Rosala’s ‘Spanishisms’ upset Catalonia’s language purists

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Catalan pop star uses Spanish words in Milionria, her first single in the local language

The Catalan pop star Rosala has upset language purists with her first single recorded in Catalan, by using Spanishisms that critics say dilute the language.

In Milionria, which received 2m views on YouTube in its first 24 hours, the 25-year-old singer uses the word cumpleanys a corruption of the Spanish cumpleaos to mean birthday, instead of the Catalan aniversari.

She also uses escoltada (accompanied) when in Catalan the word is escortada and refers to botellas of champagne instead of ampolles.

Will we really forgive Rosala for saying cumpleanys? asked Twitter user @LuxSpeculi.

The singer suffers from a linguistic deficit but at least now everyone now knows that cumpleanys is a gross Spanishism, wrote Gabriel Bibiloni in El Peridico.

Rosala was presumably referencing the fact that many people, especially in the Barcelona area, mix Spanish into their Catalan, much to the chagrin of purists.

Milionria received 2m views on YouTube in its first 24 hours.

The singer comes from Sant Esteve Sesrovires, about 25 miles west of Barcelona, and, like nearly everyone in the area, is bilingual as all education is in Catalan. However, in common with about 55% of the local population, her mother tongue is Spanish.

While she is hugely popular in the area, the fact that Spains biggest international star is a Catalan who sings in Spanish is a source of irritation to Catalan nationalists, many of whom would prefer a monolingual Catalonia.

Catalonias separatist president, Quim Torra, did not congratulate Rosala when she won two Latin Grammys last year, and the pro-independence paper La Repblica complained that she made no reference to the repression of the Catalan people in her acceptance speech.

The separatists dont like Rosala because she doesnt dance to their tune and they cant use her for propaganda, said Merc Vilarrubias, a Catalan writer on linguistics. Also she dares to sing in Catalan, which they regard as their personal property. They dont like this gesture of freedom and look for ways to criticise her, like her saying cumpleanys, when everyone knows that creative artists invent and adapt.

Several cultural institutions welcomed Rosalas decision to sing in Catalan, errors notwithstanding, and as people took to Twitter many agreed that what mattered was that an international star was singing in Catalan, several adding that they, too, say cumpleanys rather than aniversari. Maringela Vilallonga, the Catalan culture minister, said her family said cumpleanys, although they know its incorrect.

There are also a few English words thrown into the song but, amid the fuss, no one seems to mind that the refrain repeats the words Fucking money man.

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