|Pronunciation||[kətəˈɫa] (EC) ~ [kataˈɫa] (WC)|
|Native to||Andorra, France, Italy, Spain|
|Region||See geographic distribution of Catalan|
|Native speakers||11.5 million (2009)|
Catalan (regulated by the IEC)
|Writing system||Latin (Catalan alphabet)
|Official language in||
|Recognised minority language in|
|Regulated by||Institut d'Estudis Catalans
Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
Catalan (//; autonym: català [kətəˈɫa] or [kataˈɫa]) is a Romance language named for its origins in the historical region of Catalonia in the northeastern part of Spain and adjoining parts of what is now France. It is the national and only official language of Andorra, a European microstate, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian. It also has semi-official status in the city of Alghero (where the Algherese dialect is spoken) on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken with no official recognition in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the historic Roussillon region of southern France, roughly equivalent to the current French department of Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia).
Although recognized as a regional language of the Pyrénées-Orientales department since 2007, Catalan has no official recognition in France, as French is the only official language of that country, according to the French Constitution of 1958.
Middle Ages: origin
The Catalan language developed from Vulgar Latin on both sides of the eastern end of the Pyrenees mountains and valleys (counties of Razès, Conflent, Rosselló-Vallespir, Empúries, Besalú, Cerdanya, Urgell, Pallars and Ribagorça). It shares many features with Gallo-Romance and the Gallo-Italian speech types of Northern Italy. While Catalan has therefore been varyingly assigned to Gallo-Romance, this classification may not be entirely appropriate. Catalan diverged from Old Occitan between the 11th and 14th centuries, early texts in the Catalan dialect being the Homilies d'Organyà and the Greuges de Guitard Isarn. Catalan is therefore united with Occitan into an Occitano-Romance group.
The mainstream historical account is that as a consequence of the conquests of Al-Andalus to the south and to the west by the Crown of Aragon, the language spread to all of present-day Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and most of the Valencian Community.
Even though the official organizations state that the languages spoken in Catalonia and Valencia are the same, some Valencian scholars hold that Valencian owes more to the language already spoken there before the Catalan–Aragonese conquest than to the language brought by conquerors. Their main argument lies in the small number of Catalan colonists, as registered in documents such as the Llibre de repartiment. However, similar statistical studies based on town tax lists reject this thesis, claiming that 90% were Catalan. This conflict is known as the Valencian language controversy.
18th century to the present: France
After the Treaty of the Pyrenees, a royal decree by Louis XIV of France on 2 April 1700 prohibited the use of the Catalan language in present-day Northern Catalonia in all official documents under the threat of being invalidated.
Shortly after the French Revolution, the French First Republic prohibited official use of, and enacted discriminating policies against, the nonstandard languages of France (patois), such as Catalan, Breton, Occitan, Flemish, and Basque.
The deliberate process of eradicating non-French vernaculars in modern France and disparaging them as mere local and often strictly oral dialects was formalized with Abbé Grégoire's Report on the necessity and means to annihilate the patois and to universalize the use of the French language, which he presented on 4 June 1794 to the National Convention; thereafter, all languages other than French were officially banned in the administration and schools for the sake of linguistically uniting post-Bastille Day France.
To date, the French government continues its policy of recognizing only French as an official language in France. Nevertheless, on 10 December 2007, the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales officially recognized Catalan as one of the languages of the department in the Article 1 (a) of its Charte en faveur du Catalan and seek to further promote it in public life and education.
- Article 1: "The General Council of Pyrénées-Orientales officially recognizes, along with the French language, Catalan as a language of the department.
- (Le Conseil Général des Pyrénées-Orientales reconnaît officiellement, au côté de la langue française, le catalan comme langue du département)."
18th century to the present: Spain
After the Nueva Planta Decrees, administrative use of Catalan, and Catalan language education, were also banned in the territories of the Kingdom of Spain. It was not until the Renaixença that use of the Catalan language started to recover.
In Francoist Spain (1939–1975), the use of Spanish in place of Catalan was promoted, and public use of Catalan was initially repressed and discouraged by official propaganda campaigns. The use of Catalan in government-run institutions and in public events was banned. During later stages of the Francoist regime, certain folkloric or religious celebrations in Catalan were resumed and tolerated. Use of Catalan in the mass media was initially forbidden, but was permitted from the early 1950s in the theatre. Publishing in Catalan continued throughout the dictatorship. There was no official prohibition of speaking Catalan in public or in commerce, but all advertising and signage had to be in Spanish alone, as did all written communication in business.
Following the death of Franco in 1975 and the restoration of democracy under a constitutional monarchy, the use of Catalan increased significantly because of new affirmative action and subsidy policies and the Catalan language is now used in politics, education and the media, including the newspapers Avui ("Today"), El Punt ("The Point"), Ara ("Now"), La Vanguardia and El Periódico de Catalunya (sharing content with El Periòdic d'Andorra, printed in Andorra); and the television channels of Televisió de Catalunya (TVC): TV3, the main channel, and Canal 33 (culture channel), Super3/3XL (cartoons channel) as well as a 24-hour news channel 3/24 and the sports channel Esport 3; in Valencia Canal Nou, 24/9 and Punt 2; in the Balearic islands IB3; in Catalonia there are also some private channels such as 8TV, Barça TV, Estil9 or Canal Català, in others. Furthermore, everywhere in the Catalan-speaking territories, there are local channels available in Catalan.
According to Pèire Bèc, its specific classification is as follows:
- Indo-European languages
- Italic languages
Catalan bears varying degrees of similarity to the linguistic varieties subsumed under the cover term Occitan language (see also differences between Occitan and Catalan and Gallo-Romance languages). Thus, as it should be expected from closely related languages, Catalan today shares many traits with other Romance languages.
Despite being mostly situated in the Iberian Peninsula, the Catalan vocabulary exhibits marked lexical differences with Ibero-Romance (Spanish and Portuguese), while showing general affinity towards the Gallo-Romance group. These similarities are most notable with Occitan.
|Gloss||Latin||Catalan||Occitan||French||Italian||Spanish / Portuguese|
|"window"||fenestra||finestra||finèstra||fenêtre||finestra||ventvs>ventana / ianva>janela|
|"morning"||matvtīnvs||matí||matin||matin||mattina||hora maneāna>mañana / manhã|
|"to speak"||parabolāre||parlar||parlar||parler||parlare||fābvlāre>hablar / falar|
|accostare||acostar||"to bring closer"||acostar||"to put to bed"|
"to wake up"
|trahere||traure||"to remove"||traer||"to bring"|
|circare||cercar||"to search"||cercar||"to fence"|
|collocare||colgar||"to bury"||colgar||"to hang"|
There is evidence that at least from the 2nd century AD that the vocabulary and phonology of Roman Tarraconensis was different from the rest of Roman Hispania. It has been generally Spanish, with its archaisms (Spanish hervir vs. Catalan bullir, "to boil") and innovations (Spanish novillo vs. Catalan vedell, "young bull") that has caused differentiation.
Also, the Germanic superstrate has had different outcomes in Spanish and Catalan. For example, Catalan fang ("mud") and rostir ("to roast"), of Germanic origin, contrast with Spanish lodo and asar, of Latin origin; while Catalan filosa ("spinning wheel") and pols ("temple"), of Latin origin, contrast with Spanish rueca and sien.
The same happens with Arabic loanwords. Thus, Catalan alfàbia ("large earthware jar") and rajola ("tile"), of Arabic origin, contrast with Spanish tinaja and ladrillo, of Latin origin; while Catalan oli ("oil") and oliva ("olive"), of Latin origin, contrast with Spanish aceite and aceituna. However, the Arabic element in Spanish is generally much more prevalent.
However, being placed between two large linguistic blocks (Iberic and Gallic), Catalan has many unique lexical choices, like enyorar ("to miss somebody"), apaivagar ("to calm down somebody"), or rebutjar ("reject").
|The Catalan / Valencian cultural domain|
|Andorra||Andorra||Andorra||A sovereign state where Catalan is the national and the sole official language.|
|France||Northern Catalonia||Catalunya Nord||Name used officially for the first time on 10 December 2007 by the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales.|
|Valencian Community||Comunitat Valenciana||Most of the territory. It receives the denomination of "Valencian" (valencià).|
|La Franja||La Franja||An adjacent strip of the Autonomous Community of Aragon; in particular the comarques of Ribagorça, Llitera, Baix Cinca, and Matarranya.|
|Balearic Islands||Illes Balears||It comprises the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Eivissa and Formentera.|
|Carche||El Carxe||A small region of Autonomous Community of Murcia.|
|Italy||Alghero||L'Alguer||A city in Province of Sassari, in the island of Sardinia.|
These territories are sometimes referred to as the Països Catalans (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.
Aragon (La Franja)
|France||Roussillon (Northern Catalonia)|
|Italy||city of Alghero|
Number of speakers
The number of persons known to be fluent in Catalan varies depending on the sources used. A 2004 language study did not indicate the total number of speakers, but showed a total estimate 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 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. And according to Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Catalan has a total of 11.5 million speakers.
|Territory||State||Understand 1||Can speak 2|
|La Franja (Aragon)||Spain||47,250||45,000|
|Carche (Murcia)||Spain||No data||No data|
|Total Catalan-speaking territories||11,150,218||9,062,637|
|Rest of World||No data||350,000|
- 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.
In 1861, Manuel Milà i Fontanals proposed a division of Catalan into two major dialect blocks: Eastern Catalan and Western Catalan. The different Catalan dialects show differences in lexicon, grammar, morphology and pronunciation due to historical isolation. Each dialect also encompasses several regional varieties. The transitions between dialects tend to be smooth.
The main difference between the Eastern and Western blocks is their treatment of unstressed ⟨a⟩ and ⟨e⟩; which have merged to /ə/ in Eastern dialects, but which remain distinct as /a/ and /e/ in Western dialects.
|Phonology||Classical Latin /eː/, /ɪ/ become /e/ under most conditions.
E.g. sec /ˈsek/.
|Classical Latin /eː/, /ɪ/ become /ɛ/ under most conditions ([ə] in Balearic).
E.g. sec /ˈsɛk/ (Balearic /ˈsək/).
|/e/, /ɛ/, are reduced to [e] when unstressed. /a/ is not reduced.||/e/, /ɛ/, /a/ are reduced to [ə] when unstressed.|
|/o/, /ɔ/, are reduced to [o] when unstressed. /u/ remains distinct.||/o/, /ɔ/, /u/ are reduced to [u] when unstressed (in Majorca they behave like Western Catalan).|
|Initial or post-consonantal ⟨x⟩ is affricated /tʃ/. (many exceptions with /ʃ/, likexarxa 'net').
Intervocalic ⟨x⟩ and word-final ⟨ix⟩, it is /jʃ/.
E.g. caixa /ˈkajʃa/ ('box').
|Initial or post-consonantal ⟨x⟩ is fricative /ʃ/.
Intervocalic ⟨x⟩ and word-final ⟨ix⟩ is also /ʃ/.
E.g. caixa /ˈkaʃə/ ('box').
|Morphology||In verbs, 1st person present indicative desinence is -e (∅ in verbs of the 2nd and 3rd conjugation), or -o.
E.g. parle, tem, sent (Valencian); parlo, temo, sento (North-Western).
|In verbs, 1st person present indicative desinence is -o, -i or ∅ in all conjugations.
E.g.parlo (Central), parl (Balearic), parli (Northern), ('I speak').
|In verbs, the inchoative desinences are -isc/-ixo, -ix, -ixen, -isca.||In verbs, the inchoative desinences are -eixo, -eix, -eixen, -eixi.|
|In nouns and adjectives, maintenance of /n/ of medieval plurals in proparoxytone words.
E.g.hòmens 'men', jóvens 'youth'.
|In nouns and adjectives, loss of /n/ of medieval plurals in proparoxytone words.
E.g.homes 'men', joves 'youth'.
E.g. espill 'mirror', xiquet 'boy', granera 'broom', llombrígol 'navel', eixir 'to exit', etc.
E.g. mirall 'mirror', noi 'boy', escombra 'broom', melic 'navel', sortir 'to exit', etc.
The following diagram summarizes all the dialects and sub-dialects of Catalan:
|Catalan (IEC)||Valencian (AVL)||gloss|
|néixer||nàixer||to be born|
|veure||vore (colloquial)||to see|
|estrella (estel)||estrela (estel)||star|
Catalan is a pluricentric language with two main standards; one regulated by the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (IEC), general standard, with Pompeu Fabra's orthography as axis, keeping features from Central Catalan, and the other regulated by the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (AVL), restricted scale standard, focused on Valencian standardization on the basis of Normes de Castelló, that is, Pompeu Fabra's orthography but more adapted to Western Catalan pronunciation and features of Valencian dialects.
IEC's standard, apart from the basis of Central Catalan features, takes also other dialects' features in consideration as standard. Despite this, the most notable difference between both standards is some tonic ⟨e⟩ accentuation, for instance: francès, anglès (IEC) – francés, anglés (AVL) ('French, English'), cafè (IEC) – café (AVL) ('coffee'), conèixer (IEC) – conéixer ('to know'), comprèn (IEC) – comprén (AVL) ('he understands'). This is because of the different pronunciation of some stressed ⟨e⟩, especially tonic ē (long e) and i (short i) from Latin, in both Catalan blocks (/ɛ/ in Eastern Catalan and /e/ in Western Catalan). Nevertheless, AVL's standard keeps the grave accent ⟨è⟩, without pronouncing this ⟨e⟩ as /ɛ/, in some words like: què ('what'), València, èter ('ether'), sèsam ('sesame'), sèrie ('series') and època ('age').
There are also some other divergences like the digraph ⟨tl⟩ used by AVL in some words instead of ⟨tll⟩ like in ametla/ametlla ('almond'), espatla/espatlla ('back' an.) or butla/butlla ('bull'), the use of elided demonstratives (este 'this', eixe 'that' -near-) in the same level as reinforced ones (aquest, aqueix) 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 -ix- at the same level as -eix- or the priority use of -e morpheme in 1st person singular in present indicative (-ar verbs): jo compre instead of jo compro ('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, Govern de les Illes Balears's consultative organ. In this way, for instance, IEC says it is correct writing cantam as much as cantem ('we sing') but the University says that the priority form in the Balearic Islands must be "cantam" in all fields. Another feature of the Balearic standard is the non-ending in the 1st person singular present indicative: jo compr ('I buy'), jo tem ('I fear'), jo dorm ('I sleep').
In Alghero, the IEC has adapted its standard to the Alguerese dialect. In this standard one can find, among other features: the definite article lo instead of el, special possessive pronouns and determinants la mia ('mine'), lo sou/la sua ('his/her'), lo tou/la tua ('yours'), and so on, the use of -v- /v/ in the imperfect tense in all conjugations: cantava, creixiva, llegiva; the use of many archaic words, usual words in Alguerese: manco instead of menys ('less'), calqui u instead of algú ('someone'), qual/quala instead of quin/quina ('which'), and so on; and the adaptation of weak pronouns.
In 2011, the Aragonese government passed a decree for the establishment of a new language regulator of Catalan in La Franja (the so-called Catalan-speaking areas of Aragon). The new entity, designated as Acadèmia Aragonesa del Català, shall allow a facultative education in Catalan and a standardization of the Catalan language in La Franja.
- Status of Valencian
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011)|
The official language academy of the Valencian Community (the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua) considers Catalan and Valencian simply to be two names for the same language. All universities teaching Romance languages, and virtually all linguists, consider these two to be linguistic variants of the same language (similar to Canadian French versus Metropolitan French, and European versus Brazilian Portuguese).
There is a roughly continuous set of dialects covering the regional forms of Catalan/Valencian, with no break at the border between Catalonia and the Valencian Community, and the various forms of Catalan and Valencian are mutually intelligible This is not to say that there are no differences between them; the speech of Valencians is recognizable both in pronunciation as well as in morphological and lexical peculiarities. However, these differences are not any wider than among North-Western Catalan and Eastern Catalan. In fact, Northern Valencian (spoken in the Castelló province and Matarranya valley, a strip of Aragon) is more similar to the Catalan of the lower Ebro basin (spoken in southern half of Tarragona province and another strip of Aragon) than to apitxat Valencian (spoken in the area of L'Horta, in the province of Valencia).
What gets called a language (as opposed to a dialect) is defined partly by mutual comprehensibility as well as political and cultural factors. In this case, the perceived status of Valencian as a dialect of Catalan has historically had important political implications including Catalan nationalism and the idea of the Catalan Countries. Arguing that Valencian is a separate language may sometimes be part of an effort by Valencians to resist a perceived Catalan nationalist agenda aimed at incorporating Valencians into what they feel is a "constructed" nationality centered on Barcelona.
As such, the issue of whether Catalan and Valencian constitute different languages or merely dialects has been the subject of adversarial discussions for over a century and political agitation several times since the end of the Franco era. The latest political controversy regarding Valencian occurred on the occasion of the drafting of the European Constitution in 2004. The Spanish government supplied the EU with translations of the text into Basque, Galician, Catalan, and Valencian, but the Catalan and Valencian versions were identical.
While professing the unity of the Catalan language, the Spanish government claimed to be constitutionally bound to produce distinct Catalan and Valencian versions because the Statute of Autonomy of the Valencian Community refers to the language as Valencian. In practice, the Catalan, Valencian, and Balearic versions of the EU constitution are identical: the government of Catalonia accepted the Valencian translation without any changes under the premise that the Valencian standard is accepted by the norms set forth by the IEC.
Catalan may be seen instead as a multi-centric language (much like English); there exist two standards, one regulated by the IEC, which is centered on Central Catalan (with slight variations to include Balearic verb inflection) and one regulated by the AVL, centered on Valencian.
The AVL accepts the conventions set forth in the Normes de Castelló as the normative spelling, shared with the IEC that allows for the diverse idiosyncrasies of the different language dialects and varieties. As the normative spelling, these conventions are used in education, and most contemporary Valencian writers make use of them. Nonetheless, a small minority mainly of those who advocate for the recognition of Valencian as a separate language, use in a non-normative manner an alternative spelling convention known as the Normes del Puig.
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 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 is a tendency of favoring words of Northern dialects in detriment of others, even though nowadays there is a greater freedom of choice.
Like other languages, Catalan has a large list of learned words from Greek and Latin. This process started very early, and one can find such examples in Ramon Llull's work. On the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Catalan had a number of Greco-Latin learned words much superior to other Romance languages, as it can be attested for example in Roís de Corella's writings.
The Catalan alphabet consists of the twenty-six letters of the basic Modern Latin alphabet.
The Catalan spelling has a number of distinctive features. The graph l·l (named ela geminada 'geminate-l') is composed of an interpunct (or middot) between two ⟨l⟩ (e.g. intel·ligent 'intelligent', novel·la 'novel') and is used to distinguish phonetically /lː/ from /ʎ/ (written ll as in Spanish). Another special grapheme is the digraph ny /ɲ/, found in Hungarian, Malay and in some African languages (e.g. banys 'baths'). Also of note is the final digraph ig, pronounced /tʃ/ after a vowel (e.g. raig 'ray', veig 'I see') and /itʃ/ after a consonant (e.g. mig 'half', desig 'desire'). The combination of t + nasal or lateral consonant is pronounced as a geminate of the second consonant: tm /mː/, tn /nː/, tl /lː/ and tll /ʎː/ (e.g. setmana 'week', cotna 'pork rind', Betlem 'Bethlehem', bitllet 'bank note'), whereas t + sibilant consonant indicates affrication: tx /tʃ/, ts /ts/, tz /dz/, tg and tj /dʒ/ (e.g. fletxa 'arrow', potser 'maybe', dotze 'twelve', jutge 'judge', platja 'beach'). Similarly, the less common graphemes dj /dʒ/ and ds /ts/ also stand for affricates. Other digraphs are rr /r/, ss /s/, ix /ʃ/, gu /ɡ/ and qu /k/.
Catalan spelling utilizes ç (called ce trencada, literally 'broken "C"') when ⟨c⟩ takes the soft sound /s/ before ⟨a, o, u⟩ (e.g. caça 'hunt') or in final position (e.g. dolç 'sweet'). The letter x is normally pronounced as a voiceless postalveolar /ʃ/ (usually affricated to /tʃ/ in many Western Catalan dialects); e.g. xic /ˈʃik/~/ˈtʃik/ ('little'). In Latin and Greek learned words it represents /ks/ (e.g. fixar 'fix') and /ɡz/ (e.g. exacte 'exact'), as in other closely related languages. The digraph ix instead, always represents /ʃ/ (/i̯ʃ/ in Western Catalan dialects); e.g. calaixos ('drawers').
The Catalan phonology varies depending on the dialect. Notable features include:
- Marked contrast of the vowel pairs /ɛ - e/ and /ɔ - o/, like in other Western Romance languages, except Spanish.
- Lack of nasalized vowels, unlike Portuguese or French.
- Lack of diphthongization of Latin ĕ, ŏ, like in Galician and Portuguese, and unlike French, Spanish and Italian.
- Abundance of diphthongs containing /w/, like in Galician and Portuguese.
In contrast with other Romance languages, Catalan has many monosyllabic words; and those ending in a wide variety consonants and some consonant clusters. Also, Catalan has final obstruent devoicing, thus featuring many couplets like amic "(male friend") vs. amiga ("female friend").
Standard Catalan and Valencian have inherited the typical seven-vowel system from Vulgar Latin (/a/, /ɛ/, /e/, /i/, /ɔ/, /o/, /u/), a common feature in Western Romance, except Spanish. Notable characteristics:
- While Central Catalan has both /e/ and /ɛ/, the relation of these two sounds to the corresponding Proto-Romance sounds is quite complex. In most cases, in fact, original Proto-Romance /e/ and /ɛ/ actually swapped places, with an intermediary step being a separate phoneme /ǝ/ that still exists in the Balearic Islands (in Western Catalan, most original /ɛ/ turned into /e/).
- Catalan is notable for vowel reduction in unstressed syllables: Eastern Catalan vowels reduce to three (/a/, /ɛ/ and /e/ → [ə]; /ɔ/, /o/, and /u/ → [u]; and /i/ → [i], except for most of Majorcan where a fourth unstressed vowel may appear, that is, unstressed /ɔ/ and /o/ normally merge with [o]), while Western Catalan vowels reduce to five (/a/ → [a]; /ɛ/ and /e/ → [e]; /ɔ/ and /o/ → [o]; /u/ → [u]; and /i/ → [i]).
|Plosive||voiceless||p||t||(c) ~ k|
|voiced||b||d||(ɟ) ~ ɡ|
The consonant system of Catalan is rather conservative, shared with most modern Western Romance languages. Notable features:
- Most occurrences of /l/ are heavily velarized: [ɫ] (feature shared with most of Portuguese).
- /v/ occurs in the Balearic dialect, as well as in Alguerese, standard Valencian and some areas in southern Catalonia. Everywhere else, it has merged with /β/.
- Voiced obstruents are devoiced word-finally (feature shared with Occitan).
- Voiced plosives /b d ɡ/ are lenited [β ð ɣ] after a continuant. Exceptions include /d/ after lateral consonants and /b/ after /f/ (feature shared with Ibero-Romance languages, such as Spanish, Galician or Portuguese, but also, within Occitano-Romance, with Gascon and Languedocien Occitan).
- Phonetic work done by Daniel Recasens shows the postalveolar sibilants /ʃ ʒ tʃ dʒ/ to be alveolo-palatal (palatalized postalveolars): [ɕ], [ʑ], [tɕ] and [dʑ], respectively, like in Brazilian Portuguese (however, since ⟨ʃ ʒ tʃ dʒ⟩ are overwhelmingly used in the linguistic literature on Catalan, Valencian and Portuguese, those characters are also used at Wikipedia).
- In standard Catalan, original /dʒ/ remains as /tʃ/ word-finally, and elsewhere splits lexically into /ʒ/ and /dʒ/ (cf. French and Portuguese, where /dʒ/ never occurred word-finally and with uniform reduction to /ʒ/ elsewhere). In standard Valencian instead, the presence of /dʒ/ for /ʒ/ reflects the historical change /ʒ/ > /dʒ/ and the failure for /dʒ/ to become /ʒ/ (feature shared with Occitan and standard Italian).
- Unlike elsewhere, no native /tʃ/ ever arose in the medieval period. Current /tʃ/ are largely due to late strengthening of /ʃ/ in certain Catalan dialects (and in words borrowed from them into standard Catalan), or in foreign borrowings.
- Unlike most other Western Romance languages, Catalan has phonemic geminate consonants. These are restricted to nasals, laterals and the voiced plosives /b/ and /ɡ/.
Catalan is an inflected language. Nouns and pronouns are inflected for number (singular or plural); adjectives, for the number and gender (masculine or feminine) of their nouns; personal pronouns, for person, number, gender, and case; and verbs, for mood, tense, aspect and the person and number of their subjects. Case is primarily marked using word order and prepositions.
Gender and number inflection
|singular||el gat||la gata|
|plural||els gats||les gates|
In gender inflection, the most notable feature is (compared to Portuguese, Spanish or Italian), the disapparition of the typical masculine suffix -o. Thus, the alternance of -o/-a, has been replaced by ø/-a. There are only a few exceptions, like minso/minsa ("scarce"). Many not completely predictable morphological alternations may occur, like:
- Affrication: boig/boja ("insane") vs. lleig/lletja ("ugly")
- Loss of n: pla/plana ("flat") vs. segon/segona ("second")
- Final obstruent devoicing: sentit/sentida ("felt") vs. dit/dita ("said")
Catalan has few suppletive couplets, like Italian and Spanish, and unlike French. Thus, Catalan has noi/noia ("boy"/"girl") and gall/gallina ("cock"/"hen"), while French has garçon/fille and coq/poule. 
There is a tendency to abandon traditionally gender-invariable adjectives in favour of marked ones, something prevalent in Occitan and French. Thus, one can find bullent/bullenta ("boiling") in constrast with traditional bullent/bullent.
Like in the other Western Romance languages, the main plural expression is the suffix -s, which may create morphological alternations akin the ones found in gender inflection, albeit more rarely. The most important one is the addition of -o- before certain consonant groups, a phonetic phenomenon that does not affect feminine forms: el pols/els polsos ("the pulse"/"the pulses") vs. la pols/les pols ("the dust"/"the dusts").
|singular||el (l')||la (l')|
|article||el||al (a l')||del (de l')||pel (per l')|
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, like dels ("of + the [plural]"), but not as many as Italian (which has sul, col, nel, etc.).
Central Catalan has abandoned almost completely unstressed possessives (mon, etc.) in favour of constructions of article + stressed forms (el meu, etc.), a feature shared with Italian.
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; French has such a different system that comparisons are not feasible).  Features include the neuter gender (ho) and the great degree of freedom when combining different unstressed pronouns (65 combinations).
This flexibility allows Catalan to use extraposition extensively, much more than French or Spanish. Thus, Catalan can have m'hi recomanaren ("they recommended me to him"), while French must say ils m'ont recommandé à lui, and Spanish me recomendaron a él. This allows the placement of almost any nominal term as a sentence topic, without having to use so often the passive voice (as in French or English), or identifying the direct object with a preposition (as in Spanish).
Like all the Romance languages, Catalan verbal inflection is more complex than the nominal. Suffixation is omnipresent, while 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 analytic indicative perfect with a periphrastic form of anar ("to go") + infinitive.
Catalan verbs are traditionally divided into three conjugations, with vowel themes -a-, -e-, -i-, 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), while the third (the subtype of servir, 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.
Catalan naming customs are similar to those of Spain and Portugal; people take two surnames–their father's and their mother's–which are sometimes separated by the particle i, meaning 'and' (the national language policy enumerated in 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").
For example, the full name of the architect Antoni Gaudí is Antoni Gaudí i Cornet after his parents: Francesc Gaudí i Serra and Antònia Cornet i Bertran, meaning he was son of Gaudí and Cornet.
Catalan loanwords in the English language
|English word||Catalan word||Catalan meaning||Notes|
|barracks||barraca||"hut"||Through French baraque.|
|barracoon||barracó||id.||Through Spanish barracón.|
|surge||surgir||"to arise"||Through Middle French|
|paella||paella||"pan"||Through Old French paele, ultimately from Latin patella (small dish).|
|cul-de-sac||cul-de-sac||id.||Also appearing in French and Occitan.|
|Catalan language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
- Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language)
- Catalan conjugation
- Catalan literature
- Catalan orthography
- Catalan phonology
- Central Catalan
- Institut d'Estudis Catalans (Catalan Studies Institute)
- Languages of Catalonia
- Languages of France
- Languages of Italy
- Languages of Spain
- Names of Catalan language
- Normes de Castelló
- Northern Catalan
- Òmnium Cultural
- Plataforma per la Llengua
- Pompeu Fabra
- Catalan at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Some Iberian scholars may alternatively classify Catalan as Ibero-Romance/East Iberian.
- Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh; also // or //
- "Charte en faveur du Catalan". "La catalanitat a la Catalunya Nord". "Catalanité". cg66.fr. 28 July 2004. Retrieved 16 May 2010.[dead link]
- French Constitution, 1958: Article 2. The language of the Republic shall be French.
- Riquer, Martí de, Història de la Literatura Catalana, vol. 1. Barcelona: Edicions Ariel, 1964
- "Dictamen de l'Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua sobre els principis i criteris per a la defensa de la denominació i l'entitat del valencià". Report from Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua about denomination and identity of Valencian.
- Guinot, Enric (1999). Els fundadors del Regne de València: replobament, antroponímia i llengua a la València medieval. Valencia: Tres i Quatre. ISBN 8475025919.
- "L'interdiction de la langue catalane en Roussillon par Louis XIV". "CRDP, Académie de Montpellier.
- Abbé Grégoire. "Report on the necessity and means to annihilate the patois and to universalize the use of the French language". languefrancaise.net.
- Marc Howard Ross, Cultural Contestation in Ethnic Conflict, page 139. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- Thomas, Earl W. (1962), "The Resurgence of Catalan", Hispania (vol. 45, March No. 1): 43–8, doi:10.2307/337523.
- Order from the Excmo. Sr. Gobernador Civil of Barcelona. EL USO DEL IDIOMA NACIONAL EN TODOS LOS SERVICIOS PÚBLICOS. 1940.
- Wheeler, Max H. (2006), Catalan, in the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics.
- Colón, Germà (1993), El lèxic català dins la Romània, Valencia: Universitat de València, ISBN 84-370-1327-5 Unknown parameter
- Moll, Francesc de B. (1958). Gramàtica Històrica Catalana (in Catalan (original in Spanish)) (Catalan translation made in 1991. Reprinted in 2006 ed.). Universitat de València. p. 47. ISBN 978-84-370-6412-3.
- Enciclopèdia Catalana, p. 632.
- "Sociolinguistic situation in Catalan-speaking areas. Tables. Official data about sociolinguistic situation in Catalan-speaking areas: Catalonia (2003), Andorra (2004), the Balearic Islands (2004), Aragonese Border (2004), Northern Catalonia (2004), Alghero (2004) and Valencia (2004)". Generalitat of Catalonia. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
- "Catalan, language of Europe". Generalitat of Catalonia. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
- 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
- Catalonia: Statistic data of 2001 census, from Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya, Generalitat de Catalunya .
- Land of Valencia: Statistical data from 2001 census, from Institut Valencià d'Estadística, Generalitat Valenciana .
- Land of Valencia: Statistical data from 2001 census, from Institut Valencià d'Estadística, Generalitat Valenciana .
- Balearic Islands: Statistical data from 2001 census, from Institut Balear d'Estadística, Govern de les Illes Balears .
- Northern Catalonia: Media Pluriel Survey commissioned by Prefecture of Languedoc-Roussillon Region done in October 1997 and published in January 1998 .
- Andorra: Sociolinguistic data from Andorran Government, 1999.
- Aragon: Sociolinguistic data from Euromosaic .
- Alguer: Sociolinguistic data from Euromosaic .
- Rest of World: Estimate for 1999 by the Federació d'Entitats Catalanes outside the Catalan Countries.
- Moll 2006, p. 32.
- Central Catalan has 90% to 95% inherent intelligibility for speakers of Valencian (1989 R. Hall, Jr.), cited on Ethnologue.
- Isabel I Vilar, Ferran. "Traducció única de la Constitució europea". I-Zefir. 30 Oct 2004. 29 Apr 2009.
- Enciclopèdia Catalana, p. 630.
- Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1999), "Catalan", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the usage of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–65, ISBN 0-521-63751-1.
- Enciclopèdia Catalana, p. 630-631.
- Enciclopèdia Catalana, p. 631.
- The World Atlas of Language Structures. wals.info.
- Philip Babcock Gove, ed. (1993). Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, inc. ISBN 3-8290-5292-8.
- Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins Publishers. 1991. ISBN 0-00-433286-5.
- Wheeler, Max; Yates, Alan; Dols, Nicolau (1999), Catalan: A Comprehensive Grammar, London: Routledge.
- Ferrater et al. (1973). "Català". Enciclpèdia Catalana Volum 4 (in Catalan) (1977, corrected ed.). Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, S.A. pp. 628–639. ISBN 84-85-194-04-7.
- Consorci per a la Normalització Lingüística
- Institut d'Estudis Catalans
- Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
- Secretaria de Política Lingüística de la Generalitat de Catalunya
About the Catalan language
- Ethnologue report for Catalan
- Gramàtica de la Llengua Catalana (Catalan grammar)
- verbs.cat (Catalan verb conjugations with online trainers)
- Catalan and its dialects
- Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana, from the Institut d'Estudis Catalans
- Gran Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana, from Enciclopèdia Catalana
- Diccionari Català-Valencià-Balear d'Alcover i Moll
- Diccionari Valencià online
- Diccionari Invers de la Llengua Catalana (dictionary of Catalan words spelled backwards)
Bilingual and multilingual dictionaries
- Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana Multilingüe from Enciclopèdia Catalana (Catalan < > English, French, German and Spanish)
- DACCO open source, collaborative dictionary (Catalan < > English)
- Webster's Online Dictionary, The Rosetta Edition (Catalan < > English)
- Optimot: Catalan language consults, dictionary and thesaurus of Generalitat of Catalonia
Automated translation systems
- Traductor automated, online translations of text and web pages (Catalan < > English, French and Spanish)
- SisHiTra automated, online translations of text and web pages (Catalan < > Spanish)
- apertium.org Apertium (free software) translates text, documents or web pages, online or offline, between Catalan and Aranese, English, Esperanto, French, Occitan, Portuguese and Spanish
- translate.google.com online translations Catalan <> English & several languages
- Catalan Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words, from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix
- Learn Catalan Online with volunteers
- Interc@t, set of electronic resources for learning the Catalan language and culture
- Learn Catalan!, an introduction for the Catalonia-bound traveler
- On-line Catalan resources
Catalan-language online encyclopedia