Joxe Manuel Odriozola
The Basque thinker Joxe Manuel Odriozola is ever more persuaded that a close relationship between language and nation is pivotal on the restoration of minority languages, as described in this article. “National building with no support to the minorized nation stops the revitalization of a minorized language”, he asserts. Therefore, “the social normalization of a suppressed language is just chimerical if it is not socialized and developed along with the other elements constituting its national identity”.
All over the world, developed literate culture provides the core, guarantee and support for identity. A language lacking in literate people cannot operate as a nation; it would stand for an ethno-cultural community at best. Accordingly, the author aims his criticism against public institutions, emphasizing that “Spanish and French are the only operative national languages here, since Basque is prevented from operating on a national social basis (…)”. “Public culture works presently at the service of the main national community, i.e. the Spanish/French”.
He goes on to criticize Basque culture making, “creative culture has attracted all the focus among us, neglecting instead referential national culture that paves the common grounds for nation building (…)”. “We should especially focus on the construction of a society operating in Basque, where culture should provide a fertile basis for national identity. Other meanings of culture are not paramount in the context of a denationalized people”.
In modern world, the so-called social culture relies on a sharing system. The activity and institutions providing the basis for that model impregnate all human actions, with that cultural pattern pivoting on a shared language. Only a language performing communicative tasks attributed to a national society can guarantee the necessity of a certain language and the building of a given national community.
The following excerpt provides a statement by the sociolinguist José Mª Sanchez Carrion Txepetx: «In the Basque Country, the only community with self-awareness or a self-perception is the Spanish/French one, since Spanish/French speakers do associate language to nation. By contrast, Basques dilute these two concepts, given the fact that Basque is minorized or undergoing and under the consequences of minorization».