Catalan is one of the official languages of Barcelona and, although you can survive knowing a little Spanish or even English, knowing a few basic expressions in Catalan brings you much closer to the local culture. We challenge you to pronunce your first words in this language?
The city of Barcelona is known by the local media as La Ciutat Comtal (the count city) and is the capital city of Catalonia or Catalunya with a specific traditions. Catalans have two official languages: Catalan & Spanish with a wide presence in local teaching and media. In the internet you can find some hint of how it sounds:
World-wide known Catalan artists are the architect Antoni Gaudí, painter Salvador Dalí and the Cook Ferran Adrià; In sports, Pep Guardiola or Pau Gasol: they all spoke and speak catalan in native level. In our multicultural company Barcelona Guide Bureau, catalan is the one of the most spoken languages, like in many local businesses.
The Geo-linguistics of Catalan
Catalan language is as old as French, Spanish or Italian and shares their roots in latin. Unlike the dialects, it has an own grammar system, rules and dictionaries. It is estimated that there are more than seven million speakers in Catalunya, South France, Andorra, Valencia, the Balear Islands and the Sicilian city of Alghero. This places Catalan at the 8th most spoken language of the European Union.
We decided to prepare a brief introduction to this romance language, with some external resources and a practical guide to say basic yet useful utterances in Catalan:
‘Good Morning!’ Bon dia!
‘Good afternoon’ Bona Tarda
‘Good night’ Bona nit
‘How are you?’ Com estàs?
‘Enjoy your meal’ Bon profit
‘Thank You very much!’ Moltes gràcies!
‘Have a nice day’ Que tinguis un bon dia
‘Have fun!’ Passi-ho bé!
‘Good bye’ Adéu siau!
‘See you soon!’ Fins aviat!
‘Please…’ Si, us plau…
‘Could you tell me…’ Em podria dir…
‘Where are the toilets?’ Ón són els lavabos?
‘Where’s the exit?’ Ón és la sortida?
‘Where is Aragó Street?’ Ón és el carrer Aragó?
‘Where can go for dinner/lunch/breakfast?’ Ón podem anar a sopar/dinar/esmorzar?
‘A table for one person/two people, please.’ Una taula per una persona/dues persones, si us plau.
One Beer, please Una cervesa, si us plau
‘The check, please.’ El compte, si us plau
‘Is there a pharmacy near here?’ Hi ha una farmàcia aqui a la vora?
‘How much is this?’ Quant costa això?
‘That’s too expensive.’ És massa car.
‘I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen’
Sóc un ciutadà Americà/Australià/Britànic/Canadenc.
I enjoyed it! M’ha agradat molt!
‘It was a lot of fun!’ Ha estat molt divertit!
For curious linguistic adventurers or those who plan longer stays in Barcelona, here’s a couple extra resources we found quite helpful. The apps uTalk and Duolingo are in my opinion very fun and easy. With lots of registered users, these two apps have also included Catalan Language. If you don’t want to have any physical paper dictionary, there is also an extensive open source on-line english-catalan dictionary.
Tell us, was it helpful? What else would you like to know about this peculiar language?
Thank you very much and see you soon! Moltes Gràcies i fins aviat!