.CAT TLD Request
- To: <stld-rfp-cat@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: .CAT TLD Request
- From: "Helena Buffery" <H.B.F.BUFFERY@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 12:23:41 +0100
- Importance: high
- Priority: Urgent
- Thread-index: AcQsShgWXUKqzEbPSXqcW0yu+3M5xw==
- Thread-topic: .CAT TLD Request
I hope you will be kind enough to read the attached letter. I believe there are
ample reasons for measured consideration of the Puntcat organisation's TLD
request. Unfortunately, I have also noted that some contributions to the debate
have not been helpful. I am writing to help to clarify some of the issue.
All the very best,
Dr Helena Buffery
University of Birmingham
I write to you on behalf of the Anglo-Catalan Society
[http://www.shef.ac.uk/hispanic/acspags], which brings together mainly academic
experts on all aspects of Catalan society and culture who are based in the
United Kingdom and Ireland. (I myself am currently working on a Historical
Dictionary of the Catalan Peoples for the Scarecrow Press series of Historical
Dictionaries). Most of our members know the language and culture well, and I am
confident that our colleagues in the North American Catalan Society
[http://cr.middlebury.edu/catalan/] would endorse most if not all of what I
have to say.
The Catalan language has for centuries been spoken in the same territories in
Europe. Right now these territories form part of four different states (Andorra
.ad, France .fr, Italy .it, and Spain .es). Thus I understand the .cat TLD
request is not based on political borders, but rather on linguistic and
I gather from the promoters' website [http://www.puntcat.org] that it has the
support of over 53,000 people, and 2,000 associations, from throughout the
areas where more than seven million people speak the language, and beyond.
Nor are we dealing with a low status language:
· It has full official recognition in Andorra, and has official status
alongside Spanish in most part of the Spanish-speaking territories in Spain.
· On the Internet, the presence of Catalan is very considerable. The voluntary
organisation Softcatala, (http://www.softcatala.org/noticies/2402200472.htm)
has recently noted that in the Wikipaedia project, only 11 languages have more
pages than the Catalan version, which surpasses languages such as Chinese,
Hebrew, Romanian, Slovene, Finnish, Croatian, Norwegian and Portuguese. Note
that all these languages, as well as those above Catalan, have a clearly
defined "home state", and therefore their own clear TLD. Furthermore, the Open
Directory project (http://www.dmoz.org/) has Catalan in 11th position, ahead of
Russian, Norwegian, Czech, Turkish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese and Finnish.
It has ten times more pages than any "minority language". Yet again the
languages mentioned, and all ten placed above Catalan, have a clearly defined
State or, in some cases (Spanish or English, e.g.), set of States.
· Moreover, the Alexa ranking (see
http://www.softcatala.org/articles/article39.htm) includes a number of
institutions whose main language is Catalan. The leading ones are «La Caixa»
savings bank [http://www.lacaixa.es/], the Generalitat de Catalunya (government
of Catalonia) [http://www.gencat.net/], Generalitat Valenciana (government of
Valencia) [http://www.gva.es/], Barcelona City Council [http://www.bcn.es/],
the Educational Telematic Service, [http://www.edu365.com/], the University of
Barcelona [http://www.ub.es/], the Open University of Catalonia
[http://www.uoc.edu/], two newspapers - El Periódico
[http://www.elperiodico.es/] and the digital paper, VilaWeb
[http://www.vilaweb.com/] - and the Barcelona Football Club
· The Catalan-speaking community is firmly committed to the Internet: indeed,
the Catalan Chapter of the Internet Society (http://www.isoc-cat.org/) was, I
am told, one of the first to be founded.
As should now be clear, the sponsored TLD community is extremely clearly
defined: it speaks and uses the Catalan language, wherever it is geographically
or politically sited.
I feel that ICANN would be making a big step forward were it to acknowledge
that culture and language can also be the basis for a top level domain, when
necessary, alongside the existing political and institutional ones. There are
few languages (and certainly none on the scale of Catalan!) which do not have
an independent homeland from which to be projected, and which are spoken in
several countries (Kurdish springs to mind).
Several of those who have expressed their opinions in this forum, have quite
simply failed to see the significance of this non-politically based TLD.
To appeal to all Catalan-speakers, domains ending in .es, .fr, .it or .ad
certainly fall short, for each of these leaves out nationals of other
countries, a fact that is ignored by several of the more outspoken and critical
contributors to this forum. The same can be said for the considerable number of
organisations set up by the Catalan-speaking diaspora (Casals Catalans,
lectorats, and so on) across the globe - in Australia, throughout Europe (e.g.
http://casal.catala.free.fr/, http://www.angelfire.com/ct/cclux/, etc.) to
South America (http://www.galeon.com/ccatala/, http://www.casaldeyucatan.org/,
etc.) Canada (e.g. http://www.ashlu.com/casal/) and the US
(http://www.casalcalifornia.org/, http://www.casalcatala.org/ etc.) - and which
are also present on the Internet.
I therefore feel that it would be a step forward were .cat to be adopted as a
new TLD, for it would highlight that TLDs do not have to refer, in all cases,
to geographically-defined polities or to organisations (educational,
commercial, official, or whatever). And provided a domain is to be (at least
mainly) in Catalan, I cannot see how what definition of Catalan culture could
lead the name-server managers to turn a request away! Within the self-defined
Catalan-speaking community, it hardly seems likely that any polemic can arise
in this regard.
Dr Helena Buffery
Lecturer in Hispanic Studies
University of Birmingham
Secretary of the Anglo-Catalan Society