.CAT domain – Catalonia the first ‘region’ to get their own domain tag, but cat owners were left disappointed! by Brian Thomas - Profesor/a de inglés

.CAT domain – Catalonia the first ‘region’ to get their own domain tag, but cat owners were left disappointed!

In all ways imaginable in the past four decades, Catalonia has tried to assert its individuality, if not outright independence, from the rest of Spain in many ways. They have ranged from the borderline violent mass protests in 2019, characterised by vitriol and rabid behaviour, but also more subtle and smart. An example relates to the securing of of an international internet domain tag back in 2005. Most countries and states have in the past few decades made sure to exist outside of the mere .com pantheon. However, until recently this was a privilege reserved exclusively for a fully independent country, and not a region or disputed zone. Catalonia foresaw an opportunity fifteen years ago and hasn’t looked back since.


Interestingly from a language-teaching or learning perspective, .CAT is run exclusively by the relevant department in the Generalitat, and many of its subsites offer the content in 3 languages (Catalan, Spanish and often English). Spokespeople for the Generalitat have always insisted that this is NOT an ‘independista’ stunt, and continues to allow people, young, old or even ‘extranjero’ to become comfortable in both languages. It should also be pointed out that Catalonia offers substantial reward to Catalan writers who seek to write their novel or play in Catalan, but there’s a catch! If a would-be author submits a Catalan piece of literature to the Generalitat, the government will BUY the first 100 copies and give a grant to the author in the region of €3,000. However, the book must NOT be translated into Spanish, and if it is found to be, the author could face legal action by the Catalan court! There is one thing about promoting a language, but using it as a tool for financial manipulation, if that is what this is, is another matter.


When the .cat domain got approval, many in Madrid may have been furious. Other international spectators were confused – how could a ‘mere’ province lay claim to their own domain? However, the fury and confusion of these onlookers paled in comparison to the sheer bewilderment of feline fans. Allow me to explain: those pet lovers of the cat variety seemed to think that, all of a sudden, the cat world had been officially recognised online – of course, buying goodies and food and furniture for your cat(s) seemed now to be regulated under one authority. Joy! However, imagine clicking on any website with a .cat domain and being bombarded with all matters relating to Catalan life? WHY ARE CATS UNDERREPRESENTED IN THE DIGITAL WORLD? This is a rhetorical question. Don’t know what that is? Sign up for English lessons with us!

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