Friday, June 27, 2008

More infos about Barcelona : the catalan

Catalan is the language of Catalonia. It has the category of official language along with Spanish, which is official all over the Spanish State. Catalan is also the language of an extensive area covering the eastern part of the Spanish State (the Balearic Islands, Valencia), Andorra, where it is the only official language, the south of France (the so-called Northern Catalonia) and the Italian city of Alghero. As a whole, the Catalan language is spoken in a territory of 68.000 km² inhabited by 13,5 million people. From them, it is estimated that 9 million are able to speak it, while 11 million can understand it.

It is one of the Romance or Neolatin languages formed inmediately after the dissolution of Latin between the 8th and the 10th centuries in the territories of the Carolingian Empire that formed the Hispanic March. As in the majority of languages, there are differents geographical variants of the Catalan language.

The first known texts written in Catalan are fragments of the Catalan version of Forum ludicum and the book of sermons Les Homilies d'Organyà, both from the 12th century. The language experienced a period of decline with respect to learned literature during the Renaissance and Baroque period, but it was kept for legislation and Administration, and as popular language, until the Renaixença (second half of the 19th century), a movement that restored Catalan to its literary category. At the beginning of the 20th century, political Catalanism demanded the teaching of Catalan and the use of the language at the Administration. This made possible the creation of the modern standard thanks, mostly, to the work of philologist Pompeu Fabra. During Francos's dictatorship (1939-1975), it was the object of a systematic persecution, but continued to be used as a familiy language until with the recovery of democratic rights, dignity is given back to Catalan and its use is restored to normal in schools, mass media, economic life and cultural industries.

That’s the language you will hear here in Barcelona next to the ¨castellano¨ while staying at your Barcelona apartment. J

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