Interesting article about teenagers in Barcelona, and the reasons why they largely prefer to speak Castilian (Spanish). Those include the perception that Catalan is a “teachers’ language”, or that you can’t be serious in Catalan, it’s a jokey language (even though a group of boys quoted here also claim there’s no good ways to rib your mates in Catalan, while a girl quips that Catalan is such a sweet and rhythmic language, how could she be expected to speak it with these boys, hahaha). But further points are made about how Castilian is in such wider use – there are way more TV shows and movies etc. produced in Castilian, the online “influencers” and the famous actors the teenagers know of are all Castilian-speaking – and it just seems like Castilian evolves more rapidly with the times while Catalan feels more staid and academic.
For what it’s worth, I studied Catalan for two years and I have a huge appreciation for the diversity of language, so my own preference would be to see Catalan thriving (and compared to many other minority languages, it totally is – why else was I even able to study it at my university in Australia!). But you also can’t really blame young people for preferentially speaking a language that most of the media they consume comes in, or is way more common globally, linking them to people through most of the Americas. And you’d have to think as well that if Catalan did change faster to “keep up with the times”, that would probably mainly mean a lot of borrowings from Spanish (much as my uni tutor railed against “castellanismes”, heh). I’m not sure that there really is an “answer”, or that there’s even a point looking for an “answer” – languages are there to be used by people, after all, they’re not things that exist independently of us. And especially in the rest of Catalonia (outside Barcelona), Catalan seems to be doing fine.