Languages of Andorra

Languages of
country = Andorra
official = Catalan
foreign = Spanish, French and Portuguese
sign = French Sign Language

The following languages are currently spoken in the Principality of Andorra.


= Catalan =

Catalan is the only official language of Andorra. [ [http://www.andorramania.com/constit_gb.htm Constitution of Andorra] (Article 2.1)] It is also the historical and traditional language of the country used by government, television, radio, and other national media and is the main language of all the people living in the territory with Andorran nationality, which represents 33% of the total population.

It is also the main language of about 25% of Spanish immigrants (43% of people living in the country), usually the ones that have come to the country since 1985 from nearby Catalonia (where Catalan is co-official with Spanish) or also Valencia (where it's called Valencian).

Recently the Government of Andorra is kindly enforcing the learning and use of the language within the immigrant labor force as a previous step to fully apply the constitution and surpass the abnormality of people living in a country without knowing its only own language.

Due to the fact that Andorra is the only country in the world that has Catalan with official status in all of its territory allowed the strange situation that a language, spoken by more than 10 million, with a thriving culture, and is official in the United Nations (thus internationally recognized and accepted), is only official for fewer than 50,000 of its speakers. The same situation applies to a possible integration within the European Union.


= Spanish =

Spanish is the main language of about 70% of Spanish national immigrants (the rest being 5% Galician) that came to the country between 1955 and 1985 fleeing from the poverty of southern Spain, western and central regions of the Iberian Peninsula (Andalusia, Extremadura, Castile-La Mancha, Murcia...) and the industrial crisis of the metalurgian industry next to the Bay of Biscay (Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia...).

The low level of development of Andorra at that time, the low intellectual level of the immigrants, and the possibility of an invasion by Spain during the Franco regime reduced the ability of full integration of this population until recent years. Finally in 1993, the constitution of the country was approved. Since then, Spanish, the language used by most of the population living in the country, had its status changed and is now a minority language (although remaining a huge minority with nearly 40% of the population).

It is possible to be taught at school in the Spanish language if the parent chooses the Spanish education system that Andorra shares.


= Portuguese =

The same poverty situation in southern Portugal (usually Algarve and Alentejo) prompted a huge migration flux to the country between 1960 and 1980, increasing the Portuguese population to 11% of the total.


= French =

The nearby border with France, the tax-free cheaper cost of living, and the opportunity for a good job within the thriving tourist industry resulted in 7% of the country's total population being french nationals, usually immigrants from the old French African colonies.

The French language may be taught at school if the parent chooses the French education system that Andorra shares.

References

* http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=AD
*


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