Resolution concerning principles and criteria for protecting the name and identity of Valencian

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Resolution concerning principles and criteria for protecting the name and identity of Valencian  (2005) 
by Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua

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.

The president,

Ascensió Figueres Górriz

Valencia, 29 March 2005



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:

«Our Statute of Autonomy uses the term 'Valencian' to refer to the autochthonous language of the Valencian people; this term should therefore be used on an institutional level, without excluding other possibilities.»

«The term 'Valencian' which has already been mentioned, as well as the terms 'the autochthonous language of the Valencian people', 'the Valencian language' or any others which are supported by Valencian historical tradition, by popular use or by current legislation, are not, nor should they be, a point of argument or controversy. All of them can be properly used to refer to our language.»

«Valencian, the historical and autochthonous language of the Valencian Community, forms part of that 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.»

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 term 'Valencian' is traditional, historical, legal, and statutory and is therefore the most appropriate term in institutional settings.»
«This name is not incompatible with, nor should it be felt to contradict any other similarly traditional, historical or legal names that might be given to the language which is autochthonous to the Valencian people.»
«The name of the language and its identity should not be used in meaningless controversies nor exploited for any cultural, social or political issues, since that only attributes to the lack of cohesion between speakers, hampers attempts to promote the use of the language and obstructs its generalised use.»

«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 respecting

conceptual 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 prescriptively approve the Resolution Concerning Principles and Criteria for Protecting the Name and Identity of Valencian, as attached.

To publish it, as laid down in Article 26 of Law 7/1998, in the Diari Official de la Generalitat Valenciana

the official Gazzette of the Valencian regional government) for the purposes covered in Article 5 of said law.
To communicate its contents to the Valencian government and to the Valencian parliament.
To send it to the Spanish government, to the Chamber of Deputies and to the Senate, as well as to the normativeinstitutions of all other languages used within the Spanish State.
To disseminate it among Valencian society, especially in universities and all other institutions working on fostering the Valencian language.


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 accordance with the most trustworthy contributions that have been made by Romance linguistics since the 19th century (research into historical grammar, dialectology, syntax, lexicography, etc.), the Valencian people's own historical language is the same language, from a philological point of view, spoken in the autonomous communities of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and in the Principality of Andorra. It is also the historical and autochthonous language of other regions of the former Crown of Aragon (the eastern strip of Aragon, the Sardinian city of Alghero and the French department of Pyrénées-Orientales). That spoken in all of these regions constitutes one language, that is to say, one single «linguistic system», to use the terminology of early structuralism (Appendix 1) which was taken up in the resolution of the Valencia Council of Culture, which appears as a preamble in the law on the constitution of the AVL. Within this group of speech variants, Valencian has the same position and value as any other regional variety of the linguistic system; moreover, it possesses distinguishing characteristics which the AVL should protect and promote based on local lexicographical and literary tradition, on the true linguistic situation in Valencia and on the normative rules already established in the Normes de Castelló (the Castelló Regulation).
The fact that a language is spoken in different political or administrative districts is not a trait unique to Valencian; rather, it is the normal situation for languages all over the world. Thus, Portuguese is spoken in both Portugal and Brazil; English is the language used in the UK, Ireland, the United States and Australia; Castilian, or Spanish, is not only spoken in Latin, but also in the majority of Spanish American countries (Argentina, Mexico, etc.), and so on. Those lexical and grammatical characteristics which are unique to Valencian and which distinguish it from other varieties of our linguistic system are found together with other characteristics which indeed are shared in the majority of varieties. Moreover, the existence of specific traits, felt to be autochthonous and worthy of being kept alive, is something which is common to other languages.
Language is a way of communicating and of transmitting culture. Sharing a language therefore means sharing the cultural legacy that is passed on in that language. However this does not mean that we Valencians do not have our own, unique identity and cultural characteristics, which we perceive to be clearly different from other peoples who use our language. The same phenomenon occurs between the French and the Quebecers, who share the French language; between the Portuguese and the Brazilians, who share Portuguese; or between the British, Irish, Americans and Australians, who share English, etc. None of this precludes each of these groups from having their own political, social and cultural identity.

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 of

Aragon 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.
It is true that in Spain there are two equally legal terms for this language: 'Valencian', as established in the Statute of Autonomy of the Comunidad Valenciana, and 'Catalan', as recognised by the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia and that of the Balearic Islands, and supported by Spanish legal ordinance (Annexe 8) and jurisprudence (Annexe 9). The existence of these two terms may cause misunderstandings in some circles concerning linguistic unity, especially outside of the shared linguistic region. For this reason, the AVL considers it necessary that the relevant regional governments work together with the Spanish government in adopting appropriate measures (such as authorising the use of syncretic formulas, etc.) for harmonising the duality of designation of our language, especially outside the language's area, and projecting an image of a language which is unified rather than fragmented. These formulae should be slowly introduced into academia and other areas as well. In this way, the legitimate presence of the name 'Valencian' outside of our community could be assured in a coherent fashion, while simultaneously reconciling philological reality with the Valencian legal and social reality.
Concerning the codification of language, it must be kept in mind that not all languages have chosen to follow a single, exclusive set of guidelines. There are codification models which are extremely centralist in nature and base themselves on one single literary variety (such as Italian, which is based primarily on the literary language of Florence); there are other models thatuse a variety of the language which was created based on elements from different dialects (such as Euskera Batua, or "unified Basque"); then there are others which respect the different varieties that exist within the language (such as Portuguese as used in Portugal and Brazil). It is this latter solution which the AVL considers to be the most appropriate one for our language and the ideal way of respecting diversity within unity, keeping in mind the rich linguistic and literary tradition which the Valencian variety offers within the language as a whole. What is therefore suggested for the language as a whole is a model of codification which is polycentric within one common direction.
Starting from these criteria, codification in Valencia has been done and continues to be done based on a model which incorporates those traits which are unique to Valencia, as is seen in the agreements reached up to now by the AVL concerning the prescribing of normative rules. This makes it possible to have access to Valencian versions (in the media and for audiovisual products, computer programmes, published materials, liturgical and religious texts, etc.), which should not be interpreted as proof of linguistic fragmentation, but rather as a way of promoting the use of the language through bringing the model of Valencian language closer to its users. Along these lines, the AVL has invoked points 87 and 88 of the Vatican instruction Liturgiam Authenticam and has decided to edit a new version of the Catholic liturgical texts, based on Latin canonical texts, remaining faithful to characteristically Valencian traits as well as to the rich historical tradition of Valencian versions of liturgical texts.


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