Our Language

La Voz de Galicia – May 18, 2018 →

Cristina PatoThe Galician language, much like the Galician bagpipe, has survived hundreds of years through a rather convulsed history thanks to its people. Our existence and cultural identity can neither be understood nor explained without our language and our bagpipe (if we understand the bagpipe as a metaphor for Galician music). Being different in a world where we struggle to be heard is one of the most powerful features of, what for me, means to be Galician: celebrating difference to be able to grow as a society.

I grew up listening to my parents speak Galician, except when they spoke to us, their four daughters. They spoke Galician between themselves, with their respective families, with the people in our villages…but their raised us speaking Spanish. I only spoke Galician when people spoke to me in the language, and attempting to denormalize this fact, even to myself, is a commitment that I’ve had to acquire. We Galicians have our own beautiful language, why don’t we speak it in all contexts? What are the reasons that prevent us from using it in all aspects of our society?

I play an instrument that by its very nature makes me tell the story of Galicia, and each time I tell it, whether in China, the United Arab Emirates or Harvard, I see the impact that Galician history has as a paradigm of the power of culture as a socioeconomic engine, as a building block of our identity.

Maria Victoria Moreno defined her choice of Galician as “a love story.” Language and music have already shown us their power to be above any political decision: the people were able to keep them both due to the love they had for them, due to their passion for speaking the “affectionate, feeling, soft and complaining” language that makes us truly international.

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