“Imposing the Catalan language slows down the access of talent to science.”

Professor of Microbiology at the University of Barcelona (UB) Mikel Viñas (Puigcerda, 1953) He devoted more than half his life to studying the molecular basis of bacterial resistance. He speaks seven languages ​​and has worked at other international universities the Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, USA) and Jacobs University (Germany), although the bulk of his career has been developed on campus Medicine at the University of Barcelona (UB), linked to the Biomedical Research Institute of the Bellvitge Hospital (Idibell), is one of the centers targeted by the Generalitat guide which aims to “Catalanize” the scientific environment. “A born Catalan speaker,” as he defines himself, Phineas puts it “Confusion” Because of the government's attack to promote independent language in science. “Whoever made this list completely ignores how the investigation is going,” he told ABC, warning that the Catalan government’s “obsession” “It stops international talent from arriving in Catalonia.”. “The world of research is a borderless world in which English is mainly spoken. “You can't put doors on the playground,” he warns.

— What do you think of the guide promoted by the General Government to encourage the use of the Catalan language in research?

-It's another example of how our rulers look at us. I, a Catalan and Catalan speaker by birth, who loves my language and my traditions as much as anyone else, cannot understand this obsession with entering other people's lives in such an obscene way. This impression reaches higher values ​​when you think about the consequences. The world of scientific research is a borderless world in which English is primarily spoken. We can give it whatever titles we want, but that's the way it is. The reason is clear: the Saxon world controls scientific production, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.

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– As part of its attack on “Catalan” research centers, the state announced that it would implement an “indicator system” to evaluate the degree of compliance with the guide’s recommendations. How do you evaluate this inspection?

– It is simply political police control. Catalan is the mother tongue of a large portion of Catalans, and those of us who belong to this group are happy to belong, but in science things are different. We have to compete and collaborate with the international scientific community, publish in prestigious journals, and do so in English, whether we like it or not. Whoever created this regulation to promote the Catalan language in science is completely unaware of how this research will proceed. This is reflected in the centres. People from Catalonia, from other autonomous communities, from many countries work here, and the important thing is that they understand each other, discuss and advance knowledge creation. The least important thing is in what language it is done.

“Whoever put this Catalan organization into science completely ignores how this research works.”

Mikel Viñas

Professor of Microbiology and researcher at UB

—The guide is part of the plan to strengthen the Catalan language promoted by the state in several areas, including the university, where it has been proposed that in the near future 80% of the offer of university degrees will be exclusively in Catalan, and that this language as well as progression in master’s degrees and studies Supreme…..

– In my opinion, this is a grave mistake. The status of a language cannot depend on decrees or initiatives taken in the political system. The majority of Catalans are functionally bilingual and speak Catalan and Spanish interchangeably. We move from one to the other unconsciously. At university level, most of the master's students we received came from other regions of Spain and Latin American countries. As in research, the language is English, in higher education the use of special languages ​​must be taken into account, but imposing the Catalan language in this field will mean the failure of many master’s degrees due to the lack of applicants. It is unlikely that a British or American student will come to study a master's degree here, but not a Chilean, Argentine or Paraguayan, and it is this group that interests us and justifies our work. Imposition generates conflict and discontent, and this is what happens with Catalan. Whoever claims to defend and promote it generates discredit; Often, or always, what is imposed wins but never convinces. In my view, these regulations will have (or may already have) a devastating impact. On the one hand, fewer and fewer Master's (or third cycle) students will come from other Spanish regions or Ibero-American countries, and this is a net impoverishment. I don't want to sound trivial, but science is at the center of progress. With these government regulations, the access of outstanding master's students and researchers has been stopped. The state puts doors on the countryside, and this is a grave mistake.

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– Do you think that the imposition of Catalan has stopped or could prevent the access of high-level researchers to Catalonia?

— I began my scientific career in 1976 at Bellvitge Health Center, and later worked at the University of Zaragoza and then at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas). I have also worked at the University of Würzburg in Germany and at Jacobs University Bremen (Germany), and sometimes in other research centers in different countries. In none of these places did they ask me for language skills, they just asked me to know what I was doing. They didn't make me prove anything either, in fact I don't speak a word of German and I worked in Germany (I think) to the complete satisfaction of those who welcomed me. In my work in Catalonia, language was never a problem until the problem was created by politicians. I usually speak Catalan and when someone doesn't understand me, I switch to Spanish, French, English, Italian or Portuguese. Here language assumptions are a limitation, especially for the system itself. Teachers who are recruited through the Generalitat (Serra-Hunter) program that allows the recruitment of people with a very good CV (mostly foreigners) meet the so-called C2 (required level in the Catalan language). We combined Jewel, for cutting-edge research, and sentenced him to devote three years to learning the Catalan language, neglecting his scientific obligations. What has been achieved is discontent with all things Catalan.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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