Luis F. Seoane
Is the coexistence of Catalan and Spanish possible in Catalonia?PDF
We study the stability of two coexisting languages (Catalan and Spanish) in Catalonia (North-Eastern Spain), a key European region in political and economic terms. Our analysis relies on recent, abundant empirical data that is studied within an analytic model of population ...MORE ⇓
We study the stability of two coexisting languages (Catalan and Spanish) in Catalonia (North-Eastern Spain), a key European region in political and economic terms. Our analysis relies on recent, abundant empirical data that is studied within an analytic model of population dynamics. This model contemplates the possibilities of long-term language coexistence or extinction. We establish that the most likely scenario is a sustained coexistence. The data needs to be interpreted under different circumstances, some of them leading to the asymptotic extinction of one of the languages involved. We delimit the cases in which this can happen. Asymptotic behavior is often unrealistic as a predictor for complex social systems, hence we make an attempt at forecasting trends of speakers towards 2030. These also suggest sustained coexistence between both tongues, but some counterintuitive dynamics are unveiled for extreme cases in which Catalan would be likely to lose an important fraction of speakers. As an intermediate step, model parameters are obtained that convey relevant information about the prestige and interlinguistic similarity of the tongues as perceived by the population. This is the first time that these parameters are quantified rigorously for this couple of languages. Remarkably, Spanish is found to have a larger prestige specially in areas which historically had larger communities of Catalan monolingual speakers. Limited, spatially-segregated data allows us to examine more fine grained dynamics, thus better addressing the likely coexistence or extinction. Variation of the model parameters across regions are informative about how the two languages are perceived in more urban or rural environments.
Analytic solution of a model of language competition with bilingualism and interlinguistic similaritydoi.orgPDF
ArXiv Preprint, pages 1303.4959, 2013
An in-depth analytic study of a model of language dynamics is presented: a model which tackles the problem of the coexistence of two languages within a closed community of speakers taking into account bilingualism and incorporating a parameter to measure the distance between ...MORE ⇓
An in-depth analytic study of a model of language dynamics is presented: a model which tackles the problem of the coexistence of two languages within a closed community of speakers taking into account bilingualism and incorporating a parameter to measure the distance between languages. After previous numerical simulations, the model yielded that coexistence might lead to survival of both languages within monolingual speakers along with a bilingual community or to extinction of the weakest tongue depending on different parameters. In this paper, such study is closed with thorough analytical calculations to settle the results in a robust way and previous results are refined with some modifications. From the present analysis it is possible to almost completely assay the number and nature of the equilibrium points of the model, which depend on its parameters, as well as to build a phase space based on them. Also, we obtain conclusions on the way the languages evolve with time. Our rigorous considerations also suggest ways to further improve the model and facilitate the comparison of its consequences with those from other approaches or with real data.
The importance of interlinguistic similarity and stable bilingualism when two languages compete
New Journal of Physics 13(3):033007, 2011
Abstract. One approach for analyzing the dynamics of two languages in competition is to fit historical data for the number of speakers of each with a mathematical model in which the parameters are interpreted as the similarity between those languages and their relative ...