Learn Survival Catalan
Wikitravel users have collectively created a free Catalan phrasebook with the goal of making it possible for travelers to "get by" while traveling in areas where Catalan is spoken.
Wikitravel phrasebooks are available in many languages and each one varies in depth and detail. Most of the phrasebooks include a pronunciation guide, a general phrase list, information about dates and numbers, a color list, transportation-related phrases, vocabulary for shopping and phrases for eating and drinking. Some are even more in depth, and all are free!
Catalan (Català), spoken in Catalonia, Land of Valencia (where it is called Valencià), Balearic Islands (where it is sometimes called Mallorquí Menorquí, or Eivissenc in each of the islands), Andorra (where it is the only official language), the south of France (north Catalonia, corresponding more or less to the Pyrénées-Orientales department) and the Sardinian city Alghero, is spoken by about 7 million people, making it the 8th language in the European Union. It is, like Spanish, French or Italian, a Romance language, and people who hear it for first time have the impression that it is a mix between them. However, it is a separate language, as old as any of the other Romance languages, and you will be very welcome if you try to say some words while you are in a Catalan-speaking region.
Like other Romance languages, Catalan nouns have genders. Every noun is either masculine, like home ("man") or feminine, like dona ("woman"). The gender of things may not always seem to follow from the meaning of the word; why a house (casa) is feminine but a car (cotxe) is masculine is just one of the vagaries of the language. Fortunately, the gender of a noun is often indicated by the last letter of the word; -a usually indicates feminine nouns (but not always), while masculine words have no common ending.
Adjectives also have gender and number. Like nouns, -a usually indicates the feminine form. Adding an -s at the end of an adjective makes it plural (there are some variants in -os or -es as well). Adjectives need to match the noun they describe in both gender and number. For example, borratxo "drunk", when modifying les dones ("the women"), makes les dones borratxes.
In this guide, where genders of nouns or adjectives comes up, the "/a" form is used to differentiate. It should be clear from the context when to use the feminine and when to use the masculine form.
Catalan (English pronunciation: /kætəˈlæn/, /ˈkætəlæn/, /ˈkætələn/; Catalan: català [kətəˈɫa] or [kataˈla]) is a Romance language, the national and the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian (valencià [valensiˈa]), as well as in the city of Alghero on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken, with no official recognition, in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the historic Roussillon region of southern France, roughly equivalent to the current département of the Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia).
Although recognized as a regional language of the department Pyrénées-Orientales since 2007, Catalan has no official recognition in France, as French is the only official language of that country, according to the French Constitution of 1958.
Like those of many other Romance languages, the orthography of Catalan is adapted from the Latin alphabet and is largely based on the language’s phonology.
Andorra, Spain, Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Valencia, Alghero, Italy, Sardinia, Aragon, La Franja, Murci, Carche, Roussillon, France, Pyrénées-Orientales
Catalan is in the following language groups:
Indo-European Languages > Italic Languages > Romance Languages > Italo-Western Languages > Western Romance Languages > Gallo-Iberian Languages > Gallo-Romance Languages > Occitano-Romance Languages > Catalan/Valencian Language