Religion and the survival of ‘minority’ languages: the Catalan case.

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  • Author(s): Marfany, Joan-Lluís (AUTHOR)
  • Source:
    Social History. May2005, Vol. 30 Issue 2, p154-174. 21p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      In this article, the author contests the common assumption that association with organized religion has always been an important positive factor in the survival of minority languages. On the basis of his research on the history of Catalan, a native or inhabitant of Catalonia, and on secondary evidence from Breton, Occitanian, Welsh, and Scottish Gaelic, the author argues that the interest of various churches in such languages was determined by the monolingualism of the lower sections of society. Their main concern was to keep those sections in the monolingual, and hence socially dependent, state. As a consequence, the effect on the languages themselves was essentially negative as confirmed in their debased status and their role as barriers to social ascent.