“Poder utilizar la lengua propia es un derecho fundamental”: Language Ideologies in El Procés Trial, in Catalonia and in Spain

Author: Marina Carcamo Garcia (PhD student at the University of Arizona, Arizona)
Speaker: Marina Carcamo Garcia
Topic: Language Ideologies
COMELA 2020 General Session


This paper analyzes the language ideologies of El procés trial (legally named Causa especial 20907/2017) and compares them to the political ideologies of the discourses of the accused individuals, in order to investigate the possible relationships that these two types of ideologies might have. The study is contextualized in a micro setting, which is a trial taking place from February to June, 2019, that has relevance at a macro level, which is Catalonia and Spain. Facing the current sensitive political situation of these nations, this study aims at giving an account of the relevance level of languages in this context. The language ideologies are analyzed and categorized based on the theories of Geeraerts (2008), Woolard (2005) and Süselbeck (2008), as well as on the data of the corpus. In the case of the political ideologies, the categories for their analysis emerge from the corpus. The results show that political ideologies in this trial (catalanism, the right to vote, the oppression of the Spanish institutions) are defined by the concepts nation and identity, which are usually connected to the concept of language (expressed as native language, own language, language of expression). Concretely, this is justified in one of the excerpts (case 39), where one of the accused claims that the linguistic conflict is one of the main causes why the politicians disobeyed the Spanish institutions and, as a consequence, are being judged in this trial. Moreover, one can think that the rejection of using consecutive interpretation by the accused politicians might be a political-ideological decision as well, so that the Spanish society could come to know about the lack of recognition of the plurilingualism in Spain, and the Catalan identity, culture and language being seen as minoritized. Therefore, language ideologies and political ideologies are related in the discourses of this trial, since Catalan is conceived as the authentic, romantic and own language of the accused independentists, while Spanish is the rational and anonymous language that the Spanish institutions use, and serves for communication purposes in public services. In conclusion, language, identity and nation are intertwined concepts in the discourses of these Catalan leaders.

Keywords: Language ideologies El procés Catalonia Spain nationalism