La Voz de Galicia – November 29, 2019 →

Cristina PatoI was looking for an article that would help me talk about our diglossia from a global point of view. I wanted to talk about class, language, and survival, and describe that situation, so normalized for us, in a comprehensible way for those who were not born here, in Galicia, and for those who, like me, are not linguists. To explain all those invisible factors that make us speak more or less a language and leave aside the visible factors. The theory I wanted to show was about the idea that one may fight against what is seen but not against that which may not be seen, which is not spoken, which does not really exist.

Without a doubt, there are parallels with other languages and other nations because ours is a question about the loss of historical memory, and it is a complex problem halfway between the political and the social. But there is something special about our way of being where it does not quite fit.

At my house, class was never much talked about, but its mark was so evident in our way of life, that I never stopped to think that, in reality, we were part of a majority of people committed to hide their origins. Was language a matter of class? For Maruxa, the one from A Bola, it was–likely without her realizing it—but it was.

I don’t know whether there is an anthology that can help us understand these things without making us feel guilty (us, as well as our forebears) similar to Paula S. Rothenberg’s Race, Class and Gender in the United States. Something that helps us learn that many problems regarding the sustainability of our language are basic problems, historic and that despite political movements, it is us who have to use things so they are not lost. So they remain alive.

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