The language policy of Spain: A closer look at the failure to understand cultural pluralism

Joan Marcet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The formal content of Article 3 of the Constitution was regarded as a historic breakthrough, despite some controversial elements during the debate over the framing of the Constitution. The 1978 Constitution recognized the existence of a plurality of Spanish languages, although it recognized only one, Spanish, as official throughout Spain. The Constitution granted Spanish the status of lingua franca for all Spanish citizens. The remaining languages, not named in the Constitution (which would lead to a conflict in the case of the Valencian variant of Catalan, for example) were, therefore, only co-official in their respective Autonomous Communities, in accordance with these communities' Statutes of Autonomy. Communities with an autochtonous language have taken these constitutional guidelines and expanded upon their own Statutes of Autonomy, creating fairly broad standards for language normalization, including teaching of the autochtonous language and teaching in the autochtonous language. For its part, the central government has done little to flesh out the provision guaranteeing special respect and protection for Spain's language diversity, set forth in the third paragraph of Article 3 of the Constitution. Its efforts have shown a low level of commitment and have at times been controversial. This article attempts a closer look at the development of the Spanish central government's language policy, which should be based on the formal, literal content of Article Three of the Constitution, but which has developed standards or practices that at times have been consistent with Article 3 and at times have been quite contradictory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
JournalRevista de Llengua i Dret
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


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