I should start introducing you in the theme with general info about Catalonia. However, my B.A. work concerns Catalan language in Alguer, Sardinia, so…
You may be surprised by mentioning Italian island when talking about Catalonia. The explanation is simple: history. And history of Catalan culture in Sardinia found its beginning in 16th century, when Kingdom of Catalonia expanded. Since then, until the short period of Spanish domination, Catalan language and culture were predominating on Sards’ territory. However, it had less and less importance, and in the beginning of 20th century it has lost it’s status of official language due to Italy becoming a united structure.
Since the fascists’ reign, with the state becoming more centralized, Italian language policy has become more hostile versus language minorities. Nowadays, government policy reveal rather inertia than hostility. You can easily see it on example of German and French. These two languages are commonly spoken in the areas close to frontiers; therefore, these are officially (constitutionally) recognized as a language minorities and has some more influence in policy of the state than others.
The situation of Algueres (variation of Catalan from the island) is particularly interesting and hard. First of all, because it is minority inside other minority: the Sardinian. Since the Sardinian has no official status, it is extremely hard for Algueres to gain importance.
Nowadays, Algueres – considered commonly as a Medieval dialect of Catalan – is spoken by really small group of L’Alguer community; mainly by the working class. Nevertheless, institutions that work on promotion of Catalan are doing their best to recover importance of the language that was dominating for more than three centuries.
I really hope they will make it. Our so called ‘global village’ is not an one-cell organism, and needs variety to improve and develop.