The Institute for Catalan Studies, Catalan: Institut d'Estudis Catalans or IEC is an academic institution which seeks to undertake research and study into "all elements of Catalan culture".
The IEC is known principally for its work in standardizing the Catalan language. The Institute's current president is Salvador Giner, elected to the office for four years in June 2005. The IEC is based in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, and the second largest city in Spain.
Enric Prat de la Riba, the first President of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, is credited with founding the Institute in 1907. The IEC is just one of a number of cultural and scientific institutions created at that time to lend greater prestige to the Catalan language and culture; others include the Biblioteca de Catalunya (Library of Catalonia), the Escola Industrial (Industrial School), the Escola Superior de Belles Arts (Higher School of Fine Arts) and the Escola del Treball (School of Labour), el Centre de Recerca Matemàtica. Prat de la Riba also created the Escola de l'Administració Local (School of Local Administration), in order to create a body of Catalan civil servants for the regional government.
The IEC inspired the creation of the Institut d'Estudis Occitans in Occitania. Occitania is an area in southern France where Occitan (often called Provençal) has been historically spoken.
The IEC's Philological Section was founded in 1911. Antoni Maria Alcover served as its first president. Along with Pompeu Fabra, the Philological Section worked to establish a series of spelling norms that were approved by members in 1913. These became the foundation of modern written Catalan which are still in use today. Similarly, in 1917, the Diccionari Ortogràfic de l'Institut was published; it soon became a dictionary of spelling norms irredeemably tied to the reputation of former Institute Director Pompeu Fabra. The dictionary went through several editions, with the last released in 1937. This work and others were the basis of Fabra's Dictionari General de la Llengua Catalana published in 1932, a general-purpose dictionary that became a standard reference work throughout the various Catalan-speaking regions.
Officially the IEC provides standards for Catalonia proper, Northern Catalonia (located in France), the Balearic Islands, and the Principality of Andorra (the only country where Catalan is the sole official language). The Valencian Region south of Catalonia has its own language academy, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua. In an area known as the Franja de Ponent, the eastern edge of Aragon adjacent to Catalonia where Catalan is spoken, the rules are used de facto although Catalan is not an official language.
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