Larraza defends the value of non-hegemonic language institutes

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


Etxepare Basque Institute director Irene Larraza met yesterday in Berlin with the heads of the Instituto Cervantes, Institut Ramon Llull, and Consello da Cultura Galega on the occasion of the European Day of Languages. She underscored the “huge responsibility” of non-hegemonic language institutes to ensure that these languages "are spoken, recognized, used and valued, and that they become languages in their own right”.

“In a Europe based on values, it is essential to understand each other not based on uniformity but on variety,” said Larraza. “It is impossible to create or expand community without an appreciation of diversity in all areas. As speakers or representatives of minority and minoritized languages, we can surely contribute our expertise in the management of multilingualism and its survival,” she added.

After the meeting, the Director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero, defended the multilingualism of Spain saying how important is was to “understand the enormous wealth of living in a country with so many languages”. He also said that the co-official languages provide "different ways of seeing the world that enrich us in the respective areas where they’re spoken and in Spain as a whole". Montero added that he hoped that “the citizens who are lucky enough to be bilingual will not have the misfortune of ceasing to be so”.

The Director of Consello da Cultura Galega, Rosario Álvarez, pointed out that "linguistic and cultural diversity is part of Europe´s DNA. It is inherent in territories long inhabited by peoples who create languages, which evolve over millennia into their own cultures”.

All the organizations at the meeting expressed their desire to coordinate strategies between the four institutions to strengthen multilingualism, as agreed on 26 May in the first cooperation agreement between Instituto Cervantes, Institut Ramon Llull, Consello da Cultura Galega and the Etxepare Basque Institute.

The meetings between the four agencies continued in the afternoon at a round table entitled Communication and diversity. The future of multilingualism in Europe. The speakers were Luis García Montero, representing Spanish; Jordi Amat, philologist and writer, representing Catalan (by videoconference); Juan José Álvarez, University of the Basque Country professor, representing Basque; and Ramon Villares, historian, representing Galician, as well as María José Gálvez, Director of the central government department dedicated to promoting books and reading. The debate was moderated by Professor Dieter Ingenschay, who contributed a German perspective to the issue of Spain´s multilingual reality.

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