Blogger do Mirandê

domingo, março 30, 2003

Resposta a um questionário de jovens catalães sobre a língua mirandesa

1. Actual number of speakers of the language?
- ±6000 speakers with varying degrees of active proficiency.
1.1 - Percentage of the population?
- ± 70% of the Miranda do Douro district population.
2 - Number of people who can write in the language? 2.1 - Percentage of the population?
- Exact numbers are non-existent and estimates are very difficult to calculate given the following facts:
i) - The process of standardization of the written form is still in its infancy (the major attempt at producing a unified system of written notation is the Convenção Ortográfica da Língua Mirandesa dated 1999);
ii) - The language has had a very timid and residual presence in the school system.

3 - Number of people who understand the language?
3.1 - Percentage of the population?
- I would say virtually all of those residing in the Miranda do Douro area have at least a passive knowledge of the minority language since there is a very high degree of structural affinity between Portuguese and Mirandese (and Castillian, also widely known in this region of Portugal).
4 - Does an institution or organization exist dedicated to following this data?
- No.
4.1 - If yes, which ones?
4.2 - How often is it done?
5 - How many speakers of the language were there 30 years ago?
5.1 - What are some possible causes of the increase/decrease?
- In my opinion, the major cause has to do with linguistic attitudes, the speakers’ perception of the minority language’s low social status. The community fostered a very strong association of the language with the characteristic rurality, poverty and the lack of formal education of the speakers of Mirandese. Social mobility of speakers has pushed for language shift. Emigration of original Miranda do Douro residents has also accelerated the process.
6 - In which formal fields is it used most?
- The most significant presence has been in Education, despite what was stated above. Mirandese has been taught, as an optional subject (extra normal schedule) in 5th and 6th grade since 1986.
7 - Is it normally used in a colloquial setting?
- Yes.
7.1 - Who generally uses it? (rural/city north/south)
- Rural area.
7.2 - Is it generally used in conversations between strangers as a principal vehicular language?
- No.
7.3 - Do people new to the area (immigrants) learn the language? Do they have interactions?
- No.
8 - Which age groups contain the most speakers of the language?
- Speakers older than ±60 years are the most proficient and active.
8.1 - In the case that there is a notable difference, why?
- Speakers with young children have abandoned the use of the language while interacting with them, although these same speakers maintain the use of Mirandese while addressing their own parents.
8.2 - Does a generational linguistic borderline exist?
- Yes. Adolescents and younger children are not, typically, active speakers of Mirandese.
9 - Is the number of speakers equal between the sexes?
- Yes.
10 - Is the language normalized, does it have a standard?
- Standardization of the written code is in progress, but is still in a very early stage.
10.1 - Which entity or institution is in charge of it?
- No institution is specifically in charge of normalization. However academic institutions, such as CLUL (Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa) have promoted research activities favoring the standardization process. CLUL has also created a site on the Internet ( aiming at, amongst other goals, the promotion of the written standard.
- Recently, a group of educated Mirandese speakers have associated and founded GELM (Grupo de Estudos da LínguaMIrandesa). This organization is not, however, exclusively dedicated to the standardization process.
10.2 - Has this norm been adopted by the society?
- It is too soon to answer.
11 - Situation in the field of education?
11.1 - Do notable differences exist between public and private teaching?
11.2 - Is learning the language undervalued or is it a required subject? Is it in the operative student curriculum?
- Mirandese is an optional (and extra -schedual) subject taught to schoolchildren in very few schools and grade levels. In the last few years UTAD (Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro) has held summer courses every two years for adults, and organizations such as Associaçon de Lhéngua Mirandesa have held elementary courses in Lisbon.
11.3 - Are there public or private entities in charge of teaching the language to recently arrived adults?
- No.
11.4 - Which language model is taught? (standard language, as a dialect…)
11.5 - Is there a true linguistic immersion?
12 - Legal situation of the language?
12.1 - Where is it regulated?
- The linguistic specificity of the Mirandese community was legally acknowledged in 1998 by a Parliament bill published in 1999 (Lei 7/99).
12.2 - Is there a language hierarchy?
- Mirandese is not used to substitute Portuguese, for example in the production of official documents, but public entities are entitled to the right to issue bilingual versions in Portuguese and Mirandese.
13 - Is it the official language of the territory, or cooficial…?
- It is a recognized language with minimal protection and in that sense it is official.
13.1 - In the entire territory?
- The bill restricts the issue of bilingual official documents to public entities located in the Miranda do Douro district.
14 - What status does the language itself have inside the public administration?
- Very subsidiary and regionally restricted.
14.1 - In which language does the administration function in principally?
- Portuguese
14.2 - Are means to know it offered?
- Some, very few.
14.3 - Which?
- Cf. answer to question 11.2.
14.4 - Does some public department exist that is solely in charge of its normalization and diffusion?
- No.
14.5 - Does a private organization exist to accomplish this? Which?
- Cf. answer to question 10.1.
15 - What language is used in relations between the administration and the public? (as default, always….)
- Portuguese
16 -. In which situations is the language undervalued? And in private organizations or companies?
16.1 -Which organizations or companies are more sensitive to the subject?
17 - Current recognition of the institutions related to the language
17.1 - Has there been a notable evolution?
- Cf. answers to question 12.
18 - What is the situation of the language in the judicial field?
18.1 - Is it the judges or the courts that use it?
- No.
18.2 - In this field, can the citizens use it?
- Apparently there seem to no legal restrictions, but there are practical obstacles.
19 -What means are followed to guarantee the rights of the speakers to defend themselves from possible linguistic attacks
19.1 - What are the most common attacks?
20 - Have the protective measures of the language had (or have they had) effectiveness (in the case that there have been any)?
- Language attitudes may have been positively affected by the official recognition of the Mirandese language rights, but it is too soon to tell if and how this measure will affect decreasing vitality.
20.1 - What have these measures been principally?
- Legal recognition and timid presence in the school system.
21 - In the cultural or leisure environment, what relevance does the language itself have?
21.1 - Do cultural centers exist (publicly financed or not) in which this language is the vehicle?
22 -Have there been means of communication in reference to the language itself and its position to others?
- There has been some academic work on Mirandese and there has been occasional interest by the nationwide media in the language.
22.1 - How many newspapers are there in the minor language? Which ones?
- None
22.2 -How many radio stations? Which ones?
- None. There is, however, a one hour radio show in Mirandese broadcasted once a week.
22.3 - Number of publications? Which ones? - If by publications, magazines or other periodicals are meant, then none.
22.4 - How many television stations? Which ones?
- None.
22.5 - Is there a territorial disconnect among the state means of communication in the language?
22.6 - Are there bilingual means of communication?
- Yes.
23 - What has been the role of the church (or churches) in reference to the language?
- Portuguese is the language of the Church. On one or other festive occasion Mirandese may be spoken during religious ceremonies.
24 - What have been the worst attacks the language has suffered in the last 30 or 40 years?
24.1 - To what are they owed? Why?
- Repression of the language exerted by certain sectors or agents of the schooling system is, eventually, the most evident example of these attacks, given the influence of this institution on the whole of the community.
25 - What have been the worst attack the speakers of the language have suffered in the last 30 or 40 years?
25.1 - To what are they owed? What are the motivations? Why?
26 - General public opinion of the language and its importance to society
26.1 - Does it conform to the opinion of the linguistic community?
26.2 - Do prejudices exist that refer to a sector of the society? Why?
- After the official recognition of Mirandese, overt opinions seem to be very positive (inside and outside the community). However, some of the existing data indicate the co -existence of ‘self -hatred’ phenomena in the bilingual community.
27 - What is the situation of the language in the musical panorama?
27.1 - Do groups of special relevance exist that communicate in the minority language?
27.2 - What are they?
- Besides traditional music, there is a rock band (song lyrics in Mirandese) with local relevance called Pica Tumilho (Agrícola Rock Band) and pop songs produced for yearly song festivals organized by the town council.
28 - What is the current situation in the literary panorama?
28.1 - Which writers or intellectuals are the most dedicated to this cause?
- There are recent books by Francisco Niebro and António Bárbolo Alves published by national publishing companies. Another important author is José Francisco Fernandes.
- The first attempts at the use of Mirandese in scientific publications (in Linguistics) were made in the year 2000 by Domingos Raposo, António Bárbolo Alves and Amadeu Ferreira.
29 - Add any other information…

NAME: Cristina Martins
ORGANIZATION: CELGA -Centro de Estudos de Linguística Geral e Aplicada); Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal)
WORK: Linguist