More a Passion Than a Language – Catalan

The estelada, the flag of Catalan independence, during a demonstration in Barcelona. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

The estelada, the flag of Catalan independence, during a demonstration in Barcelona. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

Catalonia,the northeastern corner of Spain, is heading to polls. A move in which we could possibly see a new independent state. Amid the political predictions, the election narrative closely shadows what has held this population together. The Catalan language. One that finds its being in the fact that banning something could lead to its preservation.

This Catalan reaction is also expressed by a Catalan writer exiled in Mexico, Pere Calders, in his 1955 short story, “Catalans in the World”. A Catalan traveller in the Far East, at an evening party encounters a parrot which, to his surprise, utters Catalan phrases. He was overcome by emotion: “Many were the things which made us different but there was a language which made us one… Early that morning, when I left, I had a softer heart than the day I arrived.”

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