Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Modern Languages and Literature (Spanish Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Committee Chair

Anthony Beltramo

Commitee Members

Stanley Rose, Irene Appelbaum


language attitudes, language maintenance, minority languages, spain


University of Montana


Bostrom, Jay, M.A., Autumn 2006 Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures Spanish Minority Language Attitudes in Galicia and Catalonia Chair: Professor Anthony Beltramo Despite legitimate fears of the effects twenty-first century globalization will have on linguistic diversity, vigorous efforts are being made to maintain minority languages in multi-national/ethnic states such as Spain. Catalonia and Galicia have not forgotten the severe treatment they received under the Franco dictatorship that resulted in untold damage to the trajectory of the languages. Even today, thirty-one years later, the negative effects are palpable and alive in the language attitudes of the Catalan and Galician people. The notion that a language is a unifying symbol of regional identity around which Catalonia and Galicia can rally to determine their own futures and resist the Spanish hegemon is valid. Nationalistic fervor and a sense of empowerment in these two regions continue to rise concomitantly with the increasing number of Catalan and Galician speakers. Current census data show positive gains in the number of Catalan and Galician people that can speak, read, write and understand their heritage languages. Attitudinal research shows parallel positive signs as Catalans and Galicians believe their languages are more than worth the effort to maintain them in the form of financial and political investment in their maintenance. However positive the signs may seem, there remain significant challenges for these minority languages in the face of increasing sociocultural homogenization that can only be hastened further by globalization. The longterm survival of Catalan and Galician depends on more than a positive collective attitude that the language should be saved. This thesis elucidates current language attitudes of Galicians and Catalans. These two linguistic communities exhibit similarities and differences in their language attitudes. These similarities and differences help to explain the sometimes contradictory and sometimes parallel states of language maintenance in which Catalan and Galician are found. For the immediate future, the two minority languages appear to be in an overall positive state of linguistic health. Increasing numbers of speakers as well as the diminishing of low social status stigmas towards minority language speakers could mean a genuine reversal of language shift for Catalonia and Galicia.



© Copyright 2006 Jay Gordon Bostrom