Resolution concerning principles and criteria for protecting the name and identity of Valencian
Resolution concerning principles and criteria for protecting the name and identity of Valencian Decree 2/2005 of 29 March, issued by the President of the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language) to publish the Agreement of the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (AVL, Valencian Academy of the Language) approving the Resolution Concerning Principles and Criteria for Protecting the Name and the Identity of Valencian, adopted in the plenary meeting held on 9 February 2005.
As set down in Article 26 of Law 7/1998 of 16 September of the Generalitat Valenciana (the Valencian regional government) concerning the creation of the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (AVL,Valencian Academy of the Language), I hereby order the publication of the agreement adopted by the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language) in the plenary meeting held on 9 February 2005 and in which the Resolution concerning principles and criteria for protecting the name and identity of Valencian was approved.
Ascensió Figueres Górriz
Valencia, 29 March 2005
AGREEMENT OF THE ACADÈMIA VALENCIANA DE LA LLENGUA (AVL), ADOPTED DURING THE PLENARY MEETING HELD ON 9 FEBRUARY 2005, APPROVING THE RESOLUTION CONCERNING PRINCIPLES AND CRITERIA FOR PROTECTING THE NAME AND IDENTITY OF VALENCIAN
One of the responsibilities of the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language), the normative body for the Valencian language, is «to watch over the normal use of Valencian and defend its name and identity» as set down in Law 7/1998 of September 16, of the Generalitat Valenciana (art. 7. d).
In keeping with article 4 of that same Law, in its actions the AVL shall base itself on the «principles and criteria ... which emerge from the resolution approved by the Valencia Council of Culture ... which appear in the preamble to the law», which establish the following regarding the name and the nature of Valencian:
Starting from these principles, in a meeting held on 19 December 2003, the plenary session of the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language) approved an Institutional Declaration on the Name and Identity of Valencian and on Current, Official Regulations, in which the following postulates, among others, were set down:
«The diversity of terms for designating Valencian should not be used for projecting a fragmented image of the linguistic system which we Valencians share with other regions. Initiatives adopted by public authorities to spread Valencian beyond our linguistic area are fully recognised by the AVL. These initiatives should always guarantee the dissemination of our unique linguistic characteristics while respectingconceptual and denotative criteria of integration.»
Moreover, point 5 of this declaration describes the coming of a more detailed and precise resolution on the aforementioned issues, while in point 6 the AVL asked «to be consulted by public institutions when passing laws or undertaking initiatives on Valencian concerning those areas which are the legal jurisdiction of the AVL».
By virtue of the preceding, in accordance with articles 4, 7.c and 7.d of Law 7/1998 of 16 September of the Generalitat Valenciana (the Valencian regional government) concerning the creation of the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language), the plenary session of the AVL, in the meeting held on 9 February 2005,
To publish it, as laid down in Article 26 of Law 7/1998, in the Diari Official de la Generalitat Valencianathe official Gazzette of the Valencian regional government) for the purposes covered in Article 5 of said law.
The high regard that Valencians have for their own language, considered to be one of the main identifying characteristics of the Valencian people, can be clearly seen throughout history. This regard has been especially strong amongst those persons who, throughout the centuries, have used the language as their normal means of communication.
United in their regard for their «own language» («the highest manifestation of a people's personality»), the signatories of the Normes de Castelló (the Castelló Regulation) in 1932 were able to join forces and unify the «various cultural and political tendencies» of the time in order to reach a historical agreement, convinced that the language's future (which they hoped would be prosperous) depended upon cementing the bases «for the unification of Valencian orthography». They were able to overcome all kinds of differing approaches, with the conviction that the system agreed upon would be «rectified and improved» in the future «based on wide-ranging agreements» that would go beyond individual points of view. It was an agreement reached «without defeated parties», considered to be a necessary starting point in addressing the concerns of a people who, they said, «begin to feel the dignity of their own language».
Since that time, research on Valencian has increased, as have works on refining and modernising the language, while remarkable advances have been gained in reviving the language and in fostering greater social use. Nonetheless, the issue of the language's identity and of the denotative implications it raises are far from resolved from the sociolinguistic point of view, despite the fact that the matter would seem to be clear if looked at from a purely philological perspective or from the legal status described in the Valencian Statute of Autonomy. Therefore, a reasoned, mutually-supportive, convergent effort must still be made to avoid controversy that only harms the use and promotion of Valencian and, consequently, Valencian interests outside our region.
As is well known, part of Valencian society considers the Valencian people's own language to be the same one which is spoken in other regions of the former Crown of Aragon, while another part of society considers it to be a different language. This debate has been often linked to the issue of Valencian national identity. That is why some groups in society support the thesis whereby equating the Valencian people's own language with a language spoken in other regions (especially Catalonia), contributing to a loss of the unique identifying characteristics of the Valencian people and to a hypothetical submission to outsiders.
Likewise, other sectors of society believe that the model of the formal language has not incorporated enough Valencian linguistic characteristics which are still in common use and supported by classical tradition, and that the only way to rectify this problem is by advocating total independence for Valencians in codifying their own language.
The Statute of Autonomy of the Valencian Community (Organic Law 5/1982, 1 July) established the name 'Valencian' for the Valencian people's own language, specifying neither the philological identity of that which was being referred to by that name nor the institution in charge of normative aspects of the language. This approach did not put an end to the debate, as it allowed (and continues to allow) diverging interpretations. For some, that the Statute should mention Valencian amounts to saying that it is not the same as any other language spoken elsewhere. On the other hand, there are others who are of the opinion that the statute was deliberately making use of an age-old, well-recognised term to speak (in the context of the Valencian Community) about the language which we Valencians have in common with other peoples of the former Crown of Aragon. For other still, recognising linguistic unity is perfectly compatible with defending those traits which are uniquely Valencian, as a way of overcoming the differing linguistic perceptions which exist in Valencian society.
The enactment of the Law on the Use and Teaching of Valencian (4/1983, November 23, from the Generalitat Valenciana) was a historical landmark in the process of recovery of Valencian. For the first time the legal foundations needed for overcoming the unequal relationship that existed between the two official languages in the Valencian Community were laid by means of legal provisions which promoted both the use of Valencian and its incorporation into the education system. The preamble to the law also stated that the «Valencian language is a fundamental aspect of our society's cultural heritage» and that «the revival and extension of its use, as one of the elements in the rediscovery of our identity as a people, is a duty that corresponds also to all us Valencians». Nonetheless, despite these unquestionably wise decisions, the law neither defined the language's identity nor set up the relevant normative body.
The Law on the Creation of the AVL (7/1998, September 16, from the Generalitat Valenciana) was an important milestone in the process of harmonising the different positions, starting from the basic supposition that all positions contain aspects which are positive for our language. As far as the issue of name is concerned, the law recognises the term 'Valencian' to be the most appropriate when referring to the Valencian people's own language, while simultaneously stating that this language «forms part of the same linguistic system which is recognised to be the autochthonous language in the statutes of autonomy of the Hispanic regions of the former Crown of Aragon» (Preamble). Likewise, in referring to the linguistic model to be used, the law guarantees that Valencians are responsible, via the AVL, for prescribing normative rules for its language in the Valencian Community. However, in practice, the underlying problem has not actually been resolved, as can be seen from the frequency with which the subject of the Valencian language's name and identity has been the centre of controversy in the past years.
Consequently, aware of the need to solve these and other ambiguous issues (which serve only to arouse debate, being counterproductive to the normal use and prestige of our language), the AVL prescriptively approves the following
In the region of what is nowadays the Valencian Community, the autochthonous language has usually been called 'Valencian' or 'the Valencian language' (Appendix 2), terms which became the most commonly used ones starting mainly from the second half of the 15th century due to the political, economic, cultural and literary splendour which the Kingdom of Valencia had reached at that time. Although there is a Valencian particularist tradition as regards the language (Appendix 3), the awareness of sharing a language with other regions of the former Crown of Aragon has stayed constant up to the modern day (Appendix 4). For that reason, the historical term 'Valencian' has existed together with the term 'Catalan', a fact which is documented in certain Valencian sources (Appendix 5) and which has become commonplace in Romance studies and in Valencian universities for the past few decades. Likewise, there are quite a few examples of attempts to avoid using one name or the other when referring to the linguistic system as a whole, via compound or syncretic terms such as 'the Valencian and Catalan language' (Appendix 6), as well as examples of suggestions of names that integrate various elements in an attempt to solve terminological diversity (Appendix 7).
Moreover, 'Valencian' is the term set down in the Statute of Autonomy of the Valencian Community. Therefore, in keeping with tradition and with statutory law, the AVL is of the opinion that the most appropriate term for referring to the autochthonous language of the Valencian Community is 'Valencian', a name which has been legally safeguarded, since it is one of the most important identifying characteristics of our people. This name can be used to refer to the language as a whole—the one which we share with the other regions of the former Crown ofAragon which were previously mentioned. It may also be used, however, in a more semantically restricted way to refer specifcally to that variety of the language which is unique to Valencia. Along these same lines, it is perfectly valid to use the term 'Valencian language' without that necessarily implying that the language is different from the one used in those regions already mentioned.
Without prejudice to that laid down in the previous point, when the language is to be used for institutional or official purposes outside of its territory, a convergent model should be used based on classical common forms, to be decided and approved by the various institutions that are responsible for prescribing normative rules for the shared language. There is no reason why this sought-after convergence should not be perfectly compatible with the choice to use one particular region's language model in dealings carried out, on the one hand, between institutions outside of our linguistic sphere (in the rest of Spain, in European Union, etc.), and those carried out, on the other hand, between institutions and individuals or corporations within those autonomous communities that share the same language.Consequently, the AVL, based on the authority granted it by Article 5 of Law 7/1998 of September 16 of the Generalitat Valenciana, urges all Valencian institutions, administrative departments, public authorities and systems of education, as well as the media and all organisations, entities and publicly-funded (wholly or in part) companies to bring their initiatives towards protecting the name and identity of Valencian in line with the principles and criteria contained within this resolution. Likewise, the AVL calls on all speakers of our language to work together with the utmost generosity and flexibility in setting the so-called "Valencian linguistic conflict" with common sense and a forward-looking approach. This is a prerequisite (although not sufficient) if we want the language to be ennobled and to be used in a normal manner, especially in a context of increasing globalisation where the survival of minority languages such as our own demands a great degree of solidarity amongst speakers and the willingness to do away both with actions which foster fragmentation as well as with monocentric attempts at standardisation.
Monestir de Sant Miquel dels Reis Valencia, 9 February 2005