CATALAN LANGUAGE

Catalan covers an area of 68,000 square km with a population of 10 million. It has 7,353,000 speakers or more in the world distributed as follows:

  • 4,000,000 mother tongue speakers in Spain (1994 La Generalitat de Catalunya );
  • 260,000 in France;
  • 31,000 in Andorra (1990);
  • 40,000 in USA (1961);
  • 22,000 in Alghero.

It is estimated that some other 3,000,000 people in Spain speak Catalan as their second or third language, with 2 million more understanding but not being able to speak it.

The official language of the kingdom of Aragon between 1137 and 1749, Catalan is now co-official (with Spanish) in Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Isles. It is the only official language in the state of Andorra.

Catalan is taught as a separate subject and is used as the teaching medium at all levels of the education system in Catalonia. Children whose mother tongue is not Catalan learn the language at school in the so-called immersion programs. The Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan autonomous government) enjoys full control over the elementary schools, the secondary schools, and the nine universities in the region.

The situation in Valencia and the Balearic Islands is different. Since democracy was restored in 1977, the Balearics have been ruled by pan-Spanish (i.e., non-nationalistic) parties, which, while not opposed to introducing the Catalan language at school, are not particularly eager to do so at a fast pace either. As for Valencia, the linguistic conscience there is weaker than in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Although the Valencian government controls the education, its efforts aimed at increasing the use of Catalan at school, as well as public support for such initiatives, have both been thoroughly inadequate. In addition to this, some Valencian groups are engaged in challenging the unity of the Catalan language, as part of an integral campaign of anti-Catalanism.

LEARN CATALAN ONLINE

CATALAN LANGUAGE RESOURCES ON THE WEB

A Brief Catalan Tutorial will introduce you to some basics of the Catalan language. Here, among other things, you will find a pronunciation guide and verb tables

 

Written Catalan

There are hundreds of thousands of web pages written in Catalan. To find them, begin at one of these links:

  • Vilaweb , a very thorough collection of Internet links arranged by categories.
  • Catalan Resources

    I have to recommend visiting:

• AVUI Online daily newspaper in Catalan available in either graphic or text form. Apart from the close friends I have made via the Internet, I would say that being able to read the AVUI each day is the single greatest gift the Internet has given me. Avui is the Catalan word for today.

 

Spoken Catalan

In addition to live radio on the Internet there are also many Web pages that contain sound files in spoken Catalan. I will attempt to collect links to them here.

  • Catalunya Radio Broadcasting live on the Internet
  • A University Phrase Book Many, many Catalan words and phrases in Real Audio format.
  • Els Segadors National anthem of Catalonia
  • Els Segadors Traditional version