Catalan Language Facts

Interesting Catalan Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning a language it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Catalan language facts:

1. Catalan is a Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin

Widely used across the Mediterranean world during the Middle Ages, Catalan declined when Spain was unified in 1479 onward. Catalan saw a revival in the 19th century, before being banned during most of the 20th century by the Francoist dictatorship.

2. Catalan is spoken by an estimated 9 million people

Catalan is mainly spoken in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, the Valencian Community, and in the French department of the Pyrenees-Orientales. Catalan is an official language in Andorra, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community and a co-official language in the Italian city of Alghero in Sardinia.

3. Catalan has been banned and repressed several times during its long history

Catalan was banned for the first time in 1714 after the Catalans’ defeat in the War of Spanish Succession. The Spanish language was used as a tool to unify Spain and the use of Catalan declined as a result. After the renaixena movement which saw the revival of Catalan in the 19th century, Catalan was banned once again in the 20th century. From 1940 to 1978, Catalan was strictly banned by Franco. Despite this, Catalan managed to survive and is today spoken by over 9 million people.

4. Catalan has six dialects, from East to West

Catalan has the following dialects:

  • Alguerese, spoken in Alghero;
  • Balearic, spoken in the Balearic Islands;
  • Rousellonese, spoken in Roussillon, a region in southern France;
  • Central Catalan, spoken mainly in Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona;
  • Northwestern Catalan, spoken in Lleida, in parts of Tarragona and La Franja;
  • Valencian, spoken in Valencia.

5. Catalan shares similarities with other languages

Catalan is a Gallo-Romance and is very similar to Occitan. It has more in common with French and Italian than with Spanish.

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Private Tuition

Cactus offers a range of options for Catalan private tuition. You can choose one-to-one classes if you prefer online and tailored Catalan lessons that suit your schedule and location. For more information please visit our private tuition and corporate language training division.

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