In 1939 a large number of Catalan and Spanish republicans left their country and sought shelter in France from the fascist army of the insurgent general Francisco Franco. The exile was a process which went through several stages: fleeing, crossing the border, settling in a new place, pondering their own and others’ identities, accepting their condition of rootlessness. From diverse written sources, such as personal diaries, reports, fiction texts, interviews, etc., I will focus on the analysis of the naming of the sites and the territory in two key moments: the moment of their flight and their arrival in the new place. Due to the ferocious linguistic (military) policies of Franco, Catalan exiles pondered their individual and group identity, where language became a personal shelter, a cultural space and, at the same time, a reason for personal struggle for freedom. Some of them even began to think that their language had no land, but was only a written space built by the exiles themselves. My analysis will be grounded on the framework of the positioning theory that regards languages as a site of identity, discrimination and solidarity.
"Names of the Territory, Meanings of Exile: Language and Space in the Catalan Exile (1939),"
CALL: Irish Journal for Culture, Arts, Literature and Language:
1, Article 13.
Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/priamls/vol1/iss1/13