Mr Semley (Letters to the Editor, October 5) claims that the majority of Majorcan schoolchildren speak Spanish in the playground and that the use of Catalan in the classroom has something to do with the poor state of education in Majorcan schools.

I haven't been to any playgrounds for a few years, but I have attended cultural and sporting events in villages all over the island, and haven't heard much Castilian Spanish, outside the Palma and Calvia areas.

A report in the Bulletin earlier this year (May 31) stated, “Only 7% of parents of children at government-run schools prefer Castilian as the main language of teaching rather than Catalan, a teaching union claimed yesterday.” The poor state of education in Majorcan schools has more to do with class size and the quality of the teaching than with the language of instruction.
Until about a hundred years ago, Welsh was forbidden in schools and some places of work, and more recently Franco tried to eliminate the Basque and Galician languages, as well as Catalan.

Because of the inexorable advance of English and Spanish, minority languages are in danger and will die out, as Cornish did two or three hundred years ago, unless big efforts are made to preserve and popularise them.

Readers who live in Majorcan villages will no doubt be aware of the strength of feeling about this issue.
Perhaps Mr Semley should get out and about a bit more.
Yours faithfully, George Tunnell
Calvia

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