Barcelona: Think bullfighting, speaking Spanish and FreeTapas? Think Again!

27 05 2010

Barcelona: An international city upheld by some, a separatist front for others

A common misconception is that all of Spain is the same for tourists? It isn’t. Barcelona is situated in Cataluna having it’s own customs, language and traditions. Although Cataluna shares a lot more similarities than differences in terms of shared culture via diffusion one must note that Cataluna has a fair share of nationalist / separatist points of view. This has its background as outlined succinctly here.

What is the point of communication exactly?

For a tourist, you might think that Spanish is spoken throughout what is popularly known as Spain. In Barcelona, a widely advertised cultural city, it is not uncommon to encounter stores that ONLY speak in Catalan. Normally these stores, restaurants and bars are clearly marked by a sign. However, not all places display the sign. So where does this lead you dear tourist and or migrant?

For I, the purpose of communication is  an answer by definition. To communicate. What facilitates communication is and always has been a shared experience with a fair degree of compromise. For example, making sounds and hand movements to get understood by children and those with disabilities. If forms of communication CAN happen it is ignorant IMHO not to  find some middle ground. Sometimes this can involve switching languages.  Sure, I’m not fluent in Catalan, I can stumble on words as would any tourist. The question I beg is this. If you knew another language and could help someone else, would you not at least try?

The answer is, “Well, no”. Amongst friends from Cataluna they too are amazed by the stupidity of a rising minority of anti-internationalist idiocy that’s increasing.   My point of contention is as follows. A city is not an international or cosmopolitan central if the shared languages or international languages  of the country are not adhered to.  As with most countries with provinces, there is for the most part a dominant language which people share. From this basis, we have compromise or fluency.

Cataluna: Rich in heritage, culture and doing its best from the Spanish Constitution

Indeed, Cataluna has achieved quite a bit of independence, it has it’s own Parliament and is nurturing its own culture and language. For a relativist anthropologist such as I,  it should do and it does constitutionally. Good for them. Still for this author, I’m having trouble understanding the peril vs communication. It seems other countries, like Wales, the language is indeed in peril per capita!

Catalan vs other language communication. International City? Some try their hardest not to be.

I come to a point now. How is it that various webpages from the Catalan government publish in English and Spanish? One has to ask therefore the nationalist / separatist throng seem to have got the wrong end of the stick? I would like to think so.

Catalan language at Risk?

Having lived the same amount of time in Wales, I found that the Welsh were more willing to budge in terms of language than their Catalunian counter-parts. As Catalunia has a higher amount of speakers per capita than Wales, one does beg to differ in the terms of loosing cultural heritage, if not only to help its multicultural inference. [See link on Welsh Speaking Populations].

Cataluna has instituted shops that ONLY speak in Catalan. [See BBC news article]. This BBC article fails to announce that even though you speak in one language you get answered in another. Has this shown some form of cognition?

So, again I must ask… can you really state a city for example is international while instituting separatist agendas. I think there’s some logically incompatibilities. It seems that communication and diffusion of cultures is readily accepted into the Catalan language. Take for example many English terms that have been assimilated.

Valencia and Andorra: Speak Catalan Dialects, more at risk but more international

Having traveled to Valencia that have their own, albeit similar language to Cataluna and Andorra, the wish to communicate in other languages is altogether more open. Putting this into context, the population vs risk of loosing the language is proportionality higher than Cataluna! [See link on Catalan Language Speaking Areas/Countries]

I leave it up to you dear reader to investigate the subject further. I for my part believe that many social servants, restaurant workers are clearly client focused and are more than happy to change language [English, Spanish, French] as this shows culture as well as intelligence.  If you come to Barcelona I recommend you boycott the establishments that refuse to budge on communicating, add a nice Google, Trip Advisor and other review to aid other travelers.

Having been living here 4 years here’s a few eye openers.

Barcelona Free Tapas and Bullfighting?

Bullfighting: STILL happens but is outlawed. Do you understand this? I don’t.

Free tapas? Well, you need to go to Andalusia. You won’t find it in Barcelona, where you’re charged a fortune for pretty much a saucer of bite sized mars bars for a similar 14″ pizza found in an Italian restaurant. There is a bar called Paco Meralgo and no,  I don’t recommend this restaurant.

The coolest city is Granada, but Cadiz is accessible from the UK and has bullfighting and free tapas- olay!

If you don’t believe me,




2 responses

28 05 2010

I don’t agree with you when you say that are some places where they only speak catalan. Actually, I don’t know any, and I’ve live my whole life in Barcelona. Unfortunately, I”ve found lots of places where they DON’T speak catalan…and I’ts a pity that you cannot speak your own languge in your own city.

28 05 2010

They are marked from the outside. This is the sign:
The article was not aimed at saying the language ought not to be spoken. In fact it encouraged and praised the language. It reflected that there are problems with some individuals who will not communicate [in English, Spanish, French] or find a middle ground even though what was communicated they are able to understand and in theory reply to. It suggested that ‘communication’ was the key and that ‘international’ cities ought to facilitate easier communication for all.
The Catalan Government websites are multilingual. So, by an argument example, I suggest if the government is internationally focused, why are there individuals who pursue separatism? It is an argument highlighting contradiction i.e: one part [Government] is open and encourages communication, another side does not. Hence a contention!

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