Corpus planning

Around the beginning of the 20th century, increased use of Catalan, for example in the press, together with the emergence of a bourgeoisie which identified with Catalan national feeling, made a modern standard language desirable (Argenter 2002: 13-14). It was in this context that modern corpus planning emerged in the region. Following an initial congress on Catalan, the language academy Institut d’Estudis Catalans (IEC) was founded in 1907. By 1932, under the direction of Pompeu Fabra, it had produced a standard orthography, a normative grammar and a comprehensive dictionary. The resulting modern Catalan language norm was a compromise between different local dialects, and rather pluralistic in nature (Argenter 2002:1415; for an extreme example see Boix i Fuster and Vila i Moreno 1998: 299). The early language planners were interested in specialized and technical vocabulary; Fabra himself was an engineer. That was reflected in their dictionaries and in the several terminological collections published by the IEC (Cabre 1989: 545). This period of intense activity was brought to an end by Franco’s dictatorship, under which Catalan language planning was limited to the private sphere and often clandestine.

Following the transition to democracy, however, the IEC was able to resume its former role, and in 1985 the Catalan Terminology Center (TERMCAT) was founded with the objective of developing and diffusing Catalan terminology for different special languages. TERMCAT has produced several terminological dictionaries for different subfields of economics and business, as have other publishers. A practical application of terminology planning and creation can be seen in the output of public radio and television. This aims, in part, to familiarize the audience with normalized Catalan economic terminology, and the journalists involved are required to use Catalan terms unless there are good reasons not to (cf. Casals i Martorell 2008 on radio as well as Massanell i Messalles and Casals i Martorell 2008 on television).

Catalan economic terminology is, of course, influenced by English models as the concepts underlying economic terms are often developed in the English-speaking world. But, because economic terms often enter discourse in Catalonia via Spanish, that language also has an impact. The Catalan terms created may thus be influenced by Spanish translations of English terms (Silvestre 2008). Silvestre also discusses several key microeconomic terms whose English basis is metaphorical, and notes that the underlying metaphor will not always work in Catalan, one example being the negatively-loaded English term “lemon market”. Lemons having no negative connotation in Catalan, Silvestre suggests replacing them with radishes (raves), which do.

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