“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” - Flora Lewis
Would you like to learn how to speak Catalan?
Catalan is a Romance language that originated from Classical Latin. It has a lexical similarity of 85% with French and Spanish and 75% with Sardinian. The Catalan language is also very similar to Occitan, which spoken in parts of France, Spain, and Italy and Monaco.
By going somewhere Catalan is spoken, you’ll have an opportunity to immerse yourself in the language and the culture.
Would you like to learn to speak Catalan?
Here are the places where the language is spoken.
You can’t say Catalan without thinking of Catalonia. This region in the north-east of Spain gets talked about quite a lot, especially in recent years with referendums on its independence from Spain. The region has a strong national identity, culture, and a language of its own; Catalan.
Catalonia covers 31,950km2 between the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees, Aragon, and the Valencian Community. From the Pyrenees to the Ebre River (south of Tarragona), 7.61 million people live in Catalonia, accounting for 17% of Spain’s total population. The main cities include Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida, Reus, and Tortosa, which are all good places to speak Catalan.
In Catalonia, nearly 85% of the population speaks Catalan as their first language and 97.4% of the population understands it. 90.5% can read the language. Finally, 62.3% can write in Catalan.
Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city after Madrid, is a very popular destination for students looking to immerse themselves in the Spanish culture and party on the beach.
Who hasn’t dreamed of language classes in Barcelona? Would you like to study languages in Barcelona, Lleida, or Girona?
Catalonia is home to many Catalan language schools, particularly in Barcelona, Lleida, and Girona. Going to Catalonia will allow you to rub shoulders with the natives who speak Catalan as their mother tongue. You could even teach them English in return for Catalan classes!
Don’t have any classes in the evening?
You can always study in your own time! Catalonia has produced plenty of Catalan literature and has a strong national identity so a lot of authors write in Catalan. There are a lot of books and literature to help you learn Catalan.
You can also learn Catalan in parts of France. This is especially true if you spend your holidays in the south of France.
In the Pyrénées-Orientales area of France, you’ll find a good number of speakers. 37% of the population can speak the language and 65% can understand it when spoken or written. 31.4% can read in Catalan and 10.6% know how to write in Catalan.
The Pyrénées-Orientales are like the Catalonia of the north for Catalans, which is why the region is also known as Northern Catalonia.
The Pyrénées-Orientales include Roussillon, one of the historic counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, an area that’s sunny all year round with mountains, coastline, and plenty of cultural heritage. With seaside towns like Argelès-sur-Mer, Banyuls-sur-Mer, Collioure, Port-Vendres and the Albera Massif mountain range, you’ll find plenty of people who can speak Spanish, Catalan, and French.
There are towns like Collioure, the Canigó Mountain, Bouillouses Lake, Paulilles Bay, Palace of the Kings of Majorca, and villages like Orgues d'Ille-sur-Têt, Céret, Tautavel, Port-Vendres, Banyuls-sur-Mer.
As you can see, Catalan isn’t just spoken in Spain. There are several Catalan tutors on Superprof from France!
The Balearic Islands
Did you think Catalan was only spoken in Catalonia?
You might be surprised to find out that it’s also spoken on the Balearic Islands.
The Balearic Islands includes Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Formentera, Tagomago, S’Espalmador, Carbera, Conillera, and La Dragonera and are home to 1.11 million inhabitants (2012).
The Balearic Islands have been influenced by Catalan and Spanish culture and both languages hold official status on the islands.
Catalan became the official language of Majorca in the 12th century and each island developed a different Catalan dialect: Majorquin in Majorca and Minorquin in Minorca.
Nearly 75% of the population can speak Catalan, 80% can read it, and 93% can understand it.
In recent years, the President of the Balearic Islands José Ramón Bauzá Díaz removed Catalan as a requirement for civil servants in the Balearics in 2013.
Nowadays, 50% of those on the Balearic Islands use Spanish, 37% use Catalan, and 10% use both. That said, there are still Catalan language schools you could attend in the Balearic Islands.
The Valencian Community
Getting ready for a trip to south-east Spain? Would you like to spend a year on Erasmus in Valencia?
You can learn about Catalan culture in the Valencian Community.
Nearly half of the population in the region speak Catalan (known locally as Valencian) and it’s one of the official languages alongside Spanish.
With nearly 5 million inhabitants, the Valencian Community is the second-largest Catalan-speaking community in the world. The two biggest cities are Valencia (2.54 million inhabitants) and Alicante (334,887 inhabitants). Elche, the third-largest city, is home to 228,000 people.
You might be familiar with part of Spain, especially with popular tourist destinations like Benidorm.
Would you like to learn more about the language, its grammar, and how to speak and read it?
The University of Valencia offers free Catalan classes, which is great if you are planning on spending a semester or two in Valencia as you’ll have the opportunity to earn a Spanish and Valencian qualification for free!
Andorra is a sovereign state situated between France and Spain and a lot of people travel into Andorra for cigarettes and alcohol to pay less tax. It’s one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe after San Marino, Monaco, and the Vatican City.
You could live in the capital city, Andorra la Vella, and learn Catalan as it's the only official language in Andorra. Thanks to the fact that Catalan is used by the government, TV, radio, and all national media, it’s very easy to immerse yourself in the language.
51% of Andorrans use Catalan in their everyday life. Of the 22,600 Andorrans, 33.8% of the population speak Catalan as their mother tongue.
Andorra is more than just a hiking destination or somewhere to buy cheap cigs and booze!
Catalan is also spoken in Sardinia. Alguer, as it’s known in Catalan, is an Italian city in the north of Sardinia and home to around 44,000 inhabitants.
Catalan is spoken here because the population of the city originated from Catalonia. The island was conquered by the Kingdom of Aragon in 1354. The occupants drove the local populations out and settled Catalan-speaking residents. They would remain there for 600 years, leading to 20% of the population speaking Catalan nowadays.
Italy and the Province of Sassari both recognise Catalan as one of the city’s official languages. Street signs are written in both Catalan and Italian. The Catalan language is even taught in schools there and some foreign workers need to take Catalan classes and achieve a C1 level!
If you can't get to a place where Catalan is spoken, you can always get experienced and qualified private Catalan tutors on Superprof. Just search for them and have a look at their profiles. No two tutors are alike so you should compare their rates, experience, teaching approaches, and read the reviews left by their other students.
Many tutors offer the first lesson for free so use these sessions to discuss what you want out of your tutorials, plan the course, and try out different Catalan language tutors before deciding on which one is best for you.
There are a few different types of tutorial you can get and each comes with its pros and cons so you'll also want to consider your budget and language learning goals.
Face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive but you'll get to enjoy bespoke tuition that's tailored to you, your level, and your goals.
Online tutorials are useful for those who can't find tutors locally or on a tight budget as the tutors don't usually charge as much as they don't have to travel to their students.
For those on a tight budget, group tutorials are a great option. You and a few friends or family members can split the cost of a tutor's time and end up paying less per student per hour. While they won't be tailored to just you, you'll have more people to practise speaking Catalan with!