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How to Learn Catalan

how to learn catalan - hand with pen and paper
Written by Daniella

The Catalan language is a Roman language that is primarily spoken in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Comunidad Valenciana. You may also encounter it in other territories outside of Spain, like France and Italy. If you’re interested in how to learn Catalan, read today’s article by ShBarcelona.

You will take a valuable integration step and not only enrich your life, but also come across more opportunities! Go through our guide with several options on learning Catalan: from social meet-ups to official academies and from handy apps to practical public centers. Don’t forget to read our basic language guide with 8 useful phrases. Let’s start communicating in Catalan today!

4 Perfect ways to learn Catalan

Meet-ups: learning in a community

One of the most enjoyable and effective ways to learn the Catalan language is joining meet-ups or any other type of group gatherings. The occasion brings like-minded people together, and you will be able to practice the language in a fun and relaxed setting.

You can find meet-ups in your own area and online by searching on digital platforms and social media groups. The events or meetings often include having conversations, doing board games, visiting cultural events. Thus, immersing yourself in the Catalan language ánd culture.

Academy for formal training

If you prefer being taught the Catalan language with more structure and with a more formal approach, then a language academy will suit you perfectly. These institutions offer several courses, designed for different language proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced.

You will profit from having a qualified teacher taking you through all the elements of the Catalan grammar, but also focusing on speaking and listening exercises.  You can find an academy near you by inquiring at your local education center, or search for one online.

how to learn catalan? an academy with students at a table and laptops

Learning Catalan (Photo via Unsplash)

Apps: learn Catalan at your own pace

Mobile apps are a popular tool for learning languages in this digital age. Apps like Duolingo, Memrise and Babbel offer the option to learn Catalan, and you can do it all in your own pace.

Besides progress tracking, apps also offer pronunciation exercises. You can even try some of the interactive lessons that are included. Best feature? You can learn anytime and anywhere. Even if you’re busy or stuck in traffic, apps are your way to go.

Public centers: affordable language courses

There are many public centers in Barcelona and chances are there is one near your location too. They offer Catalan courses at affordable prices, and sometimes, if you’re really lucky, they are absolutely free! Most of the courses are taught by professionals. And they are meant for you to reach the basic language level.

If you want to check out available courses in your area, visit your local education services to receive more information. You can also check locations and availability online.

Different learning levels

Learning Catalan is just like learning any other language, so that means learning in different levels of proficiency. These levels generally follow the CEFR (the Common European Framework for Reference of Languages) and range from A1 (beginner) to C2 (advanced).

In order to select the right course for you, it’s important to determine your current language proficiency level. If you are an absolute beginner, you’d better look for courses that will get you to an A1 or A2 level. If you have more knowledge, you can obviously start at a higher level.

taking a Catalan language exam with pencil and paper

Level exam (Photo via Unsplash)

Basic language guide: 8 useful Catalan phrases

If you are ready for your a language adventure, you cannot go without some of the most useful but basic phrases that will help you communicate in everyday situations. The Catalan language is no different than any other language, and so we’ve collected a couple of fundamental phrases in this guide. They will prove to be extremely helpful when exploring Catalonia.

The next phrases will not only help you overcome language barriers, but will also provide you with a better Catalan experience while showing your respect for local culture. (It’s translated from Spanish into Catalan, followed by a translation and explanation in English.)

  • Hola, ¿cómo estás? – Hola, com estàs? – Hello, how are you? – This is a friendly way of greeting people and shows interest in a person. This simple phrase can open many doors and is just a polite expression when opening a conversation in Catalan.
  • ¿Puedes ayudarme, por favor? – Em pots ajudar, si us plau? – Can you help me, please? –  If you need directions or other assistance, this phrase is handy. By adding ‘si us plau’ you will show more politeness and this can make a huge difference.
  • Me gustaría una mesa para dos, por favor. – Voldria una taula per a dos, si us plau. – I would like a table for two, please. – When visiting a restaurant or cafe, this phrase will help you to make sure get your place to taste all the lovely Catalan food.
  • ¿Dónde está el baño? – On és el lavabo? – Where is the bathroom? – This question is essential in any situation and will prevent awkward moments form happening, while enjoying your exploration of the city.
  • Quiero comprar esto. – Vull comprar això. – I would like to buy this.Any shopper needs this phrase, and it will indicate what you want to buy when reaching the counter, making it easier to communicate with vendors.
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta? – Quant costa? – How much is this? – This is a crucial question when shopping for products or services. Knowing a price will help you decide buying it or not and managing your budget.
  • ¡Gracias! – Gràcies! – Thank you! – This is a way to express gratitude, which is fundamental in any language. Saying thank you in Catalan is a simple, yet effective way to show appreciaction.
  • ¿Dónde puedo encontrar transporte público? – On puc trobar transport públic? – Where can I find public transport?Getting around the city can sometimes be a challenge, but this question will help you locate metro stations, bus stops and other means of public transport.

Learning Catalan will be an enriching experience that you will never forget. It will open doors to the rich and fascinating Catalan culture. Whether through meet-ups, academies, apps or public centers, you will have plenty of options to begin your adventurous journey towards fluency in Catalan.

Remember that practice makes perfect! So immersing yourself in the language is key to success. So go ahead and start learning the Catalan language. Enjoy all of the benefits that will automatically result from it!

About the author


Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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