Is the French language persecuted in Andorra?

Date:09.04.2016

Author: Vicenç Villatoro

Source: Ara English

Villatoro

I don’t think so. In fact, many Andorrans can speak French. Is Andorra a monolingual country, where French, Spanish and Portuguese are banned? I don’t think so. Actually, when you travel to Andorra you hear many languages being spoken and few Andorrans can’t speak French and Spanish, while for many residents Portuguese is the language of choice.

Interestingly enough, Article 2 of the Constitution of Andorra literally states that “Catalan is the State’s official language”. And I don’t think you could argue that Andorra’s Constitution is racist or that imposes a monolingual language regime that infringes on people’s language rights or that Andorra is a totalitarian State … If anything, you could say that —despite all that— the Catalan language in Andorra is also in a tight spot in terms of its social use.

I am aware that Andorra and Catalonia are two different kettle of fish. I realise that anything is debatable and everything should be debatable and that you can find arguments for and against any issue. Yet I feel that the example of Andorra exposes and even discredits the distorted picture that some have painted of those who demand that Catalan becomes the only official language in Catalonia. You can support or oppose the idea, for some reason or another. But you cannot put words in other people’s mouths and twist what they have said (1).

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(1) N.T. A new manifesto by Catalan writers and academics arguing that the Catalan language should be assigned a central, predominant role in an independent Catalonia has recently sparked off controversy, even within the separatist camp.

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