How politics influences language use, and even the definition of language boundaries, can most famously and hilariously be seen in the Balkans. In Slovenia (where people take great pride in stating that they are not part of the Balkans, all things be said) they still remember well a story from NDH times: A man from Ljubljana goes to buy a bicycle in Zagreb. Bicycle is "bicikel" in Slovenian and "bicikl" in Croatian, or so he thinks. He comes back with a Croatian apparatus called "međunožno guralo". The two languages are sufficiently similar to make him understand that he bought something that goes between the legs and has to be pressed.
As a matter of fact, Serbian-Croatian-Slovene was at one (ealier) stage the official language of Yugoslavia.
Later Slovenian was recognised as a separate language. Serbocroatian remained. But that ended with the Yugoslav Wars, so now we have separate Serbian, Croatian and even Bosnian languages. When in 1994 all of them became official in Bosnia, a friend of mine who was serving in the Bosnian army laconically commented: "We're even capable of having three different human anatomies." Sadly, Bosnians never accepted my proposal to call their language by its English or, for historical reasons even better, German name: Serbocroatian or serbokroatisch could easily be spelled SerBoKroejšen or SerBoKroatiš. The Interpreters Guild was just too powerful, that's what you get when you decide to live in Discworld.
In Eastern Germany they still fondly remember the times when a Christmas angel was officially (i.e. according to communist-atheist lingo) named "Jahresendflügelfigur". Winged year-end figure.
Such hokum, fomerly the domain of totalitarian regimes or the result of situations in which extreme nationalism has led to bloodshed, is living a renaissance in Catalonia. We've already had a look at it in another entry. Also mind that there are people in Valencia who claim that they speak a language separate from Catalan. And I don't mean Spanish.
Today, via Daniel's blog, we get the news that idiocy is alive and kicking. The El Mundo edition for Catalonia calls the town "Girona", the edition for the rest of Spain calls it "Gerona". One is the Catalan name, the other the Spanish one. But both editions of El Mundo are written in Spanish. Plus El Mundo is quite a right-wing publication and no stranger to having the odd anti-Catalan fit.
I just wish that some people here get treated with a međunožno guralo, and I don't mean bicycle. Their brains already are.
Which is why the only turtle ever to feature on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram is still a happy camper. Long live the Great A'Tuin!