Language plays an important role in social cohesion, and the feeling of belonging for people living in a new territory is a key factor. For this reason, for years Fundació Vincle has been firmly committed to campaigns that bring people together through the Catalan language, so that newcomers can forge ties of cultural and linguistic belonging in this country.
The Catalan language needs to be the backbone of our communities and the common denominator amid our diversity.
In 2010 Fundació Vincle, together with Plataforma per la Llengua, presented the bilingual guide El català també és meu / El catalán también es mío [Catalan is mine too], a tool for anyone who is interested in learning to speak Catalan but might feel apprehensive about it.
The guide “presents the reasons and considerations that have led new Catalan speakers – people who are not native speakers of Catalan but have adopted it in their day-to-day lives – to feel like the Catalan language also belongs to them. This guide shows how anyone can tap into that feeling.” El català també és meu is a fundamental tool to foster a sense of linguistic belonging among new Catalans who wish to become new Catalan speakers.
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In recent years, the Foundation has focused on working in areas of Catalonia where the presence of the Catalan language is limited or symbolic because the inhabitants do not speak Catalan as their first language and because they have few opportunities to practice it.
The Sabadell Sud and A la Mina, en català! [In La Mina neighbourhood, in Catalan!] projects have launched collaborations with local associations, organising a series of educational, didactic, leisure-based and recreational activities that involve residents of those neighbourhoods, giving them the opportunity to engage with the Catalan language.
Only through contact, familiarity, humour, and empathy, on the one hand, and if Catalan speakers avoid switching languages when conversing with non-native speakers who understand or even speak Catalan, on the other, will we be able to increase the social use of the language and help more citizens of our country to integrate little by little. Because social connection is what helps foster a sense of belonging.