I was pleased to note that your editorial (‘The language debate' October 7) reinforced what I had written on the subject of Catalan in schools, in my letter published the previous day. You report that 20% of Majorcan parents were against Catalan as the language of instruction in schools. According to your sister paper (Ultima Hora, May 30) fewer than 9% of parents of primary schoolchildren were in favour of Castilian Spanish. I presume the difference between your figure of 80% in favour of Catalan and the fewer than 9% in favour of the alternative, was because some parents didn't mind and others didn't get around to filling in the appropriate form. Mr Tow's suggestion (letter to the Editor, October 7) that parents were browbeaten or threatened by supporters of Catalan, makes it sound as if we are living in Soviet Russia, Ceaucescu's Romania or Franco's Spain, where citizens were genuinely frightened of not making the ‘correct' choices.

Mr Tow refers to what “some would call” General Franco's “undemocratic impositions” from which I infer that he personally believes that Franco's language policy was democratic. He further states that he “would beg to differ about Franco trying to eliminate minority languages or dialects.” This sounds like an attempt to rewrite history. Franco's aim was national unity with a single language, Castilian Spanish, and a single personality, that of Spain and these ends justified some very hideous crimes - but I don't think I have space to elaborate on that murky period of Spanish history.

Yours faithfully, George Tunnell
Calvia
PS I refer to Castilian Spanish, rather than just Spanish, because of course Catalan, Galician and Basque are also Spanish languages.

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