Standardizing opinion: Projecting a national catalan public through letters to the editor

Susan E. Frekko

Abstract

The grounds of authority for the Catalan language have shifted from authenticity to anonymity, as Catalan becomes redefined as a public language. The “model of language” of the Catalan press reflects this shift, with an emphasis on neutral, transparent Catalan. This article examines original and published letters to the editor in a Catalan-medium newspaper in Barcelona. I argue that standardization of language, page design and signatures in the letters to the editor erases the social indexicality that attaches the original letters to their socially positioned authors. This process of standardization in linguistic and other semiotic modes allows the published letters to index a unified Catalan national “public” rather than their distinct authors.

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