Size doesn’t matter, it’s cultural

We will have the Catalan elections in six days and there’s a huge discussion about language, culture, immigration and independence on the street. Few days ago something related to all this happened to me; something that happens more often than I can stand ― which is not too much, to be true.

Last week I met a Swedish who is on a long vacation in Barcelona. His only duty here is attending some Spanish lessons. He has been here for two months and he can speak correctly enough. After a while talking it’s not weird that a Language student like me asked in an innocent way “Speaking good Spanish like you do, can you understand something when people speaks Catalan?”

Well, having linguistic curiosity nowadays is not a nice thing. The answer I got was an anti-Catalan speech based on looking down on the culture he is living in, which has taken him in and which he doesn’t care to know.

I heard sentences like “What would someone want to learn a language that nobody speaks?” or “What have Catalans done? Do you have anything famous apart from the Sagrada Familia?” And then he told me that there are 10 million inhabitants in Sweden and there happens to be 9 million people who speak Catalan. “But Sweden is larger” So what? Size doesn’t make a culture richer. And him being and ignorant who only knows the Sagrada Familia doesn’t detract us from what we have. I only know Ikea from Sweden, but I’m quite ignorant as well and don’t think they just have this.

As I said, this is not the first time it happens to me. I have met some foreigners that moved to Barcelona and despise the land they walk on. These are usually people from the North. People form the South use to be nicer. In fact, I have realized that we always look up to northern countries and look down on southern ones.

I think there’s an easy solution for them: if you don’t like it here, go somewhere else; get a job in your developed country and study Spanish in Spain, the one you like. I’m not fanatic about anything, but I don’t let anyone to come home and insult me.

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