Speak good Spanish in Valencia

Valencia and its two languages

When I arrived at the airport, I noticed that Valencia is a city or a region in which two languages ​​play an equally important role. For a few seconds I really doubted my knowledge of Spanish when I didn't immediately understand the signs at the airport. The fact is that the first language on the signs is always Valenciano, then English and then first Castellano, i.e. the Spanish that you learn at school here in Germany.

But what is Valenciano anyway? Valenciano has been the second official language in the Valenica region since 1982, not only in the city itself, but also in the surrounding areas. The language is spoken by over 2 million people. However, in the big cities such as Valencia and Alicante, Castellano is mainly spoken. In the last few years in particular, however, there has been an increasing awareness of the language of Valenciano, especially among younger people. The independence of Madrid also plays a role here. Since Valenciano was banned by the government in Madrid in the post-war period, it is also used particularly today to underline the independence from the Spanish central government in Madrid.

This can also be observed again and again within the city. So there are often protests in front of the seat of government here in Valencia aimed at the use of the Valenciano and to strengthen its role in society.

All of this is also reflected in the schools here. There has been bilingual teaching in schools since the early 1990s. So it is taught in Valenciano and Castellano. In recent years there has even been a significant shift towards Valenciano. This is how often the books, exam papers or most of the subjects are in Valenciano. There are also television channels and newspapers on Valenciano, which should help to further strengthen the language. In addition, civil servants, for example, have better chances of being hired if they can write and read Valenciano. The signs in the city are also here for Valenciano and Castellano. What was very confusing for me, especially at the beginning, is that the street names are mostly only in Valenciano on the houses. But if you look for routes on the Internet or want to be guided by Google Maps, these are usually only listed on Castellano. This can sometimes lead to confusion, especially if you got lost in such a way that you want to google your street name and the nice map app tells you that this street unfortunately does not exist.

In general, however, I think it's important that Valenciano is promoted in this way. English is playing an increasingly important role and many people from all over Spain are moving to the big cities such as Valencia and Alicante and therefore use Castellano in particular and do not speak Valenciano. To prevent Valenciano from becoming a language that is mainly spoken by older people, I think it is very important that it is also learned in school, for example. In this way, the children get to know them from the beginning and see it as a matter of course to speak to them and integrate them into everyday life.