Vols parlar català? (Do you want to speak Catalan?) One of the Romance languages, descended from the Latin of the Roman Empire, Catalan has strong similarities with both Spanish to the west, and Occitan to the north.
After a period of decline, Catalan has re-emerged as one of the official languages of the autonomous region of Catalunya (Catalonia) in Spain, whose capital is Barcelona. It is also spoken in Valencia (where the language is called Valencian), the Balearic Islands (where it is sometimes called Mallorquí Menorquí, or Eivissenc), Andorra (where it is the only official language), the south of France, and the Sardinian city Alghero. Catalan has over 11 million native speakers.
Catalan Fun Facts
In Francoist Spain (1939-1975), Spanish was widely promoted and public speaking of Catalan was discouraged and repressed. Following the death of Franco in 1975 and the restoration of democracy in Spain, the use of Catalan increased significantly.
Pallela, the celebrated seafood and saffron flavored rice dish, derives its name from Valencian Catalan via the Old French paele, and ultimately from Latin patella, meaning small dish.
Hallucinatory architecture: Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926), the Spanish Catalan architect, is renowned for his organic and anarchic constructions in the Catalan capital of Barcelona.
Catalan and the Livemocha Community
- Spain has almost 3 times more Livemocha members learning Catalan than any other country. The United States, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, however, also have significant numbers of Catalan learners on Livemocha
- The top 5 countries with Catalan-speaking members on Livemocha are Spain, the United States, Brazil, Andorra, and, surprisingly, Cambodia
- There are almost the exact same number of Catalan speakers and learning on Livemocha