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Resumen de Perceptions and linguistic awareness on the results of surveys carried out in the early 20th century on catalan dialects

Maria Pilar Perea

  • Antoni M. Alcover, the founder of Catalan dialectology, travelled widely throughout the Catalan linguistic domain between 1900 and 1928 in order to collect data to develop different projects, among which were a dialectal dictionary and a study on Catalan conju gation. In some cases, the scope of these journeys went beyond the Catalan area, because in order to further his studies Alcover travelled to various Spanish cities and visited many European countries to contact prestigious Romance scholars. Several descriptions of these travels were collected in the form of a diary which in general systematically detailed the different activities, the anecdotes that emerged, the localities he visited, the informants interviewed and, in some cases, the most important characteristics of the language of various localities. In addition to these data, the diaries also collected a number of statements related to speech perception by both the interviewer and the informants. As a result of one of Alcover’s views, published in his d iary of 1907, which describes his first study trip abroad, his controversy with the writer Miguel de Unamuno became known, because the Majorcan dialectologist stated that the Spanish language was “ rough, dry, too metallic ” as opposed to the Catalan language, which was more “ harmonious ”. In this work, all Alcover’s diaries are analysed and the different appraisal elements that appear concerning language and dialects, both from the point of view of the researcher and of the informants, are classified. Some in formants, as stated in several diaries, felt ashamed of using some morphological forms and they concealed or hid certain words or forms during the survey. Some of the prejudices and attitudes detected in the diaries are linked to the prejudices that are th e result of the cultural tradition, which started already in the past centuries, but can still be found today, in the opinion of some speakers.

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