Megan Figueroa: Hi, welcome to the Vocal Fries podcast, the podcast about linguistic discrimination.

Carrie Gillon: I’m Carrie Gillon.

Megan Figueroa: And I’m Megan Figueroa. Well. Happy 2022? Rising intonation.

Carrie Gillon: So now that you say that it reminds me that today I saw deltacron-

Megan Figueroa: I saw that

Carrie Gillon: -trending.

Megan Figueroa: Yep.

Carrie Gillon: Okay. So first of all, that’s supposed to be a blend of delta and omicron and supposedly this lab, in I think Cypress, found this new strain, which is like a combination of the two strains. However, it probably was contamination rather than an actually new strain.

Megan Figueroa: Of course. Yes. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon: So, nobody panic.

Megan Figueroa: Right.

Carrie Gillon: But it was a, it was a thing trending.

Megan Figueroa: That’s perfect because we are going to talk about our experience live tweeting from the American Dialect Society’s Twitter, um, for the Word of the Year 2021. And speaking of deltacron, I’ve been seeing flurona everywhere now. And that was something that came to my attention during the Word of the Year thing. Um, and it seems to be very at 2022 word. So that’s what some people were saying in the chat as well. And on Twitter. But, yeah,

Carrie Gillon: I’d never heard, heard it before that, until it came up as a nomination. So, yeah. But yeah, so we should probably explain what flurona is.

Megan Figueroa: The, the flu. So, people having flu and a case of COVID at the same time. I just, again, heard the word, like during the, the American Dialect, uh, Word of the Year, and then now I’m seeing it everywhere. And I really do. I’m glad that people pointed out that this seems to be a very 2022 word. Wonder if deltacron- hopefully we won’t be hearing about that in Word are the Year 2022.

Carrie Gillon: My guess is no, because it’s probably not real. It’s probably a contamination issue as opposed to an actual new strain. We’re probably not going to hear it again for like- after a week or so.

Megan Figueroa: And anyway, wouldn’t it be called whatever’s after omicron in the Greek alphabet.

Carrie Gillon: I don’t know, like if it is a mix of two, I don’t know.

Megan Figueroa: Yeah,

Carrie Gillon: probably?

Megan Figueroa: So, we got asked to do a Twitter takeover of the American Dialect Society’s Twitter account during the annual Word of the Year vote and it was exhaustingly fun.

Carrie Gillon: It was, it was exhaustingly fun. Yeah. It was kind of chaotic.

Megan Figueroa: Yeah, well, we both been to where the years in person and it’s, it’s, it’s chaotic, it’s a super chaotic thing, a little bit of a clusterfuck at the beginning, uh, with, you know, just technical issues. But yeah, even with two of us live tweeting, it was just hard to keep up with everything that was happening.

Carrie Gillon: Yes. I, I can’t imagine trying to do that by myself. I just couldn’t have done it.

Megan Figueroa: No. Yeah. It was so much fun. And I got to say Word of the Year construction. What do you think?

Carrie Gillon: Um, I feel because I’m not American and I’m no longer living in the states that I don’t have a good feel for, if that really is the right word. It’s not the right word for outside of the United States, but that’s fine. It’s the American Dialect Society.

Megan Figueroa: That’s true. No, I, as an American, as a proud American, no. Um, I did, I don’t like insurrection as the word of the Year. I Liked, um, vaxxed or anti, like something about vaxxed would have made more sense to me.

Carrie Gillon: Okay. Well, let’s give, let’s give the, uh, nominations for that. So big Lie. Great, Great Resignation, insurrection, long COVID, omicron, variant and then vax the shortened form and also combining form. And then I think antiwork was added during

Megan Figueroa: it was, I like antiwork a lot. I wouldn’t say it was the Word of the Year, but I do like it, but that’s for me, like I said, previous episode anti-vax is so renewed for me as a meaningful word this year, I thought that it should have been, well, it was for, right?

Carrie Gillon: Now I’m not remembering which one it was, but yeah, there was, there was a dictionary.

Megan Figueroa: One of them, but yeah, insurrection, I mean, it was a defining moment in the year in America. Sure. Yeah. I liked some of the arguments. I said they didn’t really like the word insurrection because it was. More, it was domestic terrorism, but also, I feel like both of those words imply violent takeover.

Carrie Gillon: So domestic terrorism. Sure. It definitely was because it was meant to terrorize and it did terrorize for political ends, which usually you have to have the political ends in there to make it terrorism. Okay. Checks those boxes, but it doesn’t really say what type of terrorism it is. Right. Insurrection, I think actually does get at the heart of like what was actually going on. Like it was an attempted coup insurrection is that. Not.

Megan Figueroa: Is that part of the definition?

Carrie Gillon: I mean, I think so. I think as a political yeah, right interaction actually. Okay. So, it’s a violent uprising against an authority or government, so yeah, it’s, you know that if you just say domestic terrorism, you don’t get that aspect that it was against a government.

Megan Figueroa: Right. Because domestic terrorism can be against groups of people.

Carrie Gillon: It could be, you know, you’d blow up a, um, an oil line or something, which is still against an authority, I guess, but it’s not, it doesn’t have the, this was against the government. This was trying to overthrow the government kind of thing feel, whereas an instruction does have that feel. So, I think if you’re going to go for a word that’s about that, it does have to be something more along the lines of insurrection, as opposed to domestic terror.

Megan Figueroa: I like that, but still as Word of the Year as an American, I don’t know. I don’t know about that. And the Great Resignation, I’m really glad that didn’t work out because I actually kind of think that that’s going to be more important this year.

Carrie Gillon: I mean, maybe

Megan Figueroa: we’ll see, we’ll see. Audie Cornish. NPR. And she actually, her tweet about it said I’m following in the Great Resignation or I’m one of the people in the-

Carrie Gillon: it’s true. But she was talking about a bunch of people who had also done that last year.

Megan Figueroa: That’s true. Good point. Good point. Yeah.

A couple of Words of the Years, uh, nominations and winners, that was really fun. I thought. And I wanted to quote, um, Dr. Katie Carmichael. #FreeBritney as the Digital Word of the Year because she tweeted or she said in the nominate or in the, in the session that I guess I’m not quoting her. I’m, I’m-

Carrie Gillon: paraphrasing

Megan Figueroa: paraphrasing that a free Brittany’s should win because. Britney was free and now she’s out there in the world posting nude selfies. And that was just fantastic. So, I thought that was really funny. #FreeBritney did win and yeah, I thought that made sense. So that was nice to have #FreeBritney win. I felt like all of the other Words of the Year- even in the nominating session, we tried to get away from words that were related to COVID. It’s just so hard, but like all the other ones are quite depressing.

Carrie Gillon: Well, okay. So, it depends on the category, but, um, I thought, uh, in the digital category that there were some, you know, fun ones, right? So, bones day or no bones day, I’m obviously a fan of, um, free #FreeBritney horny jail, parasocial. I thought those were really fun

Megan Figueroa: parasocial yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And not necessarily COVID related Word of the year, it’s a chaotic mess and it’s a fun mess.

Carrie Gillon: It was a lot of fun. I’m glad that Grant asked us to do it.

Megan Figueroa: Yes.

Carrie Gillon: What was your favorite, um, not, not the Word of the Year, but like any of the other options,

Megan Figueroa: like most likely to succeed or,

Carrie Gillon: yeah.

Megan Figueroa: antiwork, definitely. Anti-work, I think includes the working class, whereas the Great Resignation does not. It’s complete erasure of the working class. So yes, I very much love the word anti work and um, I think it’s, was it most likely to succeed?

Carrie Gillon: Okay. Yes. It was the most likely to succeed, antiwork.

Megan Figueroa: Yes, I really, I totally agree with that. Certainly, the idea of anti-work or of doing something about your position and your lot in life is going to be relevant this year. What about you?

Carrie Gillon: I think it’s anti work for me as well.

Megan Figueroa: Yeah. It’s a good word. And it’s what we need to, I like the concept behind it too. It’s not just the word. It’s not the word form. It’s the whole thing.

Carrie Gillon: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a new way of thinking, life and this big shift that needs to happen. I’m really hoping actually does happen now. A little bit worried that the capitalist forces are going to win the day as they almost always do.

Megan Figueroa: Anyway,

Carrie Gillon: at least take off restful time that you’re allowed to take, please take it.

Megan Figueroa: Yes, I know.

Carrie Gillon: Don’t give you your companies free labor.

Megan Figueroa: I know. Uh, well, patreon is a thing.

Carrie Gillon: It is a thing that we have. Yes. Yes. Thank you to all of our supporters who have supported us all these years.

Megan Figueroa: Yes.

Carrie Gillon: If you’re not yet a supporter, you can become one at And we have all kinds of things, stickers and bonus episodes and even a mug.

Megan Figueroa: Yeah. And the latest bonus episode is a video episode with our interview with Mara Wilson. Which is fun.

Carrie Gillon: Yeah. So, if you’re interested in hearing even more about what we talked about then

Megan Figueroa: yes.

Carrie Gillon: Listen

Megan Figueroa: to the interview?

Carrie Gillon: We talk about the languages of Spain.

We’re excited to have Dr. Enrico Torre who is a content creator, event planning, proofreader, translator, data linguists and language tutor, for English, Italian, and Spanish. He’s also the course convener of the undergraduate modules, English Language 1 and English Language 2 at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Genoa Imperia Campus.

Enrico Torre: Thank you very much for hosting me.

Megan Figueroa: Yes. I’m so excited about this conversation. I, I have a strange relationship with Spanish, so it’s always good for me to

Enrico Torre: Who doesn’t?

Megan Figueroa: especially the, the Southwest of the US, um, in, you know, Spain of course,

Carrie Gillon: actually, what we’re going to talk to you about. The non-Spanish languages of Spain, but, um, yeah. So, let’s see what other languages besides Spanish and then the immigrant languages, what other languages are spoken in Spain?

Enrico Torre: Let’s talk about the Spanish languages, which are not Spanish language. Let’s say languages besides Castilian Spanish. Oh, well, there are many actually. I think the most well-known cases are Basque and Catalan, but of course there are several more. Now the only official languages apart from Castilian Spanish are Basque, Catalan, Galician and Aranese only, but only in their specific community. So, Galicia, the Basque Country, Catalonia, not just Catalonia because Aranese is also spoken in part of Catalonia. Eh, then there are quite a few more, which do not have, uh, an official status, but they at least as existing, but do not have an official status. This, this is the case of Asturian, of Aragonese. I think these are the two biggest. Then, there are also Galician in Astoria. As for instance, it’s recognized as existing, but does not have official status in Asturias. So Galician is officially in Galicia. But not in Asturias. Yes. Although there is a small part of Asturias where it is spoken, a small part of the Leonese so-called, also Catalan in Aragon is recognized as existing, but not as an official language of Aragon. And then there are also these languages, not even recognized as existing, although they have spoken such as Catalan in Murcia. Uh, Portuguese in Extremadura. So, Spain is quite fragmented.

Megan Figueroa: What does it mean to have an official status in Spain?

Enrico Torre: Basically, there are two official languages, Spanish, Castilian Spanish, and Basque. In Catalonia, there are three actually official languages, Spanish, Catalan, and Aranese. In Galicia there are two: Spanish and Galician. So, it means that these languages are employed in the administration. There are documents actually published in these languages. They are taught in schools as well. So, this is what the official status of a language implies in Spain.

Megan Figueroa: Are there people who don’t speak Spanish at all and only speak these other languages in the different communities?

Enrico Torre: I think it’s difficult. I mean, for sure in Galicia, there are areas where Spanish is almost never spoken, as in some small towns, but I don’t know if you can’t really say that the local people don’t know Spanish. They just don’t use it on a regular basis in their daily life. That I don’t know. I had no idea if somebody can really afford to not to be able to speak Spanish in Spain. I’m not sure about this. Actually, it is the most commonly used most frequently used language, even in the Basque Country, in the biggest cities, the largest cities. But nowadays I think also in Barcelona, it has overcome Catalan. I’m not sure I don’t have any quantitative data, but I think that’s the tendency. That’s the trend, for Spanish to replace all other languages, at least in cities. But I think slowly, even in the rest of the country.

Carrie Gillon: So, do you speak any of these other languages?

Enrico Torre: I speak Galician quite well, then I can understand the text written in Asturian and in the neighboring languages, but I can’t really speak them.

Megan Figueroa: So, I bring in Castilian Spanish, just thinking about what’s happening here in the US. I wonder, is it the same in Spain where urban centers versus rural, is there a prejudice between the variety, the, uh, language variety that spoken in rural areas versus urban centers, even if it’s the exact same language, but it’s, you know, the dialect or whatever you want to call it is different.

Enrico Torre: Uh, I think the situation in Galicia is very interesting because the Galician is spoken on the one hand by people who live in rural areas. So, in the countryside or in small sea towns, mostly by fisherman and on the other hand, it is spoken by intellectuals, philologists, university professors, even writers who are quite well known, uh, even inside Galicia and Spain, such as Manuel Rivas. Most things. It seems that it is mostly the urban middle-class, but rejects the autochthonous language. In the biggest city cities, it’s very rare to hear somebody speaking Galician. Um, actually it happened to me quite a few times when I live in A Coroña, to enter a bar or shop and ask something in Galician and actually been attended the Spanish. Once I was also asked, “why, why are you speaking Portuguese?”

Carrie Gillon: So why is it that the middle class rejects the, um, non-Spanish languages, do you think?

Enrico Torre: I’m not sure. I bet. I think a few issues on the one hand in history, there’s always been a sort of prejudice, uh, towards Galicia, its language and its people. Um, Cervantes used very harsh words toward Galician. You know, Spanish has always been associated with better opportunities for the future. No, would have the chance to have more jobs and also to move away to go and live in Madrid, all these. So, in a sense, language was also seen as, the Spanish language, as a way to improve your life to climb the ladder, climb the social ladder. And so, in a sense, uh, Spanish was the modern language, which could open doors for you. Whereas Galician was more likely, you know, language spoken by the elderly, by people in the countryside. It was these, these subtle prejudice, this stigma, which is unfortunately alive and well. Let’s say.

Carrie Gillon: Is there any language relativization planning going on right now

Enrico Torre: In principle, yes. I mean, Galician is still taught at schools. It’s taught in schools. If you are going to be attended by the national health service in Galicia, fill in, um, documents in Galician. So, the language is there. It’s present, but it’s just, it’s losing speakers. Let’s say. It’s not that nobody’s using it. Somebody still is. And even in inner cities, some people still use it, but it’s just a matter of numbers. These are very small numbers. There are some movements which are growing, have been growing for the last few two decades. Last two decades, two or three decades in Spain claiming that actually, uh, local languages, regional languages, well, autochthonous languages are a threat for Spanish. Also, somebody claiming that the Spanish is losing speakers to this language, which is absolutely not true. It could be very clear whenever you walk, you will see that everybody is speaking Spanish all the time, almost all the time. So, this is a blatant lie, but also a movement called Galicia Bilingue which each despite its says that children, bi-lingual Galicia, says that children in schools should only learn Spanish. This is the paradox of claiming that the region is bilingual and therefore everybody should speak Spanish. Children should be taught Spanish only. And this is because the narrative is that actually Galicia is imposing Galician on people. That’s mind boggling, but a lot of people believe it actually. Also, because these movements are quite well funded. And you know, money talks.

Megan Figueroa: Yes. Yes. Yes, it does. We have a similar thing too with the language that by saying bilingual. So, like the Bilingual Education Act back in the seventies, uh, it said bilingual, but the goal wasn’t to maintain any sort of bilingualism for mostly Spanish speakers that we have here in the United States, but it was to transition them into English ultimately. So, it wasn’t about preservation of bilingualism in children.

Enrico Torre: That’s similar actually. The interesting thing about Spain is that these languages have been there for much longer than Castilian Spanish. I mean, in these areas, Galician actually used to be the same language as Portuguese. Portuguese language is stemmed from Galician. Then the two languages separated when the colony Portuguese got independence from the kingdom of Leon, but we are talking about the Middle Ages. So basically, what we know as the Portuguese language was actually born in Galicia. So, nobody could claim that, that Galicia is a dialect of Spanish, or that Galician is going to replace, somebody wants Galician to replace Spanish, it’s actually Galician had been there for much longer.

Carrie Gillon: Yes. This is like an example of DARVO, right. You’re like reverse who’s the attacker, who’s the attacked. So, it’s, it’s a very common strategy, but I’m wondering, what is going on in Spain, where this resonates with people, this idea that, “oh, no, Spanish is under attack or under threat.”

Enrico Torre: Some people it does. Normally with people who do not live in a bilingual community, bilingual region. And unfortunately, there is a political polarization of these topics. Because normally there are people on the very far right tend to claim that these languages are a threat, these languages are , . all these things. Basically, all the country should just speak Spanish or that’s, you know, investing in learning these languages, teaching this language is a waste of money, which should be spending on more urgent issues and all of this.

On the other hand, often it is only parties on the far left advocating for the use of these languages. And this may create association, which is absurd. It’s totally false, but that if you will speak this language, you are a communist or however independentist , or on the far left. Actually, you can speak Galician and be right-wing. That has nothing to do with politics, but here are these ideas, these ingenious move from both the far right, on the one hand, and the far left, on the other hand, to claim “you should have these idea. You should also speak this language.” Basically, I think nobody can really lose anything in learning another language. That will not harm your knowledge of Spanish knowing Galician will not harm your knowledge of Spanish, knowing Asturian will not harm your knowledge of Spanish. You will just know two languages rather than one.

Carrie Gillon: Right? It can only be better.

Megan Figueroa: And thank you so much for bringing up that point. Of politics because it’s a really good point. I think it’s relevant probably everywhere. Um, but the idea that X, uh, thing is related to the right or X thing is related to the left really does get people mobilized. And it’s just, like you said, disingenuous. And that’s just a really important thing I think for us to keep in mind, like everyone keep in mind, moving forward when we think about language and how that plays out in politics or in our laws. It’s really important. So, thank you.

Carrie Gillon: Yes. So, speaking of the laws, so you brought up education, uh, that in, in the areas where a language is co-official, it is taught. Is it taught like throughout all the grades or is it a subset of grades? Like what is the status exactly?

Enrico Torre: Well, it depends, uh, at school that it is taught, but of course there’ll be some subjects taught in Spanish, some subjects taught in Galician. I don’t know if there are even some subjects taught in English. At the university, I know that it depends like most often, especially in STEM, education is offered in Spanish. Basically, I know that in biology, for instance, virtually all subjects are taught in Spanish and, you know, this is something which has some impact, because who will associate technology, science and computer science or these things with other languages. So, it will be Spanish. It could be English, maybe even more than Spanish. You can hardly be- Asturian is not even taught because it’s not an official language. It will hardly be Galician or be Basque. I think Catalan is in a better situation because of the political and cultural and economic- especially economic- weight of Barcelona, but even there, the time seems to be toward Castilization

Megan Figueroa: And I’m thinking too, as just a, an ignorant American, I thought Barcelona was- I think of Spanish. I mean, that’s my just stereotype of Barcelona. I don’t think of Catalan. I, this is like something I had to learn old. You know, when I was older, it was not something that I associated at all with Barcelona. So, it’s actually the opposite of what they think is saying- like Spanish is, is obviously the dominant, the language that is persevering, just fine. And yet they’re having this propaganda that is telling people the opposite.

Enrico Torre: Yes, I guess basically that’s what’s happening. I mean, Spanish is gaining, gaining speakers. I don’t think there was anything to gain because virtually everybody already speaks Spanish. It’s the other languages losing speakers to Spanish.

And then again, I think nobody who advocates for maintaining these languages are also advocating for replace. And for these languages to replace Spanish. Nobody. Because they know everybody knows that it would be absurd. You are in Spain, your region in Spain. They’re just claiming, they just want to preserve autochthonous languages. It’s I mean, so many centuries of history in these languages. There also a lot of literature, written literature. This has nothing to detract from Spanish and the importance of Spanish. Nobody would ever deny that. I mean it’s possible to speak Spanish in Spain. It should be quite obvious. Just common sense.

Megan Figueroa: Uh, going back to the children, are they entering schools with like, in Galicia speaking, mostly Galician, and then they learn Spanish in school?

Enrico Torre: Well, that depends. I think children may actually already speak Galician, those from the city, probably less so. One year and a half ago, and I was still in Galicia. My last weeks in Galicia. I traveled down from Coroña to Vigo to meet teacher of Galician. She told me- well, her words were, the situation of Galician in Vigo is non-existent. Vigo is the largest and most populated city in Galicia. She told me that when she arrived in Vigo, she had to often justify herself for speaking Galician, because go in the center of the large cities, and it’s just taken for granted that you will speak Spanish.

For children? Yeah. That depends. The saddest thing is that some children, somehow somebody who speaks Galician is kind of intellectually inferior to somebody who grows speaking in Spanish. And this girl mentioned another pupil who told her, “Oh, that’s so strange that a woman who speaks English, who knows English in her daily life speaks Galician. You know, if you speak Galician, if you grow up speaking Galician, you don’t learn English. How can you?” Of course, you can. I mean, this has nothing to do with it. It’s just the language you grow up with.

Carrie Gillon: Wow. That’s brutal. That’s a new one to me.

Enrico Torre: The thing is this language, Galician, is still quite similar to Portuguese. I know no one would even dream of saying such a thing of Portuguese, because of course it’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. And Galician is just a variety of Portuguese. I mean, at least historically speaking, Galicia used to be the center, which can be seen as a variety of Portuguese.

Obviously as the time passes by, it’s undergoing a stronger and stronger influence of Spanish Castilian Spanish. It’s becoming closer to Spanish, different from Portuguese. Still is where it comes from. So, I mean, speaking Galician is not, so different from speaking Portuguese. Nobody will ever say such a thing of Portuguese would say that Portuguese is an inferior language.

Megan Figueroa: This is a reminder that it’s not about the language because all of those languages, all languages are linguistically equivalent. So, there’s no reason to say that a child grew up in growing up speaking one language is going to somehow be intellectually inferior because of that language. Um, so it’s all about, you know, the stereotypes, the ideas we have about the people.

Enrico Torre: Yeah, of course.

Carrie Gillon: So how many speakers of Galician are there?

Enrico Torre: Well, officially I think 3 million. The thing is that I don’t know how many of them speak Galician as their first language. How many of them actually use it on a daily basis?

It’s also spoken in some areas outside, some small areas in Asturias, in Castile and Leon, in Extremadura and also in Argentina. I don’t know how many people are still alive. I mean, I don’t know if it was actually transmitted from generation to generation. But there used to be a big, uh, Galician immigration, immigration from Galicia to Argentina. And there used to be a substantial Galicia community. Argentina. I don’t know if they preserved the language or not.

Megan Figueroa: This one makes me wonder, because my last name actually, Figueroa, is said to be from Galicia and Galician. And so, it makes me wonder about the migration there, from the name. Cause I know Figueroa is also in Argentina. I wonder if that’s related, but mine’s through Mexico, but yeah, it’s- because I knew it was from Northwest Spain, but I’d never really looked more into my- origins of my last name or the migration patterns. ’cause Galicia has a lot of fig trees, right. Northwest Spain. Right.

Enrico Torre: Uh, never really thought about it, but some of the, your surname sounds could be Portuguese. Also.

Carrie Gillon: I did not know that there was a, had been, maybe still is a large contingent of Galician speakers that moved to Argentina. That’s amazing. I love learning stuff like that.

Megan Figueroa: Yeah. Yeah. What kind of migration patterns to Galicia are there? What language. Um, peoples and languages have been brought there.

Enrico Torre: Immigration to Galicia?

Megan Figueroa: Not much or?

Enrico Torre: Not much, a few immigrants, substantial number of them come from Spanish speaking countries already. I think the biggest community is from Venezuela, but also there are people from Eastern Europe- Russia, Poland- people from Turkey, North Africa, the Middle East. At the present. I think it’s, most people are more likely to move away from the region, but they’re also people getting in, for sure.

Carrie Gillon: So why are these other regional languages important?

Enrico Torre: Well, basically it’s the same, the same reason. They may not have an official status, but still they are languages, which have new spoken for centuries. They may not have the same amount of literature that’s sure. They’re part of the local culture. They are standardized some extent. Now this is something which probably happened more recently, but you know, there is an academia there in Asturias. Associations, trying to do the same things with other languages.

Ah, and this is interesting. Moving away from Spain, just went to Portugal in Miranda do Douro, just a small city in the northeast of Portugal. And people speak Mirandese, which is actually a variety of Asturian. These are closely related. It is this variety, which is spoken in this corner of Portugal and it’s official. So, it’s interesting because Asturian and Mirandese, don’t, don’t have, uh, the state official status in Spain, in Asturias, in Castile and Leon, in the regions where these languages come from, but these variety have official status in Portugal.

Carrie Gillon: So why is that? Why is Portugal better on the score for this language, than Spain.

Enrico Torre: I’m not sure. I think, Portugal doesn’t feel threatened because it politically speaking, there is no threat. I mean, there is only these languages spoken by less than 10,000 people. So, I don’t think Portugal would ever feel afraid. There is not history of, uh, independence, independentism in Portugal. As far as I know.

Megan Figueroa: Well, it shows how political it is all is, right?

Enrico Torre: Unfortunately, unfortunately, yes, it is. Linguistic wars are often political wars. The game of chess and that’s sad because, you know, everybody should just be free to speak the language they prefer that has nothing to do with the language like your political beliefs. Language has nothing to your political beliefs. Actually, we know there are polyglots who are actually right wing and conservative in their beliefs. JRR Tolkien or Enoch Powell who could speak seven or eight languages. And yet they held very conservative views. So, I mean, why? You don’t have to be afraid to become a communist if you speak Galician or

Carrie Gillon: just magically turns you into a communist.

So, um, did you grow up speaking Galician or did you learn it later?

Enrico Torre: Uh, no, I learned it a couple of years ago. I was just interested. And then I went to there. I was there during the big lock down 2020. So, I had time to study and I took some classes. I was in A Coroña, there wasn’t much, there weren’t many opportunities to speak, but I had this teacher. So, we had the class by phone during the street was locked down, but I also used to keep a blog. I think it’s still online. It is online. I used to write in Galician. Yeah. So, to practice.

Megan Figueroa: What can people do to support speakers of Galician or other languages that are perhaps don’t have official status and also the languages themselves? What can we do to support people and languages?

Enrico Torre: Well, I think that’s the best way to is to learn them, to become familiar with them or be curious, start to, you know, look for information. What kind of these languages, where are they spoken? Be curious about these languages. Get in touch with- there are many cultural associations that promote the preservation of these languages or these cultures. I think this is the best thing that can be done. If somebody is interested in studying these languages, that would be fantastic.

Megan Figueroa: I like the idea of being curious, be curious. I think it’s very good advice.

And remember that Spanish is doing. There is no threat to the Spanish language.

Enrico Torre: To the Spanish in Spain or in any other Spanish speaking country. This sort of fear that the Spanish that it is seen more as an American language than as a European language and that- there is some grain of truth, but that’s not because of Basque, Galician or Catalan , just because the population of former colonies,

Carrie Gillon: the success of your former colonization. It’s the same with English.

So, do you have any final words for our listeners?

Enrico Torre: Well. Thank you for bearing with me. I may say last May we had a workshop in a well- it was held online. So, it was his workshop on these languages. It went quite well. So, we decided to try and publish a volume. If everything goes okay, I’m planning to send the manuscript to submit the manuscript to the publisher in December. And then we have a second meeting, this time in the form of a symposium, scheduled for November next year, November, 2052 in Oviedo. And of course, the call for papers will be out in March and given that you are in the United States, I would invite everybody to support Santina and the Spanish California Lab at the University of California, Riverside. They’re doing great job to promote the language and culture of Asturias.

Megan Figueroa: Forward movement for these languages. That’s awesome.

Enrico Torre: There’s more interest at present for these languages in the United States, academically speaking, than in Spain.

Carrie Gillon: Well, politically it’s probably easier, right? It’s no threat, perceived or real.

Megan Figueroa: Yes.

Anyway, thank you so much.

Enrico Torre: Yeah, thanks for asking


Megan Figueroa: Yes. And we always leave our listeners with one final message. Don’t be an asshole.

Carrie Gillon: Don’t be an asshole.

The Vocal Fries podcast is produced by me, Carrie Gillon for Halftone Audio, the music by Nick Granum. You can find us on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @vocalfries. You can email us at vocal and our website is

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