I refer to Name supplied's letter re: the use of Catalan in our schools. In thirteen years as a resident and reader of the DB, I don't remember ever reading a letter written in quite so hysterical a vein.

In the first paragraph, he/she states that, and I paraphrase, if he/she doesn't like it, “hard cheese”. I agree wholeheartedly – I would further suggest that if the writer feels this strongly, then he/she should seriously reconsider his/her continued residence of this foreign land.

My kids are now 13 & 16, were born in Scotland, and came here aged 8 months and three. They have both gone through the (most excellent, in our opinion), Spanish State schooling system, and while they are no brighter or denser than any other kids, they speak English at home, Majorcan with their pals, and Castilian or Catalan as the need arises.

They have had no difficulty whatsoever with any of these tongues – indeed, when my son got his very first job this year, he went to the top of the queue because he spoke all three languages and the local patois as well.

It may be that your writer's diatribe is because his/her children are older; but we have friends whose kids have adapted quite well in their teens, albeit with a little more difficulty. Your writer states that he/she has “met many Majorcans.....who are not happy with the language changes being made in the educational system...” Well, we lived in Capdella for eight years and mixed mainly with Majorcans and Spanish. I never heard this “dissatisfaction” espoused except for one time, at a Parent/Teacher meeting, when the teacher (who was later sacked), insisted on speaking Majorcan.

Sadly, your writer's views will almost certainly be tranferred to his/her offspring, who will probably grow up with the same blinkered attitude as your writer. The writer in question is doing his/her children a disservice by doubting the power of their intellect – languages are so easily absorbed by the young that the inclusion of Catalan is, (and I speak from experience), of no detrimental consequence whatsoever. It is, in fact, a distinct advantage. I wish I could speak it. . Finally, your writer omitted to say whether he/she speaks Castilian Spanish? If so, then he/she should know that written Catalan is not that difficult for a Castilian speaker to understand. And a little dictionary costs not a lot. I am a fan of neither the present Local Government nor its policies, but any young people who intend to stay here in the Balearics or indeed, Cataluña, must speak the lingo – Spanish is not enough. (Franco's dead!)

Yours sincerely

Norman MacLeod.Palma Nova

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