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Hola! Exciting news, Catalan language enthusiasts from around the world! Your voice has been heard. You can now learn Catalan online with Mondly in just 10 minutes a day and speak Catalan like a veritable Catalan for life!
The Catalan language in a nutshell
The Catalan language is a member of the Occitano-Roman branch of the Romance language family named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia that has evolved from Vulgar Latin in the Middle Ages around the eastern end of the Pyrenees.
Catalan shares many traits with the other Romance languages (Italian, Sardinian, Occitan, French, Spanish and Portuguese). Yet, despite being spoken mostly in close vicinity to Spanish and Portuguese, in the Iberian Peninsula, Catalan is very different from them. Instead, it shows a closer affinity with languages native to France and northern Italy, particularly the Occitan language.
In contrast to the other Romance languages, Catalan has many monosyllabic words and these may end in a wide variety of consonants or consonant clusters. But, on the other hand, when it comes to word formation, the Catalan language resembles Romance languages, where agglutination is common.
The Catalan grammar is similar to other Romance languages and it includes features like:
- the use of definite and indefinite articles;
- verbs are highly inflected for person, number, tense, aspect, and mood (including a subjunctive);
- nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and articles are inflected for gender (masculine and feminine) and number (singular and plural);
- word-order is freer than in English;
- there are no modal auxiliaries.
Where is Catalan spoken?
Want to practice speaking Catalan? You can definitely do it with Mondly. It’s been said it is the closest thing to real interaction.
Yet, if you want to have real conversations with real Catalan people, you should aim to travel to destinations where the Catalan language is spoken; destinations like the Principality of Andorra and three communities of Spain (Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Valencia) where it is also an official language.
Additionally, the Catalan language is also recognized as a minority language in Alghero (Sardinia, Italy), Aragon (Spain) and in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. These regions are often called Països Catalans (Catalan Countries).
Catalan vs Spanish
As you probably already know, Spain is divided into 17 different regions – each with its own regional government – and Catalonia, with the capital city of Barcelona, is one of them. Apart from Castilian Spanish, in Catalonia people also speak the Catalan language. But don’t worry if you don’t speak Catalan yet! For example, in Barcelona, most people are bilingual and can speak both Spanish and Catalan, so language barriers shouldn’t worry you.
During much of its history – especially during the Francoist dictatorship (1939–1975) -, the Catalan language was ridiculed as a mere dialect of Spanish. However, this view is based on ideological and political considerations and has no linguistic validity because, as we already emphasized, the Catalan language is a language in its own right.
Catalan does not derive from Spanish or French, even though it resembles both. The same as all the other Romance languages, it derived from Vulgar Latin and the similarity to other languages comes from belonging to the same language family.
The bottom line is that even if you speak Spanish, you won’t fully understand Catalan. So this is the perfect chance for you to learn Catalan with Mondly!
Learn Catalan online with Mondly
It can be really tricky to master Catalan pronunciation if you don’t actively live in Catalonia, Valencia or Andorra. But with Mondly, the award-winning language learning app, you’ll be able to teach yourself Catalan using a unique, fast and highly efficient learning method.
A contextually rich environment mixed with practical topics, authentic conversations and bite-sized Daily Lessons is everything you need to make the connections yourself and speak like a true Catalan fast.
Get Mondly now and learn your first words in Catalan today!