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Catalan (;Laurie Bauer, 2007, ''The Linguistics Student's Handbook'', Edinburgh
/ref>
autonym Autonym may refer to: * Autonym, the name used by a person to refer to themselves or their language; see Exonym and endonym * Autonym (botany), an automatically created infrageneric or infraspecific name See also

* Nominotypical subspecies, in ...
: ; ), known in the
Valencian Community The Valencian Community ( ca-valencia, Comunitat Valenciana, es, Comunidad Valenciana), or simply Valencia ( ca-valencia, València, link=no, es, Valencia, link=no), is an of . It is the fourth most populous Spanish after , and with more t ...
and
Carche El Carche ( ) is a mountainous, sparsely populated area in the Region of Murcia The Region of Murcia (, ; es, Región de Murcia ), is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peni ...
as
Valencian Valencian () or Valencian language () is the official, historical and traditional name used in the Valencian Community The Valencian Community ( ca-valencia, Comunitat Valenciana, es, Comunidad Valenciana), or simply Valencia ( ca-valencia, ...
, is a
Western Romance language 270px, The Romance language family (simplified) Western Romance languages are one of the two subdivisions of a proposed subdivision of the Romance languages The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the ...
derived from
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, ...
. It is the official language of
Andorra , image_flag = Flag of Andorra.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Andorra.svg , symbol_type = Coat of arms , national_motto = la, Virtus Unita Fortior, label=none (Latin Latin (, or , ) is ...

Andorra
, and a co-official language of three
autonomous communities In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Spanish constitution of 1978, with the ...

autonomous communities
in eastern
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
:
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, nationality'' by its Statute o ...

Catalonia
, the Valencian Community and the
Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea contai ...

Balearic Islands
. It also has semi-official status in the
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenance of local roads and public works. It is headed by a ( or ''sindaca'') ass ...
of
Alghero Alghero (), also known in the local as L'Alguer (; sc, S'Alighèra; sdc, L'Aliera), is a town of about 45,000 inhabitants in the insular in northwestern , next to the . Part of its population descends from conquerors from the end of the Midd ...

Alghero
. It is also spoken in the
Pyrénées-Orientales Pyrénées-Orientales (; ca, Pirineus Orientals ; oc, Pirenèus Orientals; "Eastern Pyrenees"), also known as Northern Catalonia Northern Catalonia ( ca, Catalunya (del) Nord ; french: Catalogne (du) Nord ; oc, Catalonha (del) Nòrd), Frenc ...
department of
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
and in two further areas in eastern Spain: the eastern strip of
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_n ...

Aragon
and the Carche area in the
Region of Murcia The Region of Murcia (, ; es, Región de Murcia ), is an of Spain located in the southeast part of the , on the coast. The region is centered on a historical region of the same name in what is now southeastern Spain. It is heir to the ancien ...
. The Catalan/Valencian-speaking territories are often called the or "Catalan Countries". The language evolved from Vulgar Latin in the Middle Ages around the eastern
Pyrenees french: Pyrénées ca, Pirineus an, Pirineus oc, Pirenèus eu, Pirinioak, Auñamendiak , etymology=Named for Pyrene Pyrene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) consisting of four fused benzene rings, resulting in a flat aromatic system. ...

Pyrenees
. Nineteenth-century Spain saw a Catalan literary revival, culminating in the early 1900s.


Etymology and pronunciation

The word ''Catalan'' is derived from the territorial name of
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, nationality'' by its Statute o ...

Catalonia
, itself of disputed etymology. The main theory suggests that (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...
''Gathia Launia'') derives from the name ''Gothia'' or ''Gauthia'' ("Land of the Goths"), since the origins of the Catalan counts, lords and people were found in the March of Gothia, whence ''Gothland'' > ''Gothlandia'' > ''Gothalania'' > ''Catalonia'' theoretically derived. In
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
, the term referring to a person first appears in the mid 14th century as ''Catelaner'', followed in the 15th century as ''Catellain'' (from ). It is attested a language name since at least 1652. The word ''Catalan'' can be pronounced in English as , or . The
endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
is pronounced in the Eastern Catalan dialects, and in the Western dialects. In the
Valencian Community The Valencian Community ( ca-valencia, Comunitat Valenciana, es, Comunidad Valenciana), or simply Valencia ( ca-valencia, València, link=no, es, Valencia, link=no), is an of . It is the fourth most populous Spanish after , and with more t ...
and
Carche El Carche ( ) is a mountainous, sparsely populated area in the Region of Murcia The Region of Murcia (, ; es, Región de Murcia ), is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peni ...
, the term is frequently used instead. Thus, the name "Valencian", although often employed for referring to the varieties specific to the Valencian Community and Carche, is also used by Valencians as a name for the language as a whole, synonymous with "Catalan". Both uses of the term have their respective entries in the dictionaries by the The ''Valencian Normative Dictionary'' of the Valencian Academy of the Language states that Valencian is a "Romance language spoken in the Valencian Community, as well as in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, the French department of the , the Principality of Andorra, the eastern flank of Aragon and the Sardinian town of Alghero (unique in Italy), where it receives the name of 'Catalan'." and the
IECIEC may refer to: Businesses and organisations * International Electrotechnical Commission The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC; in French: ''Commission électrotechnique internationale'') is an international standards organizati ...
.The ''Catalan Language Dictionary'' of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans states in the sixth definition of "Valencian" that, in the Valencian Community, it is equivalent to Catalan language. See also status of Valencian below.


History


Middle Ages

By the 9th century, Catalan had evolved from
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, ...
on both sides of the eastern end of the
Pyrenees french: Pyrénées ca, Pirineus an, Pirineus oc, Pirenèus eu, Pirinioak, Auñamendiak , etymology=Named for Pyrene Pyrene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) consisting of four fused benzene rings, resulting in a flat aromatic system. ...

Pyrenees
, as well as the territories of the Roman province of
Hispania Tarraconensis Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic ...
to the south. From the 8th century onwards the Catalan counts extended their territory southwards and westwards at the expense of the
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pron ...
, bringing their language with them. This process was given definitive impetus with the separation of the
County of Barcelona The County of Barcelona ( la, Comitatus Barcinonensis, ca, Comtat de Barcelona) was originally a frontier region under the rule of the Carolingian dynasty The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Caroling ...
from the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
in 988. In the 11th century, documents written in
macaronic Latin Dog Latin, also known as Cod Latin, macaronic Latin, mock Latin, or Canis Latinicus, refers to the creation of a phrase or jargon in imitation of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch ...
begin to show Catalan elements, with texts written almost completely in Romance appearing by 1080. Old Catalan shared many features with
Gallo-Romance The Gallo-Romance branch of the Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a rang ...

Gallo-Romance
, diverging from
Old Occitan Old Occitan ( Modern Occitan: ', ca, occità antic), also called Old Provençal, was the earliest form of the Occitano-Romance languages The Occitano-Romance or Gallo-Narbonnese ( ca, llengües occitanoromàniques, oc, lengas occitanoromanicas, ...
between the 11th and 14th centuries. During the 11th and 12th centuries the Catalan rulers expanded up to north of the
Ebro river , name_etymology = , image = Zaragoza shel.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = The Ebro River in Zaragoza , map = SpainEbroBasin.png , map_size = , map_caption = The Ebro r ...

Ebro river
, and in the 13th century they conquered the
Land of Valencia , native_name = , official_name = , settlement_type = Autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, co ...
and the
Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea contai ...

Balearic Islands
. The city of
Alghero Alghero (), also known in the local as L'Alguer (; sc, S'Alighèra; sdc, L'Aliera), is a town of about 45,000 inhabitants in the insular in northwestern , next to the . Part of its population descends from conquerors from the end of the Midd ...

Alghero
in
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna ; sc, Sardigna or ) is the island in the , after , and one of the of Italy. It is located west of the , north of and immediately south of the French island of . It is one of the five Italian regions with some ...

Sardinia
was repopulated with Catalan speakers in the 14th century. The language also reached
Murcia Murcia (, , ) is a city in south-eastern Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...

Murcia
, which became Spanish-speaking in the 15th century. In the
Low Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages i ...
, Catalan went through a golden age, reaching a peak of maturity and cultural richness. Examples include the work of Majorcan polymath
Ramon Llull Ramon Llull (; c. 1232 – c. 1315/16) was a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, ...

Ramon Llull
(1232–1315), the Four Great Chronicles (13th–14th centuries), and the Valencian school of poetry culminating in Ausiàs March (1397–1459). By the 15th century, the city of
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_name ...

Valencia
had become the sociocultural center of the
Crown of Aragon The Crown of Aragon (; an, Corona d'Aragón; ca, Corona d'Aragó; es, Corona de Aragón)' ()' (, , )' ()' (). was a composite monarchy, also nowadays referred to as a confederation of individual polity, polities or monarchy, kingdoms ruled by ...
, and Catalan was present all over the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
Mediterranean
world. During this period, the Royal Chancery propagated a highly standardized language. Catalan was widely used as an official language in Sicily until the 15th century, and in Sardinia until the 17th. During this period, the language was what Costa Carreras terms "one of the 'great languages' of medieval Europe".
Martorell Martorell () is a municipality that forms part of the Baix Llobregat Comarques of Catalonia, comarca, in Catalonia, Spain, primarily known for its medieval Pont del Diable, Devil's bridge. It lies at the confluence of the Llobregat and Anoia River ...
's outstanding novel of chivalry '''' (1490) shows a transition from Medieval to Renaissance values, something that can also be seen in Metge's work. The first book produced with movable type in the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region o ...

Iberian Peninsula
was printed in Catalan.


Start of the modern era

With the union of the crowns of Castille and
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_n ...
in 1479, the use of
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
gradually became more prestigious and marked the start of the decline of Catalan. Starting in the 16th century, Catalan literature came under the influence of Spanish, and the urban and literary classes became
bilingual in Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. Seattle is the largest city in both the U.S. sta ...
. With the
Treaty of the Pyrenees The Treaty of the Pyrenees (french: Traité des Pyrénées, es, Tratado de los Pirineos, ca, Tractat dels Pirineus) was signed on 7 November 1659, and ended the 1635 to 1659 Franco-Spanish war. Negotiations were conducted on Pheasant Island ...
(1659),
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
ceded the northern part of Catalonia to
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
, and soon thereafter the local Catalan varieties came under the influence of , which in 1700 became the sole official language of the region. Shortly after the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
(1789), the
French First Republic In the history of France The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanit ...
prohibited official use of, and enacted discriminating policies against, the regional languages of France, such as Catalan, Alsatian,
Breton Breton most often refers to: *anything associated with Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part ...
,
Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolve ...
,
Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, 1991, p. 321. (Calling it " ...
, and
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to th ...
.


France: 19th to 20th centuries

Following the French establishment of the colony of
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers Algiers ( ; ar, الجزائر; Berber language, Berber: ''Dzayer;'' French language, French'': Alger'') is ...
from 1830 onward, it received several waves of Catalan-speaking settlers. People from the Spanish Alacant province settled around
Oran Oran ( ar, وَهران, Wahrān) is a major coastal city located in the north-west of . It is considered the second most important city of after the capital , due to its population, commercial, industrial, and cultural importance. It is from A ...

Oran
, whereas
Algiers Algiers ( ; ar, الجزائر; : ''Dzayer;'' '': Alger'') is the and largest city of . The city's population at the 2008 Census was 2,988,145Census 14 April 2008: Office National des Statistiques de l'Algérie (web). and in 2011 was estimat ...

Algiers
received immigration from
Northern Catalonia Northern Catalonia, ; french: Catalogne (du) Nord ; oc, Catalonha (del) Nòrd; es, Cataluña (del) Norte) French Catalonia or Roussillon File:wine600.jpg, 200px, Grape pickers near Maury, Pyrénées-Orientales, Maury Roussillon ( , , ...
and
Menorca Menorca or Minorca (from la, Insula Minor, , smaller island, later ''Minorica'') is one of the Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), some ...

Menorca
. Their speech was known as ''patuet''. By 1911, the number of Catalan speakers was around 100,000. After the declaration of independence of Algeria in 1962, almost all the Catalan speakers fled to Northern Catalonia (as ''
Pieds-Noirs The ''Pieds-Noirs'' (, "Blackfeet"), singular ''Pied-Noir'', are the people of French and other European origin who were born in Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = ...
'') or Alacant. The government of France formally recognizes only French as an official language. Nevertheless, on 10 December 2007, the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales officially recognized Catalan as one of the languages of the department and seeks to further promote it in public life and education.


Spain: 18th to 20th centuries

The decline of Catalan continued in the 16th and 17th centuries. The defeat of the pro-Habsburg coalition in the
War of Spanish Succession The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was an early-18th-century European war, triggered by the death in November 1700 of the childless Charles II of Spain. It established the principle that dynastic rights were secondary to maintain ...
(1714) initiated a series of
laws Law is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as oppose ...
which, among other centralizing measures, imposed the use of
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
in legal documentation all over Spain. However, the 19th century saw a Catalan literary revival (), which has continued up to the present day. This period starts with 's ''Ode to the Homeland'' (1833); followed in the second half of the 19th century, and the early 20th by the work of (poetry), Oller (realist novel), and Guimerà (drama). In the 19th century, the region of
Carche El Carche ( ) is a mountainous, sparsely populated area in the Region of Murcia The Region of Murcia (, ; es, Región de Murcia ), is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peni ...
, in the
province of Murcia The Region of Murcia (, ; es, Región de Murcia ), is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast. The region is centere ...
was repopulated with Catalan speakers from the
Land of Valencia , native_name = , official_name = , settlement_type = Autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, co ...
. The
Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly known as the Second Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, Segunda República Española), was the form of government in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on 14 April ...
(1931–1939) saw a brief period of tolerance, with most restrictions against Catalan being lifted. Despite orthographic standardization in 1913 and the official status of the language during the Second Spanish Republic, the
Francoist dictatorship Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista), known in Spain as the Francoist dictatorship ( es, dictadura franquista), was the period of history of Spain, Spanish history between 1936 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain with the title ''Ca ...
banned the use of Catalan in schools and in the public administration between 1939 and 1975. desire for a homogenous Spanish population resonated with some Catalonians in favor of his regime, primarily members of the upper class, who began to reject the use of Catalan. In addition to the loss of prestige for Catalan and the prohibition of its use in schools, migration during the 1950s into Catalonia from other parts of Spain also contributed to the diminished use of the language. These migrants were often unaware of the existence of Catalan, and thus felt no need to learn or use it. Despite all of these hardships, Catalan continued to be used privately within households, and was able to survive after the end of Franco's dictatorship.


Present day

Since the
Spanish transition to democracy The Spanish transition to democracy, known in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...
(1975–1982), Catalan has been institutionalized as an official language, language of education, and language of mass media; all of which have contributed to its increased prestige. In
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, nationality'' by its Statute o ...

Catalonia
, there is an unparalleled large
bilingual in Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. Seattle is the largest city in both the U.S. sta ...
European non-state linguistic community. The teaching of Catalan is mandatory in all schools, but it is possible to use Spanish for studying in the public education system of Catalonia in two situations – if the teacher assigned to a class chooses to use Spanish, or during the learning process of one or more recently arrived immigrant students. There is also some intergenerational shift towards Catalan. According to the
Statistical Institute of Catalonia The Statistical Institute of Catalonia (in Catalan: Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya, usually referred to by its acronym IDESCAT) is the official body responsible for collecting and publishing statistics in the autonomous community of Catalonia, ...
, in 2013 the Catalan language is the second most commonly used in Catalonia, after
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, as a native or self-defining language: 7% of the population self-identifies with both Catalan and Spanish equally, 36.4% with Catalan and 47.5% only Spanish. In 2003 the same studies concluded no language preference for self-identification within the population above 15 years old: 5% self-identified with both languages, 44.3% with Catalan and 47.5 with Spanish. To promote use of Catalan, the
Generalitat de Catalunya The ''Generalitat de Catalunya'' (; in Aranese: ''Generalitat de Catalonha''; in Spanish: ''Generalidad de Cataluña''), or Government of Catalonia, is the institutional system by which Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Arane ...
(Catalonia's official Autonomous government) spends part of its annual budget on the promotion of the use of Catalan in Catalonia and in other territories, with entities such as (''Consortium for Linguistic Normalization'') In
Andorra , image_flag = Flag of Andorra.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Andorra.svg , symbol_type = Coat of arms , national_motto = la, Virtus Unita Fortior, label=none (Latin Latin (, or , ) is ...

Andorra
, Catalan has always been the sole official language. Since the promulgation of the 1993 constitution, several policies favoring Catalan have been enforced, like Catalan medium education. On the other hand, there are several
language shift Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community Arnold Lakhovsky, ''The Conversation'' (circa 1935) A speech community is a group of people who share a s ...
processes currently taking place. In the
Northern Catalonia Northern Catalonia, ; french: Catalogne (du) Nord ; oc, Catalonha (del) Nòrd; es, Cataluña (del) Norte) French Catalonia or Roussillon File:wine600.jpg, 200px, Grape pickers near Maury, Pyrénées-Orientales, Maury Roussillon ( , , ...
area of France, Catalan has followed the same trend as the other minority languages of France, with most of its native speakers being 60 or older (as of 2004). Catalan is studied as a foreign language by 30% of the primary education students, and by 15% of the secondary. The cultural association promotes a network of community-run schools engaged in Catalan language immersion programs. In
Alicante province Alicante (; ca-valencia, Alacant, italics=no ) is a Provinces of Spain, province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. It is the second most populated Valencian province. Likewise, the second and third biggest cities ...
, Catalan is being replaced by
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and in
Alghero Alghero (), also known in the local as L'Alguer (; sc, S'Alighèra; sdc, L'Aliera), is a town of about 45,000 inhabitants in the insular in northwestern , next to the . Part of its population descends from conquerors from the end of the Midd ...

Alghero
by
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
. There is also well ingrained
diglossia In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
in the
Valencian Community The Valencian Community ( ca-valencia, Comunitat Valenciana, es, Comunidad Valenciana), or simply Valencia ( ca-valencia, València, link=no, es, Valencia, link=no), is an of . It is the fourth most populous Spanish after , and with more t ...
,
Ibiza Ibiza ( ca, Eivissa, #Names, see below) is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea off the eastern coast of Spain. It is from the city of Valencia. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous communities of Spain, autono ...

Ibiza
, and to a lesser extent, in the rest of the
Balearic islands The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea contai ...

Balearic islands
.


Classification and relationship with other Romance languages

One classification of Catalan is given by Pèire Bèc: *
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
**
Italo-Western languages Italo-Western is, in some classifications, the largest branch of the Romance languages The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also k ...
***
Western Romance languages 270px, The Romance language family (simplified) Western Romance languages are one of the two subdivisions of a proposed subdivision of the Romance languages The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the ...
**** Gallo-Iberian languages *****
Gallo-Romance languages The Gallo-Romance branch of the Romance languages The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin ...

Gallo-Romance languages
(alternatively classified as
Iberian Romance language The Iberian Romance or Ibero-Romance is an areal_feature, areal grouping of Romance languages that developed on the Iberian Peninsula, an area consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra, and in southern France which are today ...
) ******
Occitano-Romance languages The Occitano-Romance or Gallo-Narbonnese ( ca, llengües occitanoromàniques, oc, lengas occitanoromanicas, an, lenguas/llenguas occitanorománicas), or rarely East Iberian, is a branch of the Romance language group that encompasses the Catala ...
(alternatively classified as ) ******* Catalan language However, the ascription of Catalan to the
Occitano-Romance The Occitano-Romance or Gallo-Narbonnese ( ca, llengües occitanoromàniques, oc, lengas occitanoromanicas, an, lenguas/llenguas occitanorománicas), or rarely East Iberian, is a branch of the Romance language group that encompasses the Catala ...
branch of
Gallo-Romance languages The Gallo-Romance branch of the Romance languages The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin ...

Gallo-Romance languages
is not shared by all linguists and philologists, particularly among Spanish ones, such as
Ramón Menéndez Pidal Ramón Menéndez Pidal (; 13 March 1869 – 14 November 1968) was a Spanish philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and ...
. Catalan bears varying degrees of similarity to the linguistic varieties subsumed under the cover term ''
Occitan language Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolve ...
'' (see also differences between Occitan and Catalan and
Gallo-Romance languages The Gallo-Romance branch of the Romance languages The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin ...

Gallo-Romance languages
). Thus, as it should be expected from closely related languages, Catalan today shares many traits with other Romance languages.


Relationship with other Romance languages

Catalan shares many traits with the other neighboring
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
(Occitan, French,
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
,
SardinianSardinian refers to anything related to the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean island of Sardinia. More specifically it can refer to: *Sardinian people *History of Sardinia *Sardinian language *Sardinian literature *Music of Sardinia *Cuisine of Sardin ...
as well as Spanish and Portuguese among others). However, despite being spoken mostly on the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region o ...

Iberian Peninsula
, Catalan has marked differences with the Iberian Romance group (
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
) in terms of
pronunciation Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful d ...
, grammar, and especially vocabulary; showing instead its closest affinity with languages native to France and northern Italy, particularly
Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolve ...
and to a lesser extent
Gallo-Romance The Gallo-Romance branch of the Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a rang ...
(
Franco-Provençal Franco-Provençal (also Francoprovençal, Patois, Gaga, Savoyard, Arpitan or Romand) is a dialect group within Gallo-Romance languages, Gallo-Romance originally spoken in east-central France, western Switzerland and northwestern Italy. Franco ...
, , Gallo-Italian). According to
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicat ...
, the lexical similarity between Catalan and other Romance languages is: 87% with Italian; 85% with Portuguese and Spanish; 76% with Ladin; 75% with Sardinian; and 73% with Romanian. During much of its history, and especially during the
Francoist dictatorship Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista), known in Spain as the Francoist dictatorship ( es, dictadura franquista), was the period of history of Spain, Spanish history between 1936 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain with the title ''Ca ...
(1939–1975), the Catalan language was ridiculed as a mere dialect of
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
. This view, based on political and ideological considerations, has no linguistic validity. Spanish and Catalan have important differences in their sound systems, lexicon, and grammatical features, placing the language in features closer to
Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolve ...
(and ). There is evidence that, at least from the 2nd century , the vocabulary and phonology of Roman
Tarraconensis Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman R ...

Tarraconensis
was different from the rest of Roman Hispania. Differentiation arose generally because Spanish, Asturian, and Galician-Portuguese share certain peripheral archaisms (Spanish , Asturian and Portuguese vs. Catalan , Occitan "to boil") and innovatory regionalisms (Sp , Ast vs. Cat , Oc "bullock"), while Catalan has a shared history with the Western Romance innovative core, especially Occitan. Like all Romance languages, Catalan has a handful of native words which are unique to it, or rare elsewhere. These include: * verbs: 'to fasten; transfix' > 'to compose, write up', > 'to combine, conjugate', > 'to wake; awaken', 'to thicken; crowd together' > 'to save, keep', > 'to miss, yearn, pine for', 'to investigate, track' > Old Catalan ''enagar'' 'to incite, induce', > OCat ''ujar'' 'to exhaust, fatigue', > 'to appease, mollify', > 'to reject, refuse'; * nouns: > 'pomace', > 'reedmace', > 'catarrh', > 'snowdrift', > 'ardor, passion', > 'brake', > 'avalanche', > 'edge, border', > 'fish species', 'live coal' > 'spark', > ''tardaó'' > 'autumn'. The
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
superstrate produced different outcomes in Spanish and Catalan. For example, Catalan "mud" and "to roast", of Germanic origin, contrast with Spanish and , of Latin origin; whereas Catalan "spinning wheel" and "temple", of Latin origin, contrast with Spanish and , of Germanic origin. The same happens with
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
loanwords. Thus, Catalan "large earthenware jar" and "tile", of Arabic origin, contrast with Spanish and , of Latin origin; whereas Catalan "oil" and "olive", of Latin origin, contrast with Spanish and . However, the Arabic element in Spanish is generally much more prevalent. Situated between two large linguistic blocks (Iberian Romance and Gallo-Romance), Catalan has many unique lexical choices, such as "to miss somebody", "to calm somebody down", and "reject".


Geographic distribution


Catalan-speaking territories

Traditionally Catalan-speaking territories are sometimes called the (Catalan Countries), a denomination based on cultural affinity and common heritage, that has also had a subsequent political interpretation but no official status. Various interpretations of the term may include some or all of these regions.


Number of speakers

The number of people known to be fluent in Catalan varies depending on the sources used. A 2004 study did not count the total number of speakers, but estimated a total of 9–9.5 million by matching the percentage of speakers to the population of each area where Catalan is spoken. The web site of the
Generalitat de Catalunya The ''Generalitat de Catalunya'' (; in Aranese: ''Generalitat de Catalonha''; in Spanish: ''Generalidad de Cataluña''), or Government of Catalonia, is the institutional system by which Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Arane ...
estimated that as of 2004 there were 9,118,882 speakers of Catalan. These figures only reflect potential speakers; today it is the native language of only 35.6% of the Catalan population.Población según lengua habitual. Datos comparados 2003–2008. Cataluña. Año 2008
Encuesta de Usos Lingüísticos de la población (2003 y 2008), Instituto de Estadística de Cataluña
According to ''
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicat ...
'', Catalan had four million native speakers and five million second-language speakers in 2012. According to a 2011 study the total number of Catalan speakers is over 9.8 million, with 5.9 million residing in Catalonia. More than half of them speak Catalan as a second language, with native speakers being about 4.4 million of those (more than 2.8 in Catalonia). Very few Catalan monoglots exist; basically, virtually all of the Catalan speakers in Spain are
bilingual in Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the la ...

bilingual
speakers of Catalan and Spanish, with a sizable population of Spanish-only speakers of immigrant origin (typically born outside Catalonia or with both parents born outside Catalonia) existing in the major Catalan urban areas as well. In
Roussillon File:wine600.jpg, 200px, Grape pickers near Maury, Pyrénées-Orientales, Maury Roussillon ( , , ; ca, Rosselló ; oc, Rosselhon ) is a historical province of France that largely corresponded to the County of Roussillon and French Cerdagn ...

Roussillon
, only a minority of French Catalans speak Catalan nowadays, with French being the majority language for the inhabitants after a continued process of
language shift Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community Arnold Lakhovsky, ''The Conversation'' (circa 1935) A speech community is a group of people who share a s ...
. According to a 2019 survey by the Catalan government, 31.5% of the inhabitants of Catalonia have Catalan as first language at home whereas 52.7% have Spanish, 2.8% both Catalan and Spanish and 10.8% other languages.
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
is the most spoken language in Barcelona (according to the linguistic census held by the Government of Catalonia in 2013) and it is understood almost universally. According to this census of 2013 Catalan is also very commonly spoken in the city of 1,501,262: it is understood by 95% of the population, while 72.3% over the age of 2 can speak it (1,137,816), 79% can read it (1,246.555), and 53% can write it (835,080). The proportion in Barcelona who can speak it, 72.3%, is lower than that of the overall Catalan population, of whom 81.2% over the age of 15 speak the language. Knowledge of Catalan has increased significantly in recent decades thanks to a
language immersion Language immersion, or simply immersion, is a technique used in Bilingual education, bilingual language education in which two languages are used for instruction in a variety of topics, including math, science, or social studies. The languages u ...
educational system. An important social characteristic of the Catalan language is that all the areas where it is spoken are bilingual in practice: together with the French language in Roussillon, with Italian in Alghero, with Spanish and French in Andorra and with Spanish in the rest of the territories. :1. The number of people who understand Catalan includes those who can speak it. :2. Figures relate to all self-declared capable speakers, not just native speakers.


Level of knowledge

(% of the population 15 years old and older).


Social use

(% of the population 15 years old and older).


Native language


Phonology

Catalan phonology varies by dialect. Notable features include: * Marked contrast of the vowel pairs and , as in other
Western Romance 270px, The Romance language family (simplified) Western Romance languages are one of the two subdivisions of a proposed subdivision of the Romance languages based on the La Spezia–Rimini line. They include the Gallo-Romance The Gallo-Romance ...
languages, other than
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
. * Lack of
diphthongization In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured system of communication ...
of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
short , , as in
GalicianGalician may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Galicia (Spain) ** Galician language ** Galician people ** Gallaeci, a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia (currently Galicia (Spain) * Something of, from, or related to ...
and
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
, but unlike French, Spanish, or Italian. * Abundance of diphthongs containing , as in Galician and Portuguese. In contrast to other Romance languages, Catalan has many
monosyllabicIn linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include pho ...
words, and these may end in a wide variety of consonants, including some
consonant cluster In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
s. Additionally, Catalan has
final obstruent devoicing Final-obstruent devoicing or terminal devoicing is a systematic phonological process occurring in languages such as Catalan language, Catalan, German language, German, Dutch language, Dutch, Breton language, Breton, Russian language, Russian, Poli ...
, which gives rise to an abundance of such couplets as "(male friend") vs. ("female friend").
Central Catalan Central Catalan ( ca, català central; ) is the Eastern Catalan dialect with the highest number of speakers, since it is commonly spoken in densely populated areas such as the whole Barcelona (province), Barcelona province, the eastern half of Tar ...
pronunciation is considered to be standard for the language. The descriptions below are mostly representative of this variety. For the differences in pronunciation between the different dialects, see the section on pronunciation of dialects in this article.


Vowels

Catalan has inherited the typical vowel system of
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, ...
, with seven stressed phonemes: , a common feature in Western Romance languages, Western Romance, with the exception of
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
. Balearic dialect, Balearic also has instances of stressed . Dialects differ in the different degrees of vowel reduction, and the incidence of the pair . In
Central Catalan Central Catalan ( ca, català central; ) is the Eastern Catalan dialect with the highest number of speakers, since it is commonly spoken in densely populated areas such as the whole Barcelona (province), Barcelona province, the eastern half of Tar ...
, unstressed vowels reduce to three: ; ; remains distinct. The other dialects have different vowel reduction processes (see the section pronunciation of dialects in this article).


Consonants

The consonant system of Catalan is rather conservative. * has a dark l, velarized allophone in syllable coda position in most dialects. However, is velarized irrespective of position in Eastern dialects like Majorcan and standard Eastern Catalan. * occurs in Balearic, Algherese dialect, Algherese, Valencian#Consonants, standard Valencian and some areas in southern Catalonia. It has betacism, merged with elsewhere. * Voiced obstruents undergo final-obstruent devoicing: . * Voiced stops become lenition, lenited to approximants in syllable onsets, after continuants: > , > , > . Exceptions include after lateral consonants, and after . In coda position, these sounds are realized as stops, except in some Valencian dialects where they are lenited. * There is some confusion in the literature about the precise phonetic characteristics of , , , . Some sources describe them as "postalveolar". Others as "back alveolo-palatal", implying that the characters would be more accurate. However, in all literature only the characters for palato-alveolar consonant, palato-alveolar affricates and fricatives are used, even when the same sources use for other languages like Polish and Chinese. * The distribution of the two rhotics and closely parallels Spanish phonology#Alternations, that of Spanish. Between vowels, the two contrast, but they are otherwise in complementary distribution: in the onset of the first syllable in a word, appears unless preceded by a consonant. Dialects vary in regards to rhotics in the coda with Western Catalan generally featuring and Central Catalan dialects featuring a weakly trilled unless it precedes a vowel-initial word in the same prosodic unit, in which case appears. * In careful speech, , , may be gemination, geminated. Geminated may also occur. Some analyze intervocalic as the result of gemination of a single rhotic phoneme. This is similar to the common analysis of Spanish and
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
rhotics.


Phonological evolution


Sociolinguistics

Catalan sociolinguistics studies the situation of Catalan in the world and the different varieties that this language presents. It is a subdiscipline of Catalan philology and other affine studies and has as an objective to analyze the relation between the Catalan language, the speakers and the close reality (including the one of other languages in contact).


Preferential subjects of study

* Dialects of Catalan * Variations of Catalan by class, gender, profession, age and level of studies * Process of linguistic normalization * Relations between Catalan and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
or * Perception on the language of Catalan speakers and non-speakers * Presence of Catalan in several fields: tagging, public function, media, professional sectors


Dialects


Overview

The dialects of the Catalan language feature a relative uniformity, especially when compared to other Romance languages; both in terms of vocabulary, semantics, syntax, Morphology (linguistics), morphology, and phonology. Mutual intelligibility between dialects is very high, estimates ranging from 90% to 95%. The only exception is the isolated idiosyncratic Algherese dialect. Catalan is split in two major dialectal blocks: Eastern Catalan, and Western Catalan. The main difference lies in the treatment of unstressed and ; which have merged to in Eastern dialects, but which remain distinct as and in Western dialects. There are a few other differences in pronunciation, verbal morphology, and vocabulary. Western Catalan comprises the two dialects of Northwestern Catalan and
Valencian Valencian () or Valencian language () is the official, historical and traditional name used in the Valencian Community The Valencian Community ( ca-valencia, Comunitat Valenciana, es, Comunidad Valenciana), or simply Valencia ( ca-valencia, ...
; the Eastern block comprises four dialects:
Central Catalan Central Catalan ( ca, català central; ) is the Eastern Catalan dialect with the highest number of speakers, since it is commonly spoken in densely populated areas such as the whole Barcelona (province), Barcelona province, the eastern half of Tar ...
, Balearic dialect, Balearic, Northern Catalan, Rossellonese, and Algherese dialect, Algherese. Each dialect can be further subdivided in several subdialects. The terms "Catalan" and "Valencian language, Valencian" (respectively used in
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, nationality'' by its Statute o ...

Catalonia
and the
Valencian Community The Valencian Community ( ca-valencia, Comunitat Valenciana, es, Comunidad Valenciana), or simply Valencia ( ca-valencia, València, link=no, es, Valencia, link=no), is an of . It is the fourth most populous Spanish after , and with more t ...
) are two varieties of the same language. There are two institutions regulating the two standard varieties, the Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Institute of Catalan Studies in Catalonia and the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, Valencian Academy of the Language in the Valencian Community. Central Catalan is considered the standard pronunciation of the language and has the highest number of speakers. It is spoken in the densely populated regions of the Barcelona Province (Spain), Barcelona province, the eastern half of the province of Tarragona, and most of the province of Girona. Catalan has an inflectional grammar. Nouns have two grammatical gender, genders (masculine, feminine), and two grammatical number, numbers (singular, plural). Pronouns additionally can have a neuter gender, and some are also inflected for grammatical case, case and T–V distinction, politeness, and can be combined in very complex ways. Verbs are split in several paradigms and are inflected for grammatical person, person, grammatical number, number, grammatical tense, tense, grammatical aspect, aspect, grammatical mood, mood, and grammatical gender, gender. In terms of pronunciation, Catalan has many words ending in a wide variety of consonants and some consonant clusters, in contrast with many other Romance languages.


Pronunciation


Vowels

Catalan has inherited the typical vowel system of
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, ...
, with seven stressed phonemes: , a common feature in Western Romance languages, Western Romance, except
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
. Balearic dialect, Balearic has also instances of stressed . Dialects differ in the different degrees of vowel reduction, and the incidence of the pair . In Eastern Catalan (except Majorcan), unstressed vowels reduce to three: ; ; remains distinct. There are a few instances of unreduced , in some words. Algherese dialect, Algherese has lowered to . In Majorcan, unstressed vowels reduce to four: follow the Eastern Catalan reduction pattern; however reduce to , with remaining distinct, as in Western Catalan. In Western Catalan, unstressed vowels reduce to five: ; ; remain distinct. This reduction pattern, inherited from Proto-Romance, is also found in
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
and
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
. Some Western dialects present further reduction or vowel harmony in some cases. Central, Western, and Balearic differ in the lexical incidence of stressed and . Usually, words with in Central Catalan correspond to in Balearic and in Western Catalan. Words with in Balearic almost always have in Central and Western Catalan as well. As a result, Central Catalan has a much higher incidence of .


Consonants


Morphology

Western Catalan: In verbs, the ending for 1st-person present indicative is in verbs of the 1st conjugation and -∅ in verbs of the 2nd and 3rd conjugations in most of the Valencian Community, or in all verb conjugations in the Northern Valencian Community and Western Catalonia.
E.g. , , (Valencian); , , (Northwestern Catalan). Eastern Catalan: In verbs, the ending for 1st-person present indicative is , , or -∅ in all conjugations.
E.g. (Central), (Balearic), and (Northern), all meaning ('I speak'). Western Catalan: In verbs, the inchoative endings are /, , , /. Eastern Catalan: In verbs, the inchoative endings are , , , . Western Catalan: In nouns and adjectives, maintenance of of medieval plurals in proparoxytone words.
E.g. 'men', 'youth'. Eastern Catalan: In nouns and adjectives, loss of of medieval plurals in proparoxytone words.
E.g. 'men', 'youth' (Ibicencan, however, follows the model of Western Catalan in this case).


Vocabulary

Despite its relative lexical unity, the two dialectal blocks of Catalan (Eastern and Western) show some differences in word choices. Any lexical divergence within any of the two groups can be explained as an archaism. Also, usually
Central Catalan Central Catalan ( ca, català central; ) is the Eastern Catalan dialect with the highest number of speakers, since it is commonly spoken in densely populated areas such as the whole Barcelona (province), Barcelona province, the eastern half of Tar ...
acts as an innovative element.


Standards

Standard Catalan, virtually accepted by all speakers, is mostly based on Eastern Catalan, which is the most widely used dialect. Nevertheless, the standards of the Valencian Community and the Balearics admit alternative forms, mostly traditional ones, which are not current in eastern Catalonia. The most notable difference between both standards is some tonic accentuation, for instance: (IEC) – (AVL). Nevertheless, AVL's standard keeps the grave accent , while pronouncing it as rather than , in some words like: ('what'), or . Other divergences include the use of (AVL) in some words instead of like in / ('almond'), / ('back'), the use of elided demonstratives ( 'this', 'that') in the same level as reinforced ones () or the use of many verbal forms common in Valencian, and some of these common in the rest of Western Catalan too, like subjunctive mood or inchoative conjugation in at the same level as or the priority use of morpheme in 1st person singular in present indicative ( verbs): instead of ('I buy'). In the Balearic Islands, IEC's standard is used but adapted for the Balearic dialect by the University of the Balearic Islands's philological section. In this way, for instance, IEC says it is correct writing as much as ('we sing') but the University says that the priority form in the Balearic Islands must be in all fields. Another feature of the Balearic standard is the non-ending in the 1st person singular present indicative: ('I buy'), ('I fear'), ('I sleep'). In Alghero, the IEC has adapted its standard to the Algherese dialect, Algherese dialect. In this standard one can find, among other features: the definite article instead of , special possessive pronouns and determinants ('mine'), ('his/her'), ('yours'), and so on, the use of in the imperfect tense in all conjugations: , , ; the use of many archaic words, usual words in Algherese: instead of ('less'), instead of ('someone'), instead of ('which'), and so on; and the adaptation of weak pronouns in Catalan, weak pronouns. In 2011, the
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_n ...

Aragon
ese government passed a decree approving the statutes of a new language regulator of Catalan in La Franja (the so-called Catalan-speaking areas of Aragon) as originally provided for by Law 10/2009. The new entity, designated as , shall allow a facultative education in Catalan and a standardization of the Catalan language in La Franja.


Status of Valencian

Valencian is classified as a Western Catalan, Western dialect, along with the Northwestern Catalan, northwestern varieties spoken in Western Catalonia (provinces of Lleida province, Lleida and the western half of Tarragona province, Tarragona). The various forms of Catalan and Valencian are mutually intelligible (ranging from 90% to 95%)Central Catalan has 90% to 95% inherent intelligibility for speakers of Valencian (1989 R. Hall, Jr.), cited in ''Ethnologue''. Linguists, including Valencian scholars, deal with Catalan and Valencian as the same language. The official regulating body of the language of the Valencian Community, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, Valencian Academy of Language (''Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua,'' AVL) declares the linguistic unity between Valencian and Catalan varieties. The AVL, created by the Valencian parliament, is in charge of dictating the official rules governing the use of Valencian, and its standard is based on the Norms of Castelló (''Normes de Castelló''). Currently, everyone who writes in Valencian uses this standard, except the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture (''Acadèmia de Cultura Valenciana'', RACV), which uses for Valencian an independent standard. Despite the position of the official organizations, an opinion poll carried out between 2001 and 2004 showed that the majority of the Valencian people consider Valencian different from Catalan. This position is promoted by people who do not use Valencian regularly. Furthermore, the data indicates that younger generations educated in Valencian are much less likely to hold these views. A minority of Valencian scholars active in fields other than linguistics defends the position of the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture (''Acadèmia de Cultura Valenciana'', RACV), which uses for Valencian a standard independent from Catalan. This clash of opinions has sparked much controversy. For example, during the drafting of the European Constitution in 2004, the Spanish government supplied the European Union, EU with translations of the text into
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to th ...
,
GalicianGalician may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Galicia (Spain) ** Galician language ** Galician people ** Gallaeci, a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia (currently Galicia (Spain) * Something of, from, or related to ...
, Catalan, and Valencian, but the latter two were identical.


Vocabulary


Word choices

Despite its relative lexical unity, the two dialectal blocks of Catalan (Eastern and Western) show some differences in word choices. Any lexical divergence within any of the two groups can be explained as an archaism. Also, usually
Central Catalan Central Catalan ( ca, català central; ) is the Eastern Catalan dialect with the highest number of speakers, since it is commonly spoken in densely populated areas such as the whole Barcelona (province), Barcelona province, the eastern half of Tar ...
acts as an innovative element. Literary Catalan allows the use of words from different dialects, except those of very restricted use. However, from the 19th century onwards, there has been a tendency towards favoring words of Northern dialects to the detriment of others,


Latin and Greek loanwords

Like other languages, Catalan has a large list of loanwords from Greek and Latin. This process started very early, and one can find such examples in
Ramon Llull Ramon Llull (; c. 1232 – c. 1315/16) was a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, ...

Ramon Llull
's work. In the 14th and 15th centuries Catalan had a far greater number of Greco-Latin loanwords than other Romance languages, as is attested for example in Roís de Corella's writings. The incorporation of learned, or "bookish" words from its own ancestor language,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...
, into Catalan is arguably another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of Classical Latin, written language and the liturgical language of the Church. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, most literate Catalan speakers were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in Catalan.


Word formation

The process of morphological derivation in Catalan follows the same principles as the other
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
, where agglutination is common. Many times, several affixes are appended to a preexisting lexeme, and some sound alternations can occur, for example ("electrical") vs. . Prefixes are usually appended to verbs, as in ("foresee"). There is greater regularity in the process of word-compounding, where one can find compounded words formed much like those in English.


Writing system

Catalan uses the Latin script, with some added symbols and digraphs. The Catalan orthography is systematic and largely phonologically based. Standardization of Catalan was among the topics discussed during the First International Congress of the Catalan Language, held in Barcelona October 1906. Subsequently, the Philological Section of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (IEC, founded in 1911) published the ''Normes ortogràfiques'' in 1913 under the direction of Antoni Maria Alcover and Pompeu Fabra. In 1932, Valencian writers and intellectuals gathered in Castelló de la Plana to make a formal adoption of the so-called ''Normes de Castelló'', a set of guidelines following Pompeu Fabra's Catalan language norms.


Grammar

The grammar of Catalan is similar to other
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
. Features include: * Use of definite article, definite and indefinite articles. * Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and article (grammar), articles are inflection, inflected for grammatical gender, gender (masculine and feminine), and grammatical number, number (singular and plural). There is no case (grammar), case inflexion, except in pronouns. * Verbs are highly inflected for person (grammar), person, number (grammar), number, tense (grammar), tense, aspect (grammar), aspect, and mood (grammar), mood (including a subjunctive mood, subjunctive). * There are no modal auxiliary, modal auxiliaries. * Word order is freer than in English.


Gender and number inflection

In gender inflection, the most notable feature is (compared to
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
or
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
), the loss of the typical masculine suffix . Thus, the alternance of /, has been replaced by ''ø''/. There are only a few exceptions, like / ("scarce"). Many not completely predictable morphological alternations may occur, such as: * Affrication: / ("insane") vs. / ("ugly") * Loss of : / ("flat") vs. / ("second") * Final obstruent devoicing: / ("felt") vs. / ("said") Catalan has few suppletion, suppletive couplets, like Italian and Spanish, and unlike French. Thus, Catalan has / ("boy"/"girl") and / ("cock"/"hen"), whereas French has / and /. There is a tendency to abandon traditionally gender-invariable adjectives in favor of marked ones, something prevalent in Occitan and French. Thus, one can find / ("boiling") in contrast with traditional /. As in the other Western Romance languages, the main plural expression is the suffix , which may create morphological alternations similar to the ones found in gender inflection, albeit more rarely. The most important one is the addition of before certain consonant groups, a phonetic phenomenon that does not affect feminine forms: / ("the pulse"/"the pulses") vs. / ("the dust"/"the dusts").


Determiners

The inflection of determinatives is complex, specially because of the high number of elisions, but is similar to the neighboring languages. Catalan has more contractions of preposition + article than
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, like ("of + the [plural]"), but not as many as
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
(which has , , , etc.). Central Catalan has abandoned almost completely unstressed possessives (, etc.) in favor of constructions of article + stressed forms (, etc.), a feature shared with Italian.


Personal pronouns

The morphology of Catalan personal pronouns is complex, specially in unstressed forms, which are numerous (13 distinct forms, compared to 11 in Spanish or 9 in Italian). Features include the gender-neutral and the great degree of freedom when combining different unstressed pronouns (65 combinations). Catalan pronouns exhibit T–V distinction, like all other Romance languages (and most European languages, but not Modern English). This feature implies the use of a different set of second person pronouns for formality. This flexibility allows Catalan to use extraposition extensively, much more than French or Spanish. Thus, Catalan can have ("they recommended me to him"), whereas in French one must say , and Spanish . This allows the placement of almost any nominal term as a sentence Topic–comment, topic, without having to use so often the passive voice (as in French or
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
), or identifying the direct object with a preposition (as in Spanish).


Verbs

Like all the Romance languages, Catalan verbal inflection is more complex than the nominal. Suffixation is omnipresent, whereas morphological alternations play a secondary role. Vowel alternances are active, as well as infixation and suppletion. However, these are not as productive as in Spanish, and are mostly restricted to irregular verbs. The Catalan verbal system is basically common to all Western Romance, except that most dialects have replaced the synthetic indicative perfect with a periphrastic form of ("to go") + infinitive. Catalan verbs are traditionally divided into three conjugations, with vowel themes , , , the last two being split into two subtypes. However, this division is mostly theoretical. Only the first conjugation is nowadays productive (with about 3500 common verbs), whereas the third (the subtype of , with about 700 common verbs) is semiproductive. The verbs of the second conjugation are fewer than 100, and it is not possible to create new ones, except by compounding.


Syntax

The grammar of Catalan follows the general pattern of Western Romance languages. The primary word order is subject–verb–object. However, word order is very flexible. Commonly, verb-subject constructions are used to achieve a semantic effect. The sentence "The train has arrived" could be translated as or . Both sentences mean "the train has arrived", but the former puts a focus on the train, while the latter puts a focus on the arrival. This subtle distinction is described as "what you might say while waiting in the station" versus "what you might say on the train."


Catalan names

In
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Spain
, every person officially has two surnames, one of which is the father's first surname and the other is the mother's first surname. The law contemplates the possibility of joining both surnames with the Catalan conjunction ''i'' ("and").article 19.1 of Law 1/1998 stipulates that "the citizens of Catalonia have the right to use the proper regulation of their Catalan names and surnames and to introduce the conjunction between surnames"


Sample text

Selected text from Manuel de Pedrolo's 1970 novel ("A love affair outside the city").


See also

;Organizations * Institut d'Estudis Catalans (Catalan Studies Institute) * Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language) * Òmnium Cultural * Plataforma per la Llengua ;Scholars * Marina Abràmova * Germà Colón * Dominique de Courcelles * Martí de Riquer * Arthur Terry * Lawrence Venuti ;Other * Languages of Catalonia ** Linguistic features of Spanish as spoken by Catalan speakers * Languages of France * Languages of Italy * Languages of Spain * Normes de Castelló * Pompeu Fabra


Notes


References


Works cited

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* Institutions
Consorci per a la Normalització Lingüística

Institut d'Estudis Catalans

Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
About the Catalan language
llengua.gencat.cat
by the Government of Catalonia
Gramàtica de la Llengua Catalana
(Catalan grammar), from the Institute for Catalan Studies
Gramàtica Normativa Valenciana (2006, Valencian grammar)
from the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
verbs.cat
(Catalan verb conjugations with online trainers)
Catalan and its dialects

LEXDIALGRAM
– online portal of 19th-century dialectal lexicographical and grammatical works of Catalan hosted by the University of Barcelona Monolingual dictionaries
DIEC2
from the Institut d'Estudis Catalans
Gran Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana
from Enciclopèdia Catalana
Diccionari Català-Valencià-Balear d'Alcover i Moll
from the Institut d'Estudis Catalans
Diccionari Normatiu Valencià (AVL)
from the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
diccionarivalencia.com
(online Valencian dictionary)
Diccionari Invers de la Llengua Catalana
(dictionary of Catalan words spelled backwards) Bilingual and multilingual dictionaries
Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana Multilingüe
(Catalan ↔ English, French, German and Spanish), from Enciclopèdia Catalana
DACCO
– open source, collaborative dictionary (Catalan–English) Automated translation systems
Traductor
automated, online translations of text and web pages (Catalan ↔ English, French and Spanish), from gencat.cat by the Government of Catalonia Phrasebooks * voy:Catalan phrasebook, Catalan phrasebook on voy:Main Page, Wikivoyage Learning resources
Catalan Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words
from Wiktionary'
Swadesh-list appendix
Catalan-language online encyclopedia
Enciclopèdia Catalana
{{DEFAULTSORT:Catalan Language Catalan language, Subject–verb–object languages Stress-timed languages