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Leisure and Culture

Do you want to parlar in Catalan?

Do you want to parlar in Catalan?
Written by Rachel

Whether it’s a short visit or a long term stay in Barcelona the market leading Barcelona rentals, ShBarcelona, is the ideal place to arrange your stay.

Once you’re in Barcelona you’ll soon realise that everyone can speak Spanish but if you want to get the culture and connect with Catalonia, why not go the extra mile and learn some Catalan.

History

speak-catalan1Historically, the Catalan language has had a tough time; it was completely banned twice for political reasons. Today Catalonia’s regional government recognises its cultural and literary value. Through education and active promotion, Catalan people are encouraged to speak the language in order to keep it alive.

The total number of Catalan speakers is around 9 million which is almost the population of London. Many Catalans feel that Catalonia is a country, and therefore, the language is the most important and cherished aspect of the Catalan identity.

Catalans generally have a reputation for being hard-working, ambitious, and conservative. In contrast to the passionate flamenco of the Andalusians, their national dance is the stately Sardana.

They tend to regard themselves as European rather than Spanish. As a foreigner, Catalan may seem similar to Spanish however, there are some very distinct differences.

Today

A lot of information is written in Catalan, meaning you’ll get a lot more out of the experience if you can read it. Because the region of Catalonia has two official languages, you will see Catalan alongside Spanish on road signs, in shop advertisements and in the media.

Related article: How to feel like a Catalan

In Barcelona, Spanish and Catalan newspapers, books, television channels, art and culture also exist side by side, so that people can choose the language they prefer.

If you’re studying in Catalonia most of your classes will be in Catalan and most of your classmates will be chatting among themselves in Catalan.

Spanish can be a beneficial language to any traveller as it’s widely spoken, however if you’re planning to stay in Barcelona for a long period, learning some Catalan is the next step up the ladder. Many places won’t hire you unless you can speak Catalan. Attempting to order your breakfast in a local Catalan restaurant would be praised upon by the waiter if you tried to order in Catalan.

Start Learning

Learn Catalan If you want to try and truly integrate with the Catalan lifestyle, traditions, food and culture then learning a few words and phrases in Catalan will go a long way with the locals. 

If you feel inspired to start learning Catalan, the Catalan government offer free classes. Sign up here.

Don’t have time for classes?

Para.cat offer a self-managed virtual learning space for first time Catalan learners and it’s free to sign up.

Comença a parlar avui.

About the author

Rachel

Rachel is a part-time writer who works as an English teacher in Barcelona.

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