As with the first film of the Harry Potter series, this Christmas the language battle between Castellano and Catalan is about to blow up again at cinemas in the Balearics, Cataluña and Valencia. This year, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” will only be shown in the Catalan language in 13 cinemas, while in the other 97 theatres the Spanish version will be shown. This has provoked a civic campaign carried out by some linguistic organisations. The Plataforma per la Llengua, the most active of the organisations dedicated to promoting the normal use of the Catalan language, has therefore launched a massive campaign to change this situation. The campaign is taking place on the internet and in the streets. Last year, a similar campaign gathered 50.000 supporters when the Spanish Potter movie was first screened. Consequently, Warner decided that the second chapter of the saga would be dubbed into Catalan, without mentioning the numbers of copies to be produced. Eduard Suarez, spokesman for Plataforma per la Llengua, said that “despite the fact that the 1998 linguistic policy law has brought some improvements, this case shows that there is still a lot to be done to defend our rights”. According to him, “the arguments that point out that Catalan is not a commercially profitable language are completely false. “If you only show this film in Catalan it will be a complete financial success anyway because 100 percent of Catalan children speak Catalan”. Moreover, Suarez says that this practice has negative consequences in other fields. He says that “many recent immigrants might believe now that learning Catalan is not important because only a couple of cinemas show films in this language”. For this reason, the Plataforma per la Llengua has asked the Catalan authorities to step into action and force international film companies to dub more films into Catalan. So far, the new Harry Potter film will be shown in the Catalan language in 11 cinemas in Cataluña, and another two copies will be sent to the Balearics. In Valencia, where Catalan is also spoken by half of its population of four million, the film will only be shown in Spanish.

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