Catalan is a Romance language that belongs to the Indo-European language family. Like Spanish, it originated in the northeast area of the Iberian Peninsula (North of Catalonia and Andorra at the present time), as a result of the evolution of oral Latin or vulgar Latin. As time passed by, it spread and settled in the areas of Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, La Franja (Aragon), and Alghero (Sardinia). 

Therefore, nowadays, it is a language that also has a great dialectal variety depending on the territory in which it is spoken, which affects phonetic aspects, vocabulary, and grammar.

Like other European languages, Catalan uses the Latin alphabet and it shows a high degree of inflection since it has an inflection for gender and number in nouns and adjectives, as well as verbal inflection that contains mode, tense, voice, person, and number.

catalan books

The importance of Catalan

Catalan is increasingly reaching the international level, and one example of this is the number of countries in which different universities offer Catalan classes as part of the academic curriculum. Some of the countries that include Catalan within their academic curriculum are Germany, Austria, the US,  France, Italy, Japan, Poland, and the UK. It is important to mention the Institut Ramon Llull, an institution whose aim is to promote the Catalan language in the field of teaching, translation, and culture.

In addition, there are organizations, such as the Consell General de Cambres de Catalunya, Consell de Cambres Oficials de Comerç, Indústria i Navegació de la Comunitat Valenciana or ASCAME, through which companies find advisory services, collaborative instruments, internationalization support, etc.

Finally, we must not forget the literary works historically produced in this language such as “Poesía” by Ausiàs March or Tirant lo Blanchby Joanot Martorell, as well as more contemporary authors such as Mercè Rodoreda, Pere Calders, Muriel Villanueva, Quim Monzó and Milena Busquets. Nor can we forget series whose original language is Catalan and which have had an impact beyond their regional borders, such as “The Red Band Society” or “Merlí”.

reading catalan

Places where Catalan is spoken

Catalan became one of the co-official languages of Spain thanks to the 1978 Constitution, which recognized linguistic plurality. Due to this decision, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands recognized Catalan as one of their official languages, just as the Valencian Community established Valencian as one of its official languages. Besides this, it is spoken in the regions of La Franja, el Carche (Murcia), and in the Italian city of Alghero. It is also the official language of Andorra. Moreover, Catalan-speaking communities exist around the world, as is the case in Argentina, which has around 200,000 speakers. This means that there are currently 13 million speakers worldwide.

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