Catalan - interesting facts


The Catalan language, a Romance language that originated in the Middle Ages, is rich in history and cultural significance. It is the official language of the Catalonia region in Spain, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian. It is also spoken in parts of France, Andorra, and Italy's Sardinia. An estimated 9-10 million people worldwide speak Catalan.

Catalan shares many traits with its neighbouring Romance languages, Spanish, French, and Italian, but it remains a distinct language with its unique complexities and characteristics. Many people mistakenly believe Catalan is merely a dialect of Spanish, but this isn't the case. Despite being under the strong influence of Spanish due to historical and political reasons, Catalan maintains its grammatical system, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

Catalan's emergence as a literary language dates back to the Middle Ages, with the epic poem "Cançó de Santa Fe" and the renowned "Four Great Chronicles." However, the history of the language has been characterized by peaks and troughs, reflecting Catalonia's shifting political fortunes. A fascinating period is the "Decadència" in the 16th century when Catalan experienced a decline due to the unification of Spain and Castilian Spanish becoming the dominant language.

This dark age was followed by a cultural renaissance known as the "Renaixença" in the 19th century. Catalan was revived and promoted as a language of culture and literature. However, during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship from 1939-1975, Catalan was brutally suppressed like other regional languages in Spain. Post-Franco, there has been a significant revival, with Catalan used in the public sphere, media, and education.

Interestingly, one unique aspect of Catalan is its system of seven stressed vowel sounds, which is rare among Romance languages. Unlike Spanish, Catalan has vowel sounds closer to English, like the 'uh' sound in 'nut'.

Another fun fact: Catalan has a single verb, "anar," that expresses 'go' and 'be'. For example, "vaig a comprar" translates to "I go to buy", but it also means "I'm going to buy".

The influence of Catalan in the culinary world is also significant. Terms like 'paella', 'crema Catalana, and 'tapas' have made their way into global culinary vocabulary, showcasing the gastronomical delights of the region.

As of 2010, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recognizes .cat as a Catalan language and culture domain, the only language-specific domain granted based on culture and language, not a geographic location.

A language of resilience and beauty, Catalan is a cultural emblem for millions of people. Its revival and current vibrancy exemplify the determination of the Catalans to preserve their linguistic heritage. The fact that Catalan has withstood historical adversities and continues to adapt to modern needs underscores its critical role in shaping the identity of the regions it belongs to. Today, Catalan is not just a language; it’s a testament to cultural resilience, a carrier of tradition, and a medium of contemporary expression.


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Catalan as a Romance language

The Catalan language is one of the Romance languages, and its origins date back to the Middle Ages. This language has developed in Catalonia and other regions of Spain, such as the Balearic Islands or Valencia. The Catalan language has been enriched with many words and expressions of Arabic, French or Italian origin. Catalan is currently one of the official languages of Spain and is spoken by millions of people around the world.

One of the official languages of Spain

Catalan is one of the official languages of Spain, alongside Spanish, Galician and Basque. Catalan is the official language used in public administration in Catalonia, an autonomous region of Spain. Today, this language is successfully taught and promoted in other European countries and Latin America.

The language of more than 10 million people

The Catalan language is spoken by more than 10 million people worldwide. This language is spoken in Catalonia and other regions of Spain, such as the Balearic Islands or Valencia. Apart from Spain, Catalan is spoken in Andorra, France and Italy. In recent years, more and more people are choosing to learn Catalan because of its rich culture and history.

Literature and culture

The Catalan language has a rich literary and cultural tradition, which includes such figures as Joanot Martorell, Ausiàs March or Jacint Verdaguer. The Catalan language is also used in films, theater, music and art. In Catalonia, numerous festivals and cultural events are organized, at which Catalan culture is promoted. In this way, this language is gaining popularity and is becoming more and more recognizable in the world.

Multiple dialects

The Catalan language has many dialects that differ in accent, vocabulary and grammar. The most important dialects are Balearic, Central, Northwest and Eastern. Despite the differences, Catalan is still considered a single language, allowing for free communication between users of different dialects.

The celebration of Catalan: Diada de Catalunya

The Diada de Catalunya is a holiday celebrated annually on September 11, commemorating the fall of Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession in 1714. This holiday is an opportunity to honour the culture, language and history of Catalonia, as well as its political manifestations. The Diada de Catalunya celebrations are a time of joy but also a time of reflection on the past and future of the region.

Catalan dictionary

The Catalan language has its official dictionaries and grammar, recognized by the Real Acadèmia de Bones Lletres, a Catalan language academy. These dictionaries contain about 100,000 words, including many words of a technical and scientific nature. Catalan grammar is relatively simpler than Spanish or French, making learning the language easier.

An important element of Catalan identity

Catalan is not only a language spoken by the people of Catalonia on a daily basis, but also an important element of Catalan identity. For many Catalans, this language is an expression of their culture, history and traditions, and its maintenance and development is very important to them. Therefore, despite the difficulties of preserving and developing the language, Catalans try to pass it on to the next generations and cultivate its importance in the social and political life of the region.


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Your Essential Catalan


wyrażenie polskie

wyrażenie katalońskie

yes tak (tac)
no no (no)
please si us plau (si us plau)
thank you gràcies (gràcies)
I'm sorry ho sento (ho sento)
good morning bon dia (bon dia)
good evening bona nit (bona nit)
goodbye bona nit (bona nit)
good night adeu (adeu)
hi hola (ola)
how are you?  com estàs? (com estàs)
well gràcies, bé. (gràcies, bé)
My name is... Em dic... (em dik)
I don't understand no entenc (no entenc)



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