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#TwitterEnCatalà Provokes Tweets of Joy and Hate

Note: #TwitterEnCatalà is the Catalan-language hashtag for #TwitterInCatalan.

On July 6, 2012, thousands of Catalan-speaking netizens celebrated the fact that Twitter finally speaks their language. The hashtag #twitterencatalà quickly became a trending topic in Spain, and Data'n'Press launched twitterencatala.org to monitor the number of users who switch their accounts into Catalan. Within the first 24 hours, more than 10,000 did so.

Many Twitter users have rejoiced in the website's newest language edition, but many others have expressed their anger at the announcement, tweeting derogatory remarks about the Catalan language and people.

On the positive side, many directly thanked Albert Cuesta, who organized the public petition for a Catalan Twitter, as well as all those who signed it:

Promotional image for #twitterencatala. Source: www.rogercasero.cat

Promotional image for #twitterencatala. Source: www.rogercasero.cat

@csolaniubo: Avui és el dia que hem de felicitar l’ @albertcuesta per ser tant tossut i fer que entre tots hàgim aconseguit el ‪#twitterencatala‬ Gràcies!

@csolaniubo: Today is the day we congratulate @albertcuesta for his resolve & for getting us #twitterencatala Thank you!

@jordiipa: El meu ‪#FF‬ és per als 7.383 signants de la petició i els 5.000 voluntaris que han traduït ‪#twitterencatala‬ < i el meu x @albertcuesta grcs!

@jordiipa: My #FF is for the 7,383 people who signed the petition & the 5,000 volunteers who translated #twitterencatala < thank you @albertcuesta!

There were also abundant tweets that celebrated the launch of Catalan Twitter as a victory for Catalan identity in the context of Catalonia's current sociopolitical situation:

@sonrisadecolor: M'encanta tenir el ‪#Twitter‬ de l'ordinador en ‪#català‬. Només una mica més i ja tindrem la ‪#IndepedènciaperCatalunya‬! ‪#twitterencatala

@sonrisadecolor: I love having #Twitter in #Catalan. Soon enough we'll have #IndependenceforCatalonia! #twitterencatala

@quimtorra: Això del #twitterencatala és com ens passarà l'endemà de la independència: semblarà mentida que no hagués estat sempre així.

@quimtorra#twitterencatala feels just like independence will: we'll wonder why it wasn't always so.

That being said, Catalan Twitter's launch also provoked a storm of angry, in some cases racist tweets towards the Catalan language and people, and conversely, some vitriolic, as well as sarcastic, responses:

@xaviconde: Los que están detrás de ‪#twitterencatala quieren partir España. Además de ducharse poco, claro.

@xaviconde: The people behind #twitterencatala want to partition Spain. Aside from opting not to bathe, of course.

@juanjo_R_G#twitterencatala Eso, eso, y yo quiero la versión en panocho, bable, andaluz y latín antiguo.

@juanjo_R_G#twitterencatala Terrific! Now we just need Twitter in Panocho, Bable, Andalusian and ancient Latin.

@somosloslocos: Ahora Twitter parecerá un huerto, todos hablando como si tuvieran un nabo en la boca. ‪#twitterencatala

@somosloslocos: Twitter will seem like an orchard, everyone talking like they've got a turnip in their mouth. #twitterencatala

@mapumo21: La ràbia dels espanyols és directament proporcional a les meues ganes de parlar, escriure i pensar en català! ‪#twitterencatala#adeuespanya

@mapumo21: Spanish insanity is directly proportional to my desire to speak, write and think in Catalan!  #twitterencatala #adeuespanya (#goodbyeSpain)

@el_bocazas: Que los catalanes tengan ‪#twitterencatala‬ m parece tan reprobable como que los rusos tengan ‪#twitterenruso‬ o los franceses ‪#twitterenfrancés

@el_bocazas: Catalans having #twitterencatala bothers me as much as Russians having #twitterinrussian or the French #twitterinfrench

@Maltlatadol: tt ‪#twitterencatala‬ y la peña rajando. Jajajajaja maldita envidia. A min só me molesta que non hai ‪#twitterengalego

@Maltlatadol#twitterencatala everyone's up in arms, but I'm just jealous. It only bothers me that we still don't have #twitterengalego (#twitterinGalician)

The website Apuntem.cat, dedicated to denouncing anti-Catalan racism on the Internet, collected some of the most violent tweets (note: in Spanish, “catalufo” is used as a slur for Catalans):

Anti-Catalan tweets with the hashtag #twitterencatalà, curated by apuntem.cat

Anti-Catalan tweets with the hashtag #twitterencatalà, curated by apuntem.cat

@AdrianVic04: Catalans, I wish you the worst illness and suffering, and that death follows you through life, you are the fucking shit of SPAIN.

@manuelrodrigue1: come on, man now that want to put #twitterencatalà, when will these piece-of-shit separatist catalufos quit? they're just disgusting

@Ander89zgz: These catalufos disgust me. Can't we just exterminate them all?

Violently anti-Catalan tweets have worried Catalan netizens for a long time. European MP Ramon Tremosa has brought these concerns before the European Commission, arguing that these kind of statements shouldn't be protected as free speech because they “carry the seed of hate“ [cat].

Catalan Twitter was launched less than a week after the Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió's latest public opinion poll [cat], which highlighted that over 51% of the Catalan electorate would vote in favor of independence if a referendum were held tomorrow.

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