Language Trivia

Please pick a language:

1 items found for "Catalan"

Did you know this about... Catalan?

01The Catalan language is a member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken by about 8 million people and around 10 million people can understand Catalan in Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and part of Aragon in Spain, in the region of Roussillon in South-East France, the city of Alghero in Sardinia, and in Andorra (where it is the official language). Like the other Romance languages, Catalan is descended from Latin. It is written in the Roman alphabet.

02The first documented text written originally in Catalan is the Homilies of Organya, a collection of medieval Catalan prose, written in the late 12th or early 13th centuries. Ramon Llull (1232-1315), a Majorcan writer and philosopher, is thought to be the first true Catalan poet.

03Catalan has a strong media presence, it is the 8th most used language on the internet in relation to its speakers and .cat was the first generic, top-level domain for a cultural and linguistic community (introduced in 2005). Six out of the eight most used social networks in Spain are available in Catalan and Wikipedia‘s Catalan website is at the top 20 in terms of number of articles. Counting both digital and printed versions, it is estimated that more than 100 newspapers and 150 magazines are published in Catalan. It is the 22nd most translated language in the world, the 13th most spoken language in the European Union and is placed twenty-seventh on the Steinke Index, which measures the financial importance of a language. An estimated number of 150 universities in over 25 countries teach Catalan as a second language.

04 From 1939-1975, during the period of military dictatorship under Franco, Catalan was banned. Meanwhile, the language was cultivated in the monastery of Montserrat and Poblet. In 1979, Catalan was accepted as an individual language and became the official language in Catalonia in 1983, followed by the Balearic Islands and in 1993 by the state of Andorra. In 1983, a law was passed which made it possible to teach Catalan in schools and universities. In 1998, a conformable subsidy law for the economy and private media followed. Nowadays, there are Catalan daily newspapers, Catalan radio stations and Catalan TV channels.

05Catalan is taught as a separate subject as well as Spanish, and other languages (such as English, French, German and Italian) and is used as the teaching medium for many subjects at all levels of the education system in Catalonia. Children whose mother tongue is not Catalan learn the language at school in the so-called immersion programs. The Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan autonomous government) enjoys full control over the elementary schools, the secondary schools, and the nine universities in the region.

06The "Golden Age" of Catalan literature was in the 15th century, when Jocs Florals (floral games) were introduced as linguistic competitions for trobadors. This was in imitation of similar events in Toulouse in France, where Languedocian, a regional language similar to Catalan, was spoken. Tirant lo Blanc, a novel of chivalry written by Joanot Martorell and published in 1490, preceded Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote by over a century. Viewed by some as the greatest European novel of its century ("the best book of its kind in the world", says the priest in Don Quixote), Tirant has been translated worldwide.

07L'Institut d'Estudis Catalans (Catalan pronunciation: [instiˈtud dəsˈtuðis kətəˈɫans], English: "Institute for Catalan Studies"), also known by the acronym IEC, is an academic institution that undertakes research and study into "all elements of Catalan culture". The IEC's Philological Section was founded in 1911. L'Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian pronunciation: [akaˈðɛmia valensiˈana ðe la ˈʎeŋɡwa], English: "Valencian Academy of the Language"), also known by the acronym AVL, is an institution created on September 16, 1998 by the Valencian Parliament, which belongs to the set of official institutions that compose the Generalitat Valenciana, according to the Act of Autonomy of the Valencian Community. Its primary function is to determine and set the official standards for the Valencian language as used in the Valencian Community (known in other territories as Catalan), and foster its use. According to its foundational law, the AVL linguistic regulations for Valencian must follow current Valencian genuine linguistic reality, respect Valencian lexicographic and literary tradition and start from the consolidated regulations based upon the Normes de Castelló, a set of orthographic rules for Valencian signed in 1932.

What does Catalan sound like? Listen to a Catalan radio station.

Acknowledgement Some of the information provided here was obtained from a report made by the catalonian NGO Plataforma per la Llengua.