What writing system does this language use?
Catalan uses the Roman alphabet, which was originally used in Latin. Today, it is used in almost all European languages.
The letters U and J were added to the Roman alphabet in the Middle Ages. Catalan doesn't use K or W, except in foreign words. Catalan only uses Y in the combination NY.
Catalan also uses Ç (which is considered a variant of C), grave accents (À, È and Ò), acute accents (É, Í, Ó and Ú) and dieresis (Ï and Ü). The letter X is usually pronounced like SH in English, but in some words it is pronounced like X in English.
There also exists the combination L·L, using an interpunct between letters; it is pronounced like LL in the world "caller" in English. The combination LL without the interpunct is pronounced like the gli in the word "tagliatelle" (a kind of pasta).
How many people speak this language?
It is difficult to say how many people speak Catalan because immigration in the last half of the 20th century has doubled the population of the area in which it is spoken. But the estimates are that about 6.5 million people speak it as their native language and roughly another 6.5 million people speak it as a second language, for a total of about 13 million speakers.
Catalan is considered to have more speakers than any other minority language in Europe.
Where is this language spoken?
The Catalan language is spoken in parts of Spain (Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and La Franja), France (Northern Catalonia), Italy (the little city of Alguer) and the small country of Andorra in the Pyrenees, where it is the only official language.
What is the history of this language?
Catalan is a member of the Romance branch of Indo-European languages, descended largely from Latin. The first documents written in what can be recognized as Catalan rather than vernacular Latin date from about 1000 years ago.
The language was born in Andorra and in the frontier of Spain and France and expanded to the other territories in the Middle Ages.
Except in Andorra, speaking Catalan language has been forbidden three times in history during more than two centuries. Now it can be studied freely in the schools, except in France, where today it is not forbidden but French is the only official language.
Relatively few Catalan authors are well-known among non-Catalan-speaking people. Here are some examples: Ramon Llull was the first in Western Europe to write about science and philosophy in a modern language. Other important writers of the past were Joanot Martorell (Tirant lo Blanc), Ausiàs March and Jacint Verdaguer (poets).
Important authors of the last century include Quim Monzó, Mercè Rodoreda and Manuel de Pedrolo, who have been translated into many languages.
What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?
|Bon dia.||Good morning.|
|Bona tarda.||Good afternoon.|
|Bona nit.||Good night.|
|Com anem?||What's up?|
|Fins després.||See you later.|
|Fins demà.||See you tomorrow.|
|A reveure.||See you soon.|
|Frases útils||Useful phrases|
|Quant és?||How much does it cost?|
|Vull llet.||I want milk.|
|M'agrades.||I like you.|
|T'estimo.||I love you.|
|Em dic Pau.||My name is Pau.|
|Ho sento.||Excuse me./Sorry.|
Are there words in English of Catalan origin?
Yes, but very few, and sometimes it can be difficult to know if they come from Catalan or from another Romance language.
Examples: allioli, aubergine, apricot, barracks, groggy, mayonnaise, mizzen, spinach, tilde...
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
- Catalan language. (2006, August 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:00, August 18, 2006, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Catalan_language&oldid=69939026
- Catalan grammar. (2006, August 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:01, August 18, 2006, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Catalan_grammar&oldid=67613505
- Catalan phonology and orthography. (2006, August 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:03, August 18, 2006, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Catalan_phonology_and_orthography&oldid=69247158
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