"Català"

16

63

62

52

32

7·1%

28·0%

27·6%

23·1%

14·2%

"Mallorquí"

173

78

11

4

0

65·0%

29·3%

4·1%

1·5%

0%

"Menorquí"

0

3

1

4

205

0%

1·4%

0·5%

1·9%

96·2%

"Eivissenc"

0

2

1

4

205

0%

0·9%

0·5%

1·9%

96·7%

"Balear"

0

1

8

27

178

0%

0·5%

3·7%

12·6%

83·2%

Other names

0

0

3

2

99

0%

0%

2·9%

1·9%

95·2%

Endogamy

Table 3 shows that three-quarters of the sample have lived in the same district (or in Palma) since the age of 3. Only one in ten parents of this Catalan-speaking sample are returned as having lived in non- Catalan-speaking Spain since the respondent was 3.

Table 3. Place of residence since the age of 3 (Q3)

Respondent

Mother

Father

Partner

In this district

154

143

129

83

62·1%

54·6%

50·2%

41·9%

In Palma

57

37

40

57

23·0%

14·1%

15·6%

28·8%

In the rest of Majorca

23

46

53

34

9·3%

17·6%

20·6%

17·2%

In Menorca

0

0

0

2

0%

0%

0%

1·0%

In Eivissa

0

2

0

0

0%

0·8%

0%

0%

In Catalonia

3

7

6

5

1·2%

2·7%

2·3%

2·5%

In Valencia

0

1

2

0

0%

0·4%

0·8%

0%

In the rest of Spain

11

23

26

14

4·4%

8·8%

10·1%

7·1%

Abroad

0

3

1

3

0%

1·2%

0·4%

1·5%

Valid total

248

262

257

198

As expected, therefore, the figures relating to parental residence when the respondent was born (table 4) are very similar: three-quarters in "this district" or Palma, while only 4 resided in non-Catalan-speaking Spain at that time. It is worth noting that 6% of the sample were born in Valencia, most of which is Catalan-speaking.

Table 4. Parental residence when responent was born (Q4)

 

Number

%

In this district

143

52·4%

In Palma

58

21·3%

In the rest of Majorca

37

13·6%

In Menorca

1

0·4%

In Eivissa

10

3·7%

In Catalonia

1

0·4%

In Valencia

17

6·2%

In the rest of Spain

4

1·5%

Abroad

1

0·4%

NA, etc

1

0·4%

Valid total

272

 

Total

273

100%

As regards the 23 people born outside the Balearic Islands (table 5), just over half went to live there before the age of ten, while very few arrived beyond the age of 30. We can hypothesise that the acquisition of Catalan after this age becomes more difficult.

Table 5. Age at which respondent came to live in Mallorca.

 

Number

%

<5 years

7

30·4%

5-9 yrs

6

26·1%

10-19 yrs

3

13·0%

20-29 yrs

4

17·4%

>30 yrs

3

13·0%

 

23

100%

Returning now to the whole sample (table 6), two-thirds learned Catalan at home as the main language, and a further 10% learned it simultaneously with Spanish. Thus about a fifth of our sample learned it as a second language.

 

Table 6. First language learned by respondent at home (Q7)

Catalan

186

68·1%

Catalan & Spanish

26

9·5%

Spanish

43

15·8%

Other

11

4·0%

NA

7

2·6%

TOTAL

273

100%

We enquired into the context in which those who learned Catalan outside the home had done so. Many respondents gave more than one answer. Nearly all stated in "personal relationships", while more than half also gave "at school", though it is unclear to what extent such a context was formal (teacher-pupil relationship) or informal (playground relationships). Curiously enough, three respondents, all males (by necessity), claimed to have learned Catalan whilst doing their military service (it is widely reported in Catalonia that the Catalan identity of non-Catalan-speaking Catalans is enhanced during military service, and that this leads to some actually using the language for the first time, in spite of its marginal formal presence in the Spanish armed forces). The data are shown in table 7:

Table 7. Place (outside home) where respondents learned Catalan (Q8)

 

Yes

%

In personal relationships

51

64·6%

At school

35

44·3%

In neighbourhood

19

24·1%

On language courses

10

12·7%

During military service

3

3·8%

Others

12

15·2%

Total

79

100%

The reasons for learning Catalan outside the home are varied - mostly being out of personal and integrative motivation or academic compulsion - though labour market requirements are hardly ever given (see table 8):

 

Table 8. Reasons for learning Catalan (outside the home) (Q9)

 

Yes

No

Compulsory at school

22

23

For work reasons

4

35

For family or personal reasons

34

16

To integrate into the community

30

17

Out of general interest

39

11

Other

4

15

Language proficiency and use in the family

Language proficiency was investigated in both Catalan and Spanish for the main member of each respondent's family, as well as the main language used by the respondent to speak to each one. It is interesting (see table 9a) to note that there is a slight improvement in Catalan proficiency as recorded by respondents, over three generations. One in seven grandparents are returned as having (or having had) no proficiency in Catalan, these respondents presumably being either first or second generation immigrants. Again, this trend runs counter to what has been observed in many other minority language communities.

Table 9a. Family members' language competence: CATALAN

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

NA

 

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

142

65

16

35

15

Mat GPs

55·0%

25·2%

6·2%

13·6%

143

64

12

37

17

Pat GPs

55·9%

25·0%

4·7%

14·5%

147

81

19

22

4

Father

54·6%

30·1%

7·1%

8·2%

144

84

18

24

3

Mother

53·3%

31·1%

6·7%

8·9%

120

61

14

9

69

Brother(s)

58·8%

29·9%

6·9%

4·4%

103

47

16

8

99

Sister(s)

59·2%

27·0%

9·2%

4·6%

The respondents report a more rapid improvement in proficiency in Spanish (see table 9b). Yet again, one in seven grandparents are returned as as having (or having had) no proficiency in Spanish, and nearly two-fifths as having "a little" competence in the same language; these respondents presumably belong to longstanding Majorcan families. While the parental generation is seen in overall terms as having a lower proficiency in Spanish than in Catalan, respondents seem to assess their their brothers and sisters as having a slightly better knowledge of Spanish than Catalan, though the differences are very small.

 

Table 9b. Family members' language competence: SPANISH

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

NA

 

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

69

47

99

37

21

Mat GPs

27·4%

18·7%

39·3%

14·7%

69

55

92

37

20

Pat GPs

27·3%

21·7%

36·4%

14·6%

114

101

43

7

8

Father

43·0%

38·1%

16·2%

2·6%

99

95

62

9

8

Mother

37·4%

35·8%

23·4%

3·4%

122

64

11

3

73

Brother(s)

61·0%

32·0%

5·5%

1·5%

108

55

7

1

102

Sister(s)

63·2%

32·2%

4·1%

0·6%

Let us now turn to language use (table 10). The first item, which is at the heart of langĦuage reproduction at home, is the language used by parents to speak to each other, when the respondent was a child. Catalan predominates clearly, while monolingual Spanish is quoted by about 40 people (presumably, as before, those of first or second-generation immigrant origin, who have acquired Catalan as a second language).

Table 10. Language used by parents to speak to each other, when respondent was a child

Language used

No.

%

Catalan

191

70%

More Catalan than Spanish

12

4%

More Spanish than Catalan

18

7%

Spanish

43

16%

Others

7

3%

NA

2

1%

Returning now to the language used by the respondents to talk with different members of the family, Catalan predominates very clearly in all six situations, being used by three quarters of the respondents (see table 11). The bilingual option, as expected, is only quoted by a small minority, whilst Spanish is used by about one sixth of the total. What is especially significant is there seems to be no decline in language use: respondents speak Catalan equally with all three generations.

Table 11. Language used by respondent to speak with ...

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

Others

NA

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

Others

198

9

43

3

20

Maternal G'parents

78%

4%

17%

1%

189

19

41

2

22

Paternal G'parents

75%

8%

16%

1%

206

19

40

4

4

Father

77%

7%

15%

2%

209

11

44

6

3

Mother

77%

4%

16%

2%

144

18

33

3

75

Brother(s)

72·7%

9·1%

16·7%

1·5%

128

19

28

3

95

Sister(s)

71·9%

10·7%

15·7%

1·7%

Later in the questionnaire a control question was included. It contained a couple of the same situations investigated earlier (speaking with each parent) and the data correlate very highly. There is a predominant use of Catalan throughout (sse table 12), and no sign of intergenerational decline. Indeed, the exclusive use of Spanish with the offspring is only reported by one in twelve respondents.

Table 12. Language used at home in the following situations.

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

Others

NA

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

Others

189

35

39

7

1

Sitting at the table

70·0%

13·0%

14·4%

2·6%

202

13

45

7

5

With your mother

75·7%

4·9%

16·9%

2·6%

194

20

40

3

15

With your father

75·5%

7·8%

15·6%

1·2%

151

22

44

5

50

With your partner

68·0%

9·9%

19·8%

2·3%

94

13

10

3

143

With your children

78·3%

10·8%

8·3%

2·5%

139

18

40

4

68

With your in-laws

69·2%

9·0%

19·9%

2·0%

Turning now to the respondent's own reported language competence (table 13), nearly all claim to understand and speak Catalan "very well" or "quite well", though one in eight claims to have poor reading ability, and close to half claim little or no writing proficiency in Catalan.

As far as Spanish is concerned, oral competence (both active and passive) is deemed to be very close to that of Catalan, but literacy is clearly higher in Spanish, especially as regards writing ability. This can easily be explained by the long absence of the Catalan language from the education system, until the late 1970s.

Table 13. Respondents' linguistic competence

         

CATALAN

       

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

NA

 

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

217

46

9

1

0

Understand

79·5%

16·8%

3·3%

0·4%

187

69

15

1

1

Speak

68·8%

25·4%

5·5%

0·4%

162

73

33

3

2

Read

59·8%

26·9%

12·2%

1·1%

63

87

89

31

3

Write

23·3%

32·2%

33·0%

11·5%

                   
         

SPANISH

       

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

NA

 

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

235

31

4

3

0

Understand

86·1%

11·4%

1·5%

1·1%

189

71

10

3

0

Speak

69·2%

26·0%

3·7%

1·1%

227

37

6

3

0

Read

83·2%

13·6%

2·2%

1·1%

195

66

10

2

0

Write

71·4%

24·2%

3·7%

0·7%

In order to look at the language proficiency of the respondents' partners, let us first see how many are married or live together. The next table (14) shows that only slightly above a half qualify, and this figure is another result of the bias in the sample selection, which overrepresents younger age-groups and university students.

Table 14. Marital status

Single

119

43·6%

Married / Living together

141

51·6%

Divorced

6

2·2%

Widow/er

7

2·6%

Nevertheless, we have data on the language proficiency of over 200 partners (some of which do not live with the respondent). Over two-thirds are considered to have "very good" competence, and over half of the remainder have "quite good" competence.

Table 15. Partner's Catalan proficiency

Very good

Quite good

A little

None

NA

155

38

20

12

48

68·9%

16·9%

8·9%

5·3%

 

As might be expected given the high levels of proficiency reprted, table 16 shows that the Catalan-speaking partners use Catalan within the family in most cases, though one fifth use Spanish with their parents. There seems to be a slightly higher proportion of use of Catalan with offspring, though it is not statistically significant.

 

Table 16. Language usually used by Catalan-proficient partners in their daily relations with family members

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

Others

NA

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

Others

145

8

40

4

9

Father

73·6%

4·1%

20·3%

2·0%

144

9

42

6

4

Mother

71·6%

4·5%

20·9%

3·0%

93

6

18

2

56

Offspring

78·2%

5·0%

15·1%

1·7%

133

20

30

2

11

In-laws

71·9%

10·8%

16·2%

1·1%

If we return to the respondents' own immediate family environment, we can see in table 17 that they judge the language competence in both languages to be broadly similar.

Table 17. Language proficiency of people living with respondent

CATALAN SPANISH

Very well

Quite well

A little

Not at all

 

Very well

Quite well

A little

Not at all

326

150

51

7

 

341

122

55

13

61%

28%

10%

1%

 

64%

23%

10%

2%

Most respondents (three fifths) claim to have no children, while one quarter have two or more. The figures in table 18 again reveal that the average age of the sample is lower than expected (cf. table 1).

Table 18. Number of offspring

No. of offspring

No. of cases

% of total

0

167

61%

1

37

14%

2

37

14%

3

18

7%

4

9

3%

5

0

0%

6

1

0%

7

4

1%

Total

273

 

The respondents report that the language used by offspring to speak to each other is in three quarters of the cases, Catalan. Only 18% report that their offspring speak Spanish (or more Spanish than Catalan) together. This information gives a clear indication of the active process of language reproduction apparently going on in most families of Catalan-speakers.

 

Table 19. Language used by offspring to speak to each other

Always Catalan

67

72·8%

More Catalan than Spanish

3

3·3%

Catalan and Spanish equally

4

4·3%

More Spanish than Catalan

13

14·1%

Always Spanish

4

4·3%

Other languages

1

1·1%

NA

181

100%

It might be that the family is the only institution where the language is being reproduced. However, in looking (table 20) into the main language used in a number of the offsprings' activities (outside formal schooling) it is clear that the language is very much present in such activities, though it should be borne in mind that the sub-samples are small.

Table 20. Language used in clubs and groups that offspring belong to

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

N

Catalan

Cat + Sp

Spanish

21

4

6

31

Catechism

67·7%

12·9%

19·4%

15

0

4

19

Scouts

78·9%

0%

21·1%

22

3

5

30

Football club

73·3%

10·0%

16·7%

17

6

9

32

Gymnastics

53·1%

18·8%

28·1%

14

4

5

23

Swimming club

60·9%

17·4%

21·7%

23

2

2

27

Leisure youth group

85·2%

7·4%

7·4%

14

0

0

14

Theatre group

100·0%

0%

0%

10

3

1

14

Other 1

71·4%

21·4%

7·1%

4

1

0

5

Other 2

80·0%

20·0%

0%

A final indicator of spontaneous language use on the part of respondents, which gives a clue as to the level of functional differentiation between Catalan and Spanish, came in the form of the language used to answer the phone at home and at work (see table 21). Yet again, Catalan seems to be used much more than Spanish.

Table 21. Language used to answer the phone at home and at work

At home

   

At work

 

150

55·4%

Catalan

106

54·1%

12

4·4%

Cat > Sp

16

8·2%

11

4·1%

Cat = Sp

11

5·6%

5

1·8%

Sp > Cat

3

1·5%

56

20·7%

Spanish

46

23·5%

1

0·4%

Other

2

1·0%

36

13·3%

I say "Sí?"

12

6·1%

2

-

NA

77

-

Education

Let us now return to the whole sample and look at the effect of the education system as a means of language production. It is significant to note in table 22 that very few respondents report monolingual Catalan-medium education, though from 18% to 30% report receiving some instruction through each language, in the compulsory age groups. It is also highly significant that at university level monolingual instruction through Spanish is only mentioned by a quarter of those responding to this particular item. This is a trend quite different from that observed in many language groups, where it is only at preschool and perhaps primary levels that any instruction is given through the respective language.

The number of respondents receiving or having received higher education is surprisingly high, probably revealing a skew in the sampling procedure employed. This should be borne in mind while discussing the remaining data.

Table 22. Language of respondents' education.

 

Preschool

Primary

Secondary

Voc. training

Higher

Catalan

16

6

14

9

28

6%

2%

6%

11%

24%

Catalan & Spanish

46

56

66

28

58

18%

21%

30%

34%

49%

Spanish

191

206

138

45

33

75%

76%

63%

54%

28%

Other

3

2

1

1

0

1%

1%

1%

1%

0%

Valid total

256

270

219

83

119

Children's education

The data reveal that over a third of parents reported not being able to find a school in Catalan. This probably applies especially to the older respondents, since the introduction of Catalan into schools as a subject and as a medium has only taken place (with a handful of exceptions, mainly in the private education sector) since the advent of the a democratic regime in 1977. Very few respondents actually claimed to have actively chosen a Spanish-medium school. On the other hand, bilingual schooling seems to be quite popular.

Table 23. Language chosen for children's education

Catalan

Bilingual

Spanish

No choice

No preference

NA

Preschool

25

19

6

30

4

189

30%

23%

7%

36%

5%

 

Primary (EGB)

20

16

5

30

3

199

27%

22%

7%

41%

4%

 

Secondary

8

17

4

22

4

218

15%

319%

7%

40%

7%

 

Higher

7

7

2

16

4

237

19%

19%

6%

44%

11%

 

Given that a fair proportion (between 35% and 45%) say that they have/had no choice, as well as the high number of those not answering, it seems hardly worth giving the results to the question of how close was the school for the offspring in the language of the parents' choice. Instead, let us concentrate (table 24) on the language in which each subject is/was taught to the respondent's children. They have been ranked, starting with those subjects most often reported as being used to teach through Catalan. Apart from Catalan as a subject, Art, Religion / Ethics, Physical education and Biology seem to be/have been used to teach more than half the offspring through Catalan. In the other subjects (Geography, Mathematics, History, Modern languages, Latin and Physics & Chemistry) Spanish seems to have been the main language used.

Table 24. Language in which subjects are/were taught to respondent's children

Catalan

Spanish

Other

NA

 

Catalan

Spanish

Other

65

5

0

203

Catalan

93%

7%

0%

13

3

0

255

Other

81%

19%

0%

41

33

1

198

Art

55%

44%

1%

38

35

0

200

Religion / Ethics

52%

48%

0%

40

35

2

196

Physical education

52%

46%

3%

40

39

0

194

Biology

51%

49%

0%

32

36

0

205

Geography

47%

53%

0%

37

44

1

191

Mathematics

45%

54%

1%

30

39

1

203

History

42,9%

55,7%

1,4%

22

27

16

208

Modern languages

33,8%

41,5%

24,6%

13

26

0

233

Latin

33,3%

66,7%

0,0%

15

42

0

216

Physics & Chemistry

26,3%

73,7%

0,0%

Language use in the community

The first issue raised in this context is the perception of the maintenance or decline of the use of the language in the community, over time (tables 25 and 26). Three quarters claim that they heard Catalan used often, as a child, in the street and in shops, and over half in clubs and the church. One fifth claim that they never heard Catalan used in church when they were children.

Table 25. Frequency with which Catalan was heard where the respondent lived as a child

Often

Some-times

Occasionally

Never

NA

Often

Some-times

Occasionally

Never

209

40

9

13

2

Short conversations in the street

77%

15%

3%

5%

206

38

7

20

2

In shops

76%

14%

3%

7%

135

49

26

56

7

In church

51%

18%

10%

21%

148

48

22

34

21

In clubs & societies

59%

19%

9%

14%

 

The following table shows very clearly that the perception of the use of Catalan in shops and the street has not declined; indeed, virtually noone "never" hears the language used in these contexts. There has been a slight increase, apparently, in the use of Catalan in clubs and societies, but the greatest increase has been in the church, where the former 31% who claimed that little or no Catalan was used when they were children has come down to under 12%. This may be in part due to the replies of older respondents, for whom the mass used to be, at least until the 1960's, in Latin.

Table 26. Frequency with which Catalan is heard nowadays where the respondent lives

Often

Some-times

Occasionally

Never

NA

Often

Some-times

Occasionally

Never

215

51

6

1

0

Short conversations in the street

79%

19%

2%

0%

208

51

8

3

3

In shops

77%

19%

3%

1%

202

37

14

7

13

In church

78%

14%

5%

3%

164

59

16

13

21

In clubs & societies

65%

23%

6%

5%

Let us now look in much more detail at language use patterns within the community, in two steps. Firstly, we shall see to what extent the respondents participate in various social or community activities and, if they do so, what language or languages they use. However, we must analyse to what extent Catalan-speakers are perceived to take part in each particular activity. It is clear from the next table (table 27) that four-fifths of the respondents consider that Catalan-speakers predominate (more than half the people involved) in each of the social situations.

Table 27. Language competence of people involved in various social situations

 

All or nearly all

> 1/2

A half

< 1/2

Few or none

NA

Local friends

203

26

24

9

4

7

76%

10%

9%

3%

2%

 

Cultural activities

147

21

21

3

6

75

74%

11%

11%

2%

3%

 

The usually used shops

182

45

25

10

4

7

68%

17%

9%

4%

2%

 

Neighbours

173

46

32

8

6

8

65%

17%

12%

3%

2%

 

Sports club

102

18

22

8

5

118

66%

12%

14%

5%

3%

 

One would therefore expect the use of Catalan, on the part of respondents, to also be much more prevalent than the use of Spanish. Table 28 bears out this expectation, for over three-quarters of the repondents claim to use only Catalan, or more Catalan than Spanish, in four of the five situations: local friends, cultural activities, usually used shops and neighbours. Only in sports clubs does the level of Catalan sink slightly.

Table 28. Language used by respondents to speak to people involved in various social situations

 

Catalan

Cat > Sp

Cat = Sp

Sp > Cat

Spanish

NA

Local friends

186

24

23

14

21

5

69%

9%

9%

5%

8%

 

Cultural activities

132

25

21

5

13

77

67%

13%

11%

3%

7%

 

The usually used shops

174

33

28

13

18

7

65%

12%

11%

5%

7%

 

Neighbours

168

35

31

10

25

4

63%

13%

12%

4%

9%

 

Sports club

95

15

16

11

18

118

61%

10%

10%

7%

12%

 

Secondly, the questionnaire surveyed language use in different daily situations such as visiting the doctor, ordering a drink or reporting a power cut. The results have been recorded in table 29, rank-ordered by the situations in which the highest proportion of respondents stated that they could use the language in the particular situation. In the right hand column another proportion is given: within the number who state they can use the language, how many state that they actually do? Both indicators give insights into the dynamics of language use.

Table 29. Language use in different situations in the community

   

I can and do

I can but don't

I can't

NA

Can/total

Do/can

14

Speaking with a local councillor

198

22

8

45

96%

90%

4

Buying a newspaper

216

28

11

22

96%

89%

6

Ordering a coffee in a bar

216

40

12

22

96%

84%

11

Ordering a book at the library

173

20

10

70

95%

90%

13

Ordering a meal in a restaurant

196

51

13

13

95%

79%

5

Speaking with local policeman

191

37

13

22

95%

84%

15

Buying food in a shop

222

26

16

9

94%

90%

12

Speaking with the children's teacher

107

16

8

142

94%

87%

25

Speaking with the local priest

193

19

14

47

94%

91%

28

Asking a stranger for the time

168

73

16

16

94%

70%

24

Going to the optician

191

33

15

34

94%

85%

20

Commenting on the water bill

187

36

15

35

94%

84%

22

Buying an electric appliance

199

36

16

22

94%

85%

7

Buying a cinema ticket

165

60

16

32

93%

73%

18

Speaking to your bank manager

214

24

17

18

93%

90%

32

Taking a taxi

187

50

18

18

93%

79%

3

Buying petrol at the p. station

200

33

18

22

93%

86%

23

Booking a trip at a travel agency

180

50

18

25

93%

78%

31

Speaking with post office staff

199

33

21

20

92%

86%

30

Phoning to get a gas leak repaired

179

38

20

36

92%

82%

1

Speaking with the family doctor

205

38

26

4

90%

84%

8

Speaking with car repair man

195

19

26

33

89%

91%

27

Telephoning the electricity company

163

47

26

37

89%

78%

19

Getting your washing machine mended

168

36

27

42

88%

82%

10

Sports training

116

23

20

114

87%

83%

17

Speaking with a lawyer

143

32

26

72

87%

82%

9

Speaking with hairdresser

206

25

36

6

87%

89%

21

Speaking with social security

154

42

37

40

84%

79%

26

Asking for information at the tax office

133

49

41

50

82%

73%

2

Speaking with the dentist

178

35

48

12

82%

84%

29

Speaking with the telephone company

135

55

52

31

79%

71%

16

Taking the driving test

93

36

44

100

75%

72%

It can be seen that in all situations both the possibility of using Catalan and its actual use are recorded by a considerable majority of respondents. The figures only start to drop in dealing with the tax office, the telephone company or taking the driving test. The sample therefore seems to be highly self-confident inasmuch as the public use of the language is concerned.

A last approximation to language use in the community is afforded by the replies to a question in which the language used by respondents in different social activities was investigated. The activities have been ranked in table 30 so that those in which Catalan is most recorded as being the only language used by respondents appear at the top of the list. It is clear that there are no activities where Spanish is used by the respondents more than is Catalan. However, the six activities in which Catalan is most used are only performed by a minority of the respondents.

Table 30. Social and community activities, and language used by respondents

Catalan

Cat > Sp

Both equally

Sp > Cat

Spanish

Valid cases

Hunting

83%

0%

10%

3%

5%

40

Farmers' organisation

80%

6%

3%

3%

9%

35

Ecologist group

76%

8%

8%

4%

4%

50

Fishing

74%

11%

3%

6%

6%

70

Amateur theatre group

69%

7%

17%

4%

3%

75

Children's school Parent-Teacher Ass.

67%

6%

13%

3%

11%

64

In church

67%

3%

23%

4%

4%

173

Talking politics

67%

5%

17%

4%

7%

193

Going to the bar

67%

10%

15%

3%

5%

241

Unorganised sport

61%

6%

17%

7%

10%

122

Going to visit friends

61%

11%

20%

6%

3%

266

Going to eat out

59%

12%

17%

7%

5%

261

Voluntary service

56%

4%

18%

12%

10%

50

Sports club

54%

9%

20%

8%

9%

118

Doing gymnastics

51%

8%

18%

13%

10%

96

Visits to the theatre

44%

16%

31%

6%

4%

142

Other

41,7%

16,7%

16,7%

0,0%

25,0%

12

Religious practice is another significant area of social activity. It seemed that our sample was not in the main a fervent one, over half declaring that they attend church never or only occasionally (table 31).

Table 31. Frequency of religious attendance

 

No.

%

Regularly

59

21·8%

Sometimes

57

21·0%

Occasionally

108

39·9%

Never

47

17·3%

Total

271

100%

We asked those who had indicated some degree of religious poractice how much Catalan was used in five different situations. Over two-thirds replied (see table 32) that Catalan was the main language used, in all five activities. About a fifth recorded bilingual usage.

Table 32. Language of religious activities

 

Catalan

Cat. & Span.

Spanish

Latin

Other

Total

Sermon

161

40

22

0

1

224

72%

18%

10%

 

0%

 

Public prayer

161

39

22

0

1

223

72%

18%

10%

 

0%

 

Private prayer

158

37

16

0

1

212

75%

18%

8%

 

1%

 

Readings

152

45

26

0

1

224

68%

20%

12%

 

0%

 

Hymn singing

152

50

20

0

1

223

68%

22%

9%

 

0%

 

Language and work

Two-thirds of the employed respondents reported that they work in companies with under 25 employees. Under 5% work in large companies (with over 250 employees in the same locality), though the picture changes if the total number of employees of these firms is considered (see table 33).

Table 33. Number of employees in the company or organisation where the respondent works

In the same locality

No.

%

 

In all

No.

%

2-4

55

33%

 

2-4

32

29%

5-24

58

35%

 

5-24

32

29%

25-50

20

12%

 

25-50

10

9%

51-250

26

16%

 

51-250

13

12%

>250

8

5%

 

>250

25

22%

Total

167

   

Total

112

 

Only one in eight respondents reported (see table 34) that the company they work for has its central offices located outside the Balearic Islands. This means that in the main, language-related decisions can be taken in most cases locally.

Table 34. Location of central offices of the company or organisation where the respondent works

 

Number

%

In the same locality

122

67%

On the Islands, in another locality

38

21%

In Catalonia or Valencia

3

2%

In the rest of Spain

15

8%

Abroad / multinational

3

2%

TOTAL

181

Nearly a quarter of the managing directors of the companies involved were from outside the Balearic Islands (table 35). Over three-quarters of them are reported to be fluent in Catalan (table 36).

Table 35. Geographical origin of managing director of the company or organisation

 

Number

%

In the same locality

100

55%

On the Islands, in another locality

42

23%

In Catalonia or Valencia

7

4%

In the rest of Spain

27

15%

Abroad / multinational

7

4%

TOTAL

183

Table 36. Managing director's proficiency in Catalan

 

Number

%

Fluent

128

77%

He can speak it, but only a little

13

8%

He/she understands it, but can't speak it

14

8%

He/she doesn't understand it

12

7%

I don't know

11

 

TOTAL

167

1

Several studies show that firms whose products are marketed within a particular linguistic community tend to use that language more, whereas those marketing outside tend to use languages of wider distribution, to the detriment of the territorial language. The results from the sample suggest that seven out of ten employees work for firms which have a basically local market (see table 37). This should be borne in mind while interpreting the answers to the language use questions in tables 38 asnd 39.

Table 37. Where are most of the goods or services sold by the company or organisation?

Place

No.

%

Mainly on Majorca

102

56%

Throughout the Balearic Islands

24

13%

In the rest of Spain

7

4%

Throughout Spain· including the Islands

16

9%

In the rest of Europe

10

6%

Both in Europe and on the Islands

22

12%

TOTAL

181

Turning first to language competence (table 38), the questionnaire enquired into the distribution of Catalan-speakers in the workforce. All or nearly all directors in most cases were recorded as Catalan-speakers. As regards workmates and subordinates, only in a small number of cases (less than 10%) did respondents work in firms where Catalan-speakers were in a minority. Finally, the same pattern emerged for customers: over four-fifths of respondents worked for firms where at least half of the customers were Catalan-speakers.

Table 38. Catalan language competence among work mates

 

All or nearly all

> 1/2

A half

< 1/2

Few or none

Valid cases

Director/s

126

3

5

3

17

154

82%

2%

3%

2%

11%

 

Workmates (daily contact)

98

27

26

11

4

166

59%

16%

16%

7%

2%

 

Immediate subordinates

46

8

17

3

5

79

58%

10%

22%

4%

6%

 

Customers

51

42

21

12

11

137

37%

31%

15%

9%

8%

 

When the language use patterns of respondents are studied, Catalan again seems to predominate, except with customers where there is a broader spread of situations. As expected, fewer bilingual solutions are returned by respondents in their dealings with individuals (directors: 13%) than with others, customers being the most mixed (54% of bilingual solutions) (see table 39).

Table 39. Language used by respondents to speak with work mates

 

Catalan

Cat > Sp

Both equally

Sp > Cat

Spanish

NA

Valid cases

Director/s

110

8

6

6

25

118

155

71%

5%

4%

4%

16%

   

Workmates (daily contact)

89

36

15

7

18

108

165

54%

22%

9%

4%

11%

   

Immediate subordinates

43

11

10

2

12

195

78

55%

14%

13%

3%

15%

   

Customers

49

27

40

15

21

121

152

32%

18%

26%

10%

14%

   

This apparently satisfactory picture is based on oral relations. As soon as written language comes into play, however, the use of Catalan plunges (see table 40). In written administrative tasks, only 29% of respondents claim that Catalan predominates in their firm. Almost a third state that Spanish is the only language used in such tasks.

Table 40. Language normally used in written administrative tasks at work

Always Catalan

22

12%

More Catalan than Spanish

34

18%

Catalan and Spanish equally

20

11%

More Spanish than Catalan

41

22%

Always Spanish

60

32%

Other languages

13

7%

NA

83

Given that Catalan seems very important in oral functions, and much less so in written ones, it is interesting to see whether or not Catalan is considered "necessary", "useful" or "not needed" at work. Table 41 shows that understanding and speaking it are considered to be fairly important, as the follwing table shows, for only one in seven states that it is not needed for these functions. However, for reading and writing purposes, the usefulness of Catalan declines rapidly, only one third of the respondents claiming that the language is necessary.

Spanish, on the other hand, is seen as "necessary" by over two-thirds for each of the four abilities and hardly anyone regards it as "not needed" at work. In conclusion, Spanish enjoys more prestige in the labour market, though oral Catalan stands its own much better than most non-State languages in western Europe.

Table 41. Importance of linguistic competence at work

       

CATALAN

     

Necessary

Useful

Not needed

NA

 

Necessary

Useful

Not needed

103

54

26

90

Understand

56%

30%

14%

89

66

27

91

Speak

49%

36%

15%

64

58

61

90

Read

35%

32%

33%

55

47

80

91

Write

30%

26%

44%

       

SPANISH

     

Necessary

Useful

Not needed

NA

 

Necessary

Useful

Not needed

143

32

6

92

Understand

79%

18%

3%

137

35

8

93

Speak

76%

19%

4%

130

37

13

93

Read

72%

21%

7%

122

42

16

93

Write

68%

23%

9%

There does therefore seem to be some place for Catalan-speakers (perhaps it would be preferable to use the term "bilinguals") inside companies, and indeed table 42 shows that some firms do actually seem to have a policy regarding this issue, particularly in reference to those members of staff having direct dealings with customers, including receptionists and telephonists.

 

Table 42. Usefulness of Catalan speakers for given tasks in the company

 

Yes

 

No

 

General policy of the firm

33

39·8%

50

60·2%

Customer relations

33

35·9%

59

64·1%

Reception, telephonist

30

34·9%

56

65·1%

Direct attention to public

32

34·4%

61

65·6%

Shop stewards, group leaders

23

30·7%

52

69·3%

Salespeople

16

30·2%

37

69·8%

Representatives

11

22·4%

38

77·6%

Nevertheless it should not be concluded that most firms do actually have an explicit language policy governing the use of Catalan and Spanish (and perhaps others languages as well). On the contrary, only one third appear to have one.

Table 43. Companies and organisations with an explicit language policy

 

Number

%

Yes, and it is applied totally

30

16%

Yes, and it is partially applied

31

17%

Yes, but it isn't applied

8

4%

It has no policy on the subject

97

53%

I don't know of any

17

9%

Total valid cases

183

In addition, only a quarter display a detectable language group preference when employing personnel. Such a preference, when it does exist, seems to fall heavily in favour of Catalan-speakers.

Table 44. Preference for members of a particular language group when employing personnel

Catalan speakers

41

23%

No preference

138

76%

Non-Catalan speakers

2

1%

Valid cases

181

 

Cultural reproduction

Another element in the overall theoretical framework is the role of cultural reproduction in supporting the language. Here books and, above all, the mass media are all important. Table 45 shows that as far as books are concerned, Spanish receives greater attention: one third never read books in Catalan, as opposed to only 15% in Spanish; while only 29% read books in Catalan "regularly" or "often" as opposed to 49% who give these answers for books in Spanish. The imbalance is much greater when it comes to the press, for a third "never" read a newspaper in Catalan, while this reply is only given by 1% of the respondents as far as Spanish newspapers are concerned. The latter are read "regularly" by half the sample. It is worth noting, incidentally, that since the field work was concluded, a Catalan language newspaper has come out in Palma.

Table 45. Frequency of book and/or newspaper reading

CATALAN

Regularly

Often

Sometimes

Never

Books

38

42

98

90

14%

15%

36%

33%

Newspapers and magazines

30

48

102

87

11%

18%

37%

32%

SPANISH

 

Regularly

 

Often

 

Sometimes

 

Never

Books

73

61

95

40

27%

22%

35%

15%

Newspapers and magazines

135

85

47

3

49%

31%

17%

1%

It therefore appears that books and the written media support Spanish much more than Catalan. Let us see what happens with local cultural activities. In this case, we only investigated the impact of Catalan-medium performances. Levels of participation in such activities appear to be low (see table 46).

 

Table 46. Participation in Catalan-medium cultural activities

 

Regularly

Often

Sometimes

Never

It doesn't exist

Theatre in Catalan

13

12

54

125

69

5%

4%

20%

46%

25%

Traditional singing in Catalan

11

10

48

142

62

4%

4%

18%

52%

23%

Catalan poetry reading

3

5

13

166

86

1%

2%

5%

61%

32%

Rock in Catalan

5

8

50

142

68

2%

3%

18%

52%

25%

Other activities

16

3

6

31

217

6%

1%

2%

11%

79%

Mass media:

The Balearic Islands have no Catalan-medium television station of their own. Instead, Spanish television (TVE) offers a limited number of locally-produced programmes in Catalan, amounting to about an hour a day. In addition, a private cultural association, Voltor, has set up several relay stations which pick up the signals of TV3 and Canal 33, Catalonia's public television stations.

Nearly all the interviewees (see table 47) claimed to have a television set at home, and a large majority also had a radio set.

Table 47. Do you watch or listen to radio and television at home?

 

Yes

 

No

 

No set

 

Radio

239

88%

31

11%

3

1%

Television

268

98%

2

1%

3

1%

As might perhaps be expected, the interviewees consume considerably more programmes in Spanish than in Catalan. Table 48 shows that very few listen to the radio for more than two hours a day (11% listen to Spanish radio, and 7% to Catalan radio). 19% and 13% watch more than 2 hours of television programmes in Spanish and Catalan respectively.

 

Table 48. Hours of daily consumption of radio and television

 

0-1

>1 - 2

>2 - 3

>3

 

Radio in Spanish

202

41

18

12

273

74%

15%

7%

4%

 

Radio in Catalan

246

10

7

10

273

90%

4%

3%

4%

 

Television in Spanish

140

81

28

24

273

51%

30%

10%

9%

 

Television in Catalan

189

49

22

13

273

69%

18%

8%

5%

 

Attitudes and identity

Respondents were asked to identify themselves in territorial terms, stating whether they felt Majorcan, Spanish or whatever, or not. Their replies (in table 49) have been rank-ordered, from most to least support. They are staunchly Majorcan, and claim - significantly - an European identity to a greater degree than they seem to do a Spanish one. A Balearic identity also claims majority support, but a pan-Catalan identity only receives the support of about 43% of the respondents.

Table 49. Identity

 

Yes

%

No

%

NA

Mallorquí

242

93%

18

7%

13

European

185

76%

57

24%

31

Spanish

184

73%

68

27%

21

Balearic

174

72%

68

28%

31

Països Catalans

107

43%

140

57%

26

Other

33

39%

52

61%

188

The linguistic attitude of the Majorcan sample was tested by asking for their degree of support or disagreement to eleven statements relating to the language issue. These have been rank-ordered in table 50, in two blocs: firstly, those indicating a positive attitude towards the Catalan language, of which there are five. The top three elicit clear support from most; the fourth ("People who know Catalan have better job prospects") receives a sizeable proportion of neutral positions, while the last one ("Good idea for local councils on the islands to use just Catalan in their administration") seems to shock seem people, though it also receives overall support.

Secondly, six indicating a negative atittude. The lower in the list, the greater the degree of rejection of these statements. A score of 3·0 meaning a neutral position, even the statement "To prosper, it is better to learn other languages, and not Catalan" is rejected with an average score of 2·18.

All in all, these reveal a very positive attitude towards Catalan on the part of the sample.

Table 50. Attitude statements

Positive statements:

Total disag.

Disag.

Neutral

Agr.

Total agr.

NA

Average

Children must learn Catalan at school

8

13

21

89

139

3

4,25

To work in the civil service one should have to know Catalan

16

21

28

70

133

5

4,06

The Balearic I. would not be what they are without Catalan-speakers

38

27

24

74

100

10

3,65

People who know Catalan have better job prospects

9

32

73

81

65

13

3,62

Good idea for local councils on the islands use just Cat in their admin.

33

57

44

69

67

3

3,30

               

Negative statements:

Total disag.

Disag.

Neutral

Agr.

Total agr.

NA

Average

To prosper, better to learn langs. other than Cat

117

61

36

35

20

4

2·18

Catalan is a moribund lang. on the islands

127

87

23

18

8

10

1·83

Catalan is no use in business or in science

155

73

24

10

3

8

1·62

Catalan has no place in the modern world

160

70

25

7

4

7

1·59

Things associated with Catalan are outdated

167

75

18

5

0

8

1·48

If you speak Catalan, you are considered lower-class

207

43

14

2

4

3

1·34

Finally, the questionnaire closed with a question on the perception of the degree of commitment to the Catalan language displayed by different agents, including people, governments and organisations. They have been ranked in table 51 from greater to least perceived commitment, and 5·0 was the mid-point on the scale. Only four of the eleven agents are perceived as giving less than mid-way support to Catalan: State and public bodies, Private companies, Immigrants in the Balearics and, worst of all, the Spanish government. On the other hand, and as often happens in such a question, the greatest supporters are perceived to be the respondent him/herself, followed by the family and friends. The Majorcan island council (which is in the hands of a coalition of left-of-centre parties) is perceived as slightly more favourable to Catalan than is the Balearic Islands government, which is controlled by the Spanish conservatives.

Table 51. Degree of perceived commitment to Catalan on the part of people or organisations

 

min.

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

max.

NA

Average

Myself

5

3

3

3

27

14

28

56

129

5

7·67

My family

10

5

5

9

40

22

40

48

88

6

6·96

My friends

5

3

9

7

48

26

42

59

69

5

6·9

The Island council

11

4

10

4

55

28

59

44

48

10

6·48

The local council

12

7

9

21

53

28

50

36

49

8

6·22

The Balear government

18

7

16

13

69

26

40

33

44

7

5·91

The Catholic church

13

8

10

12

64

27

46

22

29

42

5·84

Banks and savings banks

18

17

23

20

73

26

41

31

14

10

5·26

State and public bodies

40

29

24

26

77

18

19

10

11

19

4·25

Private companies

44

24

46

32

68

14

10

6

4

25

3·77

Immigrants in the Balearics

107

37

37

27

25

7

7

3

3

20

2·64

The Spanish government

130

28

26

18

42

11

5

0

0

13

2·49

 

Conclusion

The sample, whether or not it is fully representative of the island population as a whole, seems fairly stolidly Catalan-speaking in most oral situations. However, as a result of the lack of Catalan from schooling for centuries until recently, and the unavailability of products in Catalan, most written activities are in Spanish, including book- and newspaper-reading. The audiovisual media are also balanced in favour of Spanish, partly because of the much greater supply and range of radio and television stations in Spanish.

Yet the language itself is very highly rated. Its prestige in the labour market seems assured, and the indications are that language attitudes are very favourable. So too are patterns of language use, which consistently show that Catalan is more widely used by this Catalan-speaking sample than is Spanish. The language seems to be reproducing itself in the family.

The main threat to the picture would appear to be the influx of non-Catalan-speaking families, both in the catering industries related to tourism (Spanish-speakers), and also to wealthy families moving in, often in early retirement, from further north in Europe (largely German-speaking). It is doubtful whether Majorcan society enjoys sufficient resources to be able to incorporate these two large groups without the language gradually losing ground in society.

©Euromosaic