Etymology and pronunciationin 1443. King James I of Aragon, James the Conqueror [1208–1276] dictated his autobiographical chronicles entirely in Catalan. Some of this territory nowadays makes up the ''Catalan Countries''. The word ''Catalan'' is derived from the territorial name of , itself of disputed etymology. The main theory suggests that (Latin language, Latin ''Gathia Launia'') derives from the name ''Gothia'' or ''Gauthia'' ("Land of the Goths"), since the origins of the Catalan counts, lords and people were found in the March of Gothia, whence ''Gothland'' > ''Gothlandia'' > ''Gothalania'' > ''Catalonia'' theoretically derived. In English language, English, the term referring to a person first appears in the mid 14th century as ''Catelaner'', followed in the 15th century as ''Catellain'' (from French language, French). It is attested a language name since at least 1652. The word ''Catalan'' can be pronounced in English as , or . The endonym is pronounced in the Eastern Catalan dialects, and in the Western dialects. In the and Carche, the term is frequently used instead. Thus, the name "Valencian", although often employed for referring to the varieties specific to the Valencian Community and Carche, is also used by Valencians as a name for the language as a whole, synonymous with "Catalan". Both uses of the term have their respective entries in the dictionaries by the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, AVLThe ''Valencian Normative Dictionary'' of the Valencian Academy of the Language states that Valencian is a "Romance language spoken in the Valencian Community, as well as in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, the French department of the , the Principality of Andorra, the eastern flank of Aragon and the Sardinian town of Alghero (unique in Italy), where it receives the name of 'Catalan'." and the Institut d'Estudis Catalans, IEC.The ''Catalan Language Dictionary'' of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans states in the sixth definition of "Valencian" that, in the Valencian Community, it is equivalent to Catalan language. See also #About Valencian, status of Valencian below.
HistoryFile:Linguistic map Southwestern Europe-en.gif, Linguistic map of Southwestern Europe
Middle AgesBy the 9th century, Catalan had evolved from on both sides of the eastern end of the Pyrenees, as well as the territories of the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis to the south. From the 8th century onwards the Catalan counts extended their territory southwards and westwards at the expense of the Muslims, bringing their language with them. This process was given definitive impetus with the separation of the County of Barcelona from the Carolingian Empire in 988. In the 11th century, documents written in macaronic language, macaronic Latin begin to show Catalan elements, with texts written almost completely in Romance appearing by 1080. Old Catalan shared many features with Gallo-Romance languages, Gallo-Romance, diverging from Old Occitan between the 11th and 14th centuries. During the 11th and 12th centuries the Catalan rulers expanded up to north of the Ebro river, and in the 13th century they conquered the Kingdom of Valencia, Land of Valencia and the Balearic Islands. The city of Alghero in Sardinia was repopulated with Catalan speakers in the 14th century. The language also reached Murcia, which became Spanish-speaking in the 15th century. In the Low Middle Ages, Catalan went through a golden age, reaching a peak of maturity and cultural richness. Examples include the work of Majorcan polymath Ramon Llull (1232–1315), the Four Great Chronicles (13th–14th centuries), and the Valencian school of poetry culminating in Ausiàs March (1397–1459). By the 15th century, the city of Valencia had become the sociocultural center of the Crown of Aragon, and Catalan was present all over the Mediterranean world. During this period, the Royal Chancery propagated a highly standardized language. Catalan was widely used as an official language in Sicily until the 15th century, and in Sardinia until the 17th. During this period, the language was what Costa Carreras terms "one of the 'great languages' of medieval Europe". Joanot Martorell, Martorell's outstanding novel of chivalry ''Tirant lo Blanc'' (1490) shows a transition from Medieval to Renaissance values, something that can also be seen in Bernat Metge, Metge's work. The first book produced with movable type in the Iberian Peninsula was printed in Catalan.
Start of the modern eraWith the union of the crowns of Kingdom of Castille, Castille and Crown of Aragon, Aragon in 1479, the use of Spanish language, Spanish gradually became more prestigious and marked the start of the decline of Catalan. Starting in the 16th century, Catalan literature came under the influence of Spanish, and the urban and literary classes became bilingualism, bilingual. With the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), ceded the Northern Catalonia, northern part of Catalonia to , and soon thereafter the Northern Catalan, local Catalan varieties came under the influence of French language, French, which in 1700 became the sole official language of the region. Shortly after the French Revolution (1789), the French First Republic prohibited official use of, and enacted discriminating policies against, the regional languages of France, such as Catalan, Alsatian language, Alsatian, Breton language, Breton, Occitan language, Occitan, Flemish, and Basque language, Basque.
France: 19th to 20th centuriesFollowing the French establishment of the colony of French Algeria, Algeria from 1830 onward, it received several waves of Catalan-speaking settlers. People from the Spanish Alacant province settled around Oran, whereas Algiers received immigration from Northern Catalonia and Menorca. Their speech was known as ''patuet''. By 1911, the number of Catalan speakers was around 100,000. After the declaration of independence of Algeria in 1962, almost all the Catalan speakers fled to Northern Catalonia (as ''Pieds-Noirs'') or Alacant. The government of France formally recognizes only French as an official language. Nevertheless, on 10 December 2007, the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales officially recognized Catalan as one of the languages of the department and seeks to further promote it in public life and education.
Spain: 18th to 20th centuriesThe decline of Catalan continued in the 16th and 17th centuries. The defeat of the pro-Habsburg coalition in the War of Spanish Succession (1714) initiated a series of Nueva planta decrees, laws which, among other centralizing measures, imposed the use of Spanish language, Spanish in legal documentation all over Spain. However, the 19th century saw a Catalan literary revival (), which has continued up to the present day. This period starts with Bonaventura Carles Aribau, Aribau's ''Ode to the Homeland'' (1833); followed in the second half of the 19th century, and the early 20th by the work of Jacint Verdaguer, Verdaguer (poetry), Narcís Oller, Oller (realist novel), and Àngel Guimerà, Guimerà (drama). In the 19th century, the region of Carche, in the province of Murcia was repopulated with Catalan speakers from the Land of Valencia. The Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939) saw a brief period of tolerance, with most restrictions against Catalan being lifted. Despite orthographic standardization in 1913 and the official status of the language during the Second Spanish Republic, the Francoist Spain, Francoist dictatorship banned the use of Catalan in schools and in the public administration between 1939 and 1975. Francisco Franco, Franco's desire for a homogenous Spanish population resonated with some Catalonians in favor of his regime, primarily members of the upper class, who began to reject the use of Catalan. In addition to the loss of prestige for Catalan and the prohibition of its use in schools, migration during the 1950s into Catalonia from other parts of Spain also contributed to the diminished use of the language. These migrants were often unaware of the existence of Catalan, and thus felt no need to learn or use it. Despite all of these hardships, Catalan continued to be used privately within households, and was able to survive after the end of Franco's dictatorship.
Present daySince the Spanish transition to democracy (1975–1982), Catalan has been institutionalized as an official language, language of education, and language of mass media; all of which have contributed to its increased prestige. In , there is an unparalleled large bilingualism, bilingual European Stateless nation, non-state linguistic community. The teaching of Catalan is mandatory in all schools, but it is possible to use Spanish for studying in the public education system of Catalonia in two situations – if the teacher assigned to a class chooses to use Spanish, or during the learning process of one or more recently arrived immigrant students. There is also some intergenerational shift towards Catalan. According to the Statistical Institute of Catalonia, in 2013 the Catalan language is the second most commonly used in Catalonia, after Spanish language, Spanish, as a native or self-defining language: 7% of the population self-identifies with both Catalan and Spanish equally, 36.4% with Catalan and 47.5% only Spanish. In 2003 the same studies concluded no language preference for self-identification within the population above 15 years old: 5% self-identified with both languages, 44.3% with Catalan and 47.5 with Spanish. To promote use of Catalan, the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalonia's official Autonomous government) spends part of its annual budget on the promotion of the use of Catalan in Catalonia and in other territories, with entities such as (''Consortium for Linguistic Normalization'') In , Catalan has always been the sole official language. Since the promulgation of the Constitution of Andorra, 1993 constitution, several policies favoring Catalan have been enforced, like Catalan medium education. On the other hand, there are several language shift processes currently taking place. In the Northern Catalonia area of France, Catalan has followed the same trend as the other minority languages of France, with most of its native speakers being 60 or older (as of 2004). Catalan is studied as a foreign language by 30% of the primary education students, and by 15% of the secondary. The cultural association promotes a network of community-run schools engaged in Catalan language immersion programs. In Alicante province, Catalan is being replaced by Spanish language, Spanish and in Alghero by Italian language, Italian. There is also well ingrained diglossia in the , Ibiza, and to a lesser extent, in the rest of the Balearic islands.
Classification and relationship with other Romance languagesOne classification of Catalan is given by Pierre Bec, Pèire Bèc: * Romance languages ** Italo-Western languages *** Western Romance languages **** Gallo-Iberian languages ***** Gallo-Romance languages (alternatively classified as Iberian Romance languages, Iberian Romance language) ****** Occitano-Romance languages (alternatively classified as Iberian Romance languages#Family tree, East Iberian language) ******* Catalan language However, the ascription of Catalan to the Occitano-Romance languages, Occitano-Romance branch of Gallo-Romance languages is not shared by all linguists and philologists, particularly among Spanish ones, such as Ramón Menéndez Pidal. Catalan bears varying degrees of similarity to the linguistic varieties subsumed under the cover term ''Occitan language'' (see also Occitan#Differences between Occitan and Catalan, 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.
Relationship with other Romance languagesCatalan shares many traits with the other neighboring Romance languages (Occitan, French, Italian language, Italian, Sardinian language, Sardinian as well as Spanish and Portuguese among others). However, despite being spoken mostly on the Iberian Peninsula, Catalan has marked differences with the Iberian Romance languages, Iberian Romance group (Spanish language, Spanish and Portuguese language, Portuguese) in terms of pronunciation, grammar, and especially vocabulary; showing instead its closest affinity with languages native to France and northern Italy, particularly Occitan language, Occitan and to a lesser extent Gallo-Romance (Franco-Provençal language, Franco-Provençal, French language, French, Gallo-Italian languages, Gallo-Italian). According to Ethnologue, the lexical similarity between Catalan and other Romance languages is: 87% with Italian; 85% with Portuguese and Spanish; 76% with Ladin language, Ladin; 75% with Sardinian; and 73% with Romanian. During much of its history, and especially during the Francoist Spain, Francoist dictatorship (1939–1975), the Catalan language was ridiculed as a mere dialect of Spanish language, Spanish. This view, based on political and ideological considerations, has no linguistic validity. Spanish and Catalan have important differences in their sound systems, lexicon, and grammatical features, placing the language in features closer to Occitan language, Occitan (and French language, French). There is evidence that, at least from the 2nd century , the vocabulary and phonology of Roman Tarraconensis was different from the rest of Roman Hispania. Differentiation arose generally because Spanish, Asturian language, Asturian, and Galician-Portuguese share certain peripheral archaisms (Spanish , Asturian and Portuguese vs. Catalan , Occitan "to boil") and innovatory regionalisms (Sp , Ast vs. Cat , Oc "bullock"), while Catalan has a shared history with the Western Romance innovative core, especially Occitan. Like all Romance languages, Catalan has a handful of native words which are unique to it, or rare elsewhere. These include: * verbs: 'to fasten; transfix' > 'to compose, write up', > 'to combine, conjugate', > 'to wake; awaken', 'to thicken; crowd together' > 'to save, keep', > 'to miss, yearn, pine for', 'to investigate, track' > Old Catalan ''enagar'' 'to incite, induce', > OCat ''ujar'' 'to exhaust, fatigue', > 'to appease, mollify', > 'to reject, refuse'; * nouns: > 'pomace', > 'reedmace', > 'catarrh', > 'snowdrift', > 'ardor, passion', > 'brake', > 'avalanche', > 'edge, border', > 'fish species', 'live coal' > 'spark', > ''tardaó'' > 'autumn'. The Gothic language, Gothic superstrate produced different outcomes in Spanish and Catalan. For example, Catalan "mud" and "to roast", of Germanic origin, contrast with Spanish and , of Latin origin; whereas Catalan "spinning wheel" and "temple", of Latin origin, contrast with Spanish and , of Germanic origin. The same happens with Arabic language, Arabic loanwords. Thus, Catalan "large earthenware jar" and "tile", of Arabic origin, contrast with Spanish and , of Latin origin; whereas Catalan "oil" and "olive", of Latin origin, contrast with Spanish and . However, the Arabic element in Spanish is generally much more prevalent. Situated between two large linguistic blocks (Iberian Romance and Gallo-Romance), Catalan has many unique lexical choices, such as "to miss somebody", "to calm somebody down", and "reject".
Catalan-speaking territoriesTraditionally Catalan-speaking territories are sometimes called the (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.
Number of speakersThe number of people known to be fluent in Catalan varies depending on the sources used. A 2004 study did not count the total number of speakers, but estimated a total 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.Población según lengua habitual. Datos comparados 2003–2008. Cataluña. Año 2008
Level of knowledge(% of the population 15 years old and older).
Social use(% of the population 15 years old and older).
PhonologyCatalan phonology varies by dialect. Notable features include: * Marked contrast of the vowel pairs and , as in other Western Romance languages, other than Spanish language, Spanish. * Lack of diphthongization of Latin short , , as in Galician language, Galician and Portuguese language, Portuguese, but unlike French, Spanish, or Italian. * Abundance of diphthongs containing , as in Galician and Portuguese. In contrast to other Romance languages, Catalan has many monosyllabic words, and these may end in a wide variety of consonants, including some consonant clusters. Additionally, Catalan has final obstruent devoicing, which gives rise to an abundance of such couplets as "(male friend") vs. ("female friend"). Central Catalan pronunciation is considered to be standard for the language. The descriptions below are mostly representative of this variety. For the differences in pronunciation between the different dialects, see the section on #Dialect pronunciation section, pronunciation of dialects in this article.
VowelsCatalan has inherited the typical vowel system of , with seven stressed phonemes: , a common feature in Western Romance languages, Western Romance, with the exception of Spanish language, Spanish. Balearic dialect, Balearic also has instances of stressed . Dialects differ in the different degrees of vowel reduction, and the incidence of the pair . In Central Catalan, unstressed vowels reduce to three: ; ; remains distinct. The other dialects have different vowel reduction processes (see the section #Dialect pronunciation section, pronunciation of dialects in this article).
ConsonantsThe consonant system of Catalan is rather conservative. * has a dark l, velarized allophone in syllable coda position in most dialects. However, is velarized irrespective of position in Eastern dialects like Majorcan and standard Eastern Catalan. * occurs in Balearic, Algherese dialect, Algherese, Valencian#Consonants, standard Valencian and some areas in southern Catalonia. It has betacism, merged with elsewhere. * Voiced obstruents undergo final-obstruent devoicing: . * Voiced stops become lenition, lenited to approximants in syllable onsets, after continuants: > , > , > . Exceptions include after lateral consonants, and after . In coda position, these sounds are realized as stops, except in some Valencian dialects where they are lenited. * There is some confusion in the literature about the precise phonetic characteristics of , , , . Some sources describe them as "postalveolar". Others as "back alveolo-palatal", implying that the characters would be more accurate. However, in all literature only the characters for palato-alveolar consonant, palato-alveolar affricates and fricatives are used, even when the same sources use for other languages like Polish and Chinese. * The distribution of the two rhotics and closely parallels Spanish phonology#Alternations, that of Spanish. Between vowels, the two contrast, but they are otherwise in complementary distribution: in the onset of the first syllable in a word, appears unless preceded by a consonant. Dialects vary in regards to rhotics in the coda with Western Catalan generally featuring and Central Catalan dialects featuring a weakly trilled unless it precedes a vowel-initial word in the same prosodic unit, in which case appears. * In careful speech, , , may be gemination, geminated. Geminated may also occur. Some analyze intervocalic as the result of gemination of a single rhotic phoneme. This is similar to the common analysis of Spanish and Portuguese language, Portuguese rhotics.
SociolinguisticsCatalan sociolinguistics studies the situation of Catalan in the world and the different varieties that this language presents. It is a subdiscipline of Catalan philology and other affine studies and has as an objective to analyze the relation between the Catalan language, the speakers and the close reality (including the one of other languages in contact).
Preferential subjects of study* Dialects of Catalan * Variations of Catalan by class, gender, profession, age and level of studies * Process of linguistic normalization * Relations between Catalan and Spanish language, Spanish or French language, French * Perception on the language of Catalan speakers and non-speakers * Presence of Catalan in several fields: tagging, public function, media, professional sectors
OverviewThe dialects of the Catalan language feature a relative uniformity, especially when compared to other Romance languages; both in terms of vocabulary, semantics, syntax, Morphology (linguistics), morphology, and phonology. Mutual intelligibility between dialects is very high, estimates ranging from 90% to 95%. The only exception is the isolated idiosyncratic Algherese dialect. Catalan is split in two major dialectal blocks: Eastern Catalan, and Western Catalan. The main difference lies in the treatment of unstressed and ; which have merged to in Eastern dialects, but which remain distinct as and in Western dialects. There are a few other differences in pronunciation, verbal morphology, and vocabulary. Western Catalan comprises the two dialects of Northwestern Catalan and ; the Eastern block comprises four dialects: Central Catalan, Balearic dialect, Balearic, Northern Catalan, Rossellonese, and Algherese dialect, Algherese. Each dialect can be further subdivided in several subdialects. The terms "Catalan" and "Valencian language, Valencian" (respectively used in and the ) are two varieties of the same language. There are two institutions regulating the two standard varieties, the Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Institute of Catalan Studies in Catalonia and the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, Valencian Academy of the Language in the Valencian Community. Central Catalan is considered the standard pronunciation of the language and has the highest number of speakers. It is spoken in the densely populated regions of the Barcelona Province (Spain), Barcelona province, the eastern half of the province of Tarragona, and most of the province of Girona. Catalan has an inflectional grammar. Nouns have two grammatical gender, genders (masculine, feminine), and two grammatical number, numbers (singular, plural). Pronouns additionally can have a neuter gender, and some are also inflected for grammatical case, case and T–V distinction, politeness, and can be combined in very complex ways. Verbs are split in several paradigms and are inflected for grammatical person, person, grammatical number, number, grammatical tense, tense, grammatical aspect, aspect, grammatical mood, mood, and grammatical gender, gender. In terms of pronunciation, Catalan has many words ending in a wide variety of consonants and some consonant clusters, in contrast with many other Romance languages.
VowelsCatalan has inherited the typical vowel system of , with seven stressed phonemes: , a common feature in Western Romance languages, Western Romance, except Spanish language, Spanish. Balearic dialect, Balearic has also instances of stressed . Dialects differ in the different degrees of vowel reduction, and the incidence of the pair . In Eastern Catalan (except Majorcan), unstressed vowels reduce to three: ; ; remains distinct. There are a few instances of unreduced , in some words. Algherese dialect, Algherese has lowered to . In Majorcan, unstressed vowels reduce to four: follow the Eastern Catalan reduction pattern; however reduce to , with remaining distinct, as in Western Catalan. In Western Catalan, unstressed vowels reduce to five: ; ; remain distinct. This reduction pattern, inherited from Proto-Romance, is also found in Italian language, Italian and Portuguese language, Portuguese. Some Western dialects present further reduction or vowel harmony in some cases. Central, Western, and Balearic differ in the lexical incidence of stressed and . Usually, words with in Central Catalan correspond to in Balearic and in Western Catalan. Words with in Balearic almost always have in Central and Western Catalan as well. As a result, Central Catalan has a much higher incidence of .
MorphologyWestern Catalan: In verbs, the ending for 1st-person present indicative is in verbs of the 1st conjugation and -∅ in verbs of the 2nd and 3rd conjugations in most of the Valencian Community, or in all verb conjugations in the Northern Valencian Community and Western Catalonia.
VocabularyDespite 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.
StandardsStandard Catalan, virtually accepted by all speakers, is mostly based on Eastern Catalan, which is the most widely used dialect. Nevertheless, the standards of the Valencian Community and the Balearics admit alternative forms, mostly traditional ones, which are not current in eastern Catalonia. The most notable difference between both standards is some tonic accentuation, for instance: (IEC) – (AVL). Nevertheless, AVL's standard keeps the grave accent , while pronouncing it as rather than , in some words like: ('what'), or . Other divergences include the use of (AVL) in some words instead of like in / ('almond'), / ('back'), the use of elided demonstratives ( 'this', 'that') in the same level as reinforced ones () 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 at the same level as or the priority use of morpheme in 1st person singular in present indicative ( verbs): instead of ('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. In this way, for instance, IEC says it is correct writing as much as ('we sing') but the University says that the priority form in the Balearic Islands must be in all fields. Another feature of the Balearic standard is the non-ending in the 1st person singular present indicative: ('I buy'), ('I fear'), ('I sleep'). In Alghero, the IEC has adapted its standard to the Algherese dialect, Algherese dialect. In this standard one can find, among other features: the definite article instead of , special possessive pronouns and determinants ('mine'), ('his/her'), ('yours'), and so on, the use of in the imperfect tense in all conjugations: , , ; the use of many archaic words, usual words in Algherese: instead of ('less'), instead of ('someone'), instead of ('which'), and so on; and the adaptation of weak pronouns in Catalan, weak pronouns. In 2011, the ese government passed a decree approving the statutes of a new language regulator of Catalan in La Franja (the so-called Catalan-speaking areas of Aragon) as originally provided for by Law 10/2009. The new entity, designated as , shall allow a facultative education in Catalan and a standardization of the Catalan language in La Franja.
Status of ValencianValencian is classified as a Western Catalan, Western dialect, along with the Northwestern Catalan, northwestern varieties spoken in Western Catalonia (provinces of Lleida province, Lleida and the western half of Tarragona province, Tarragona). The various forms of Catalan and Valencian are mutually intelligible (ranging from 90% to 95%)Central Catalan has 90% to 95% inherent intelligibility for speakers of Valencian (1989 R. Hall, Jr.), cited in ''Ethnologue''. Linguists, including Valencian scholars, deal with Catalan and Valencian as the same language. The official regulating body of the language of the Valencian Community, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, Valencian Academy of Language (''Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua,'' AVL) declares the linguistic unity between Valencian and Catalan varieties. The AVL, created by the Valencian parliament, is in charge of dictating the official rules governing the use of Valencian, and its standard is based on the Norms of Castelló (''Normes de Castelló''). Currently, everyone who writes in Valencian uses this standard, except the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture (''Acadèmia de Cultura Valenciana'', RACV), which uses for Valencian an independent standard. Despite the position of the official organizations, an opinion poll carried out between 2001 and 2004 showed that the majority of the Valencian people consider Valencian different from Catalan. This position is promoted by people who do not use Valencian regularly. Furthermore, the data indicates that younger generations educated in Valencian are much less likely to hold these views. A minority of Valencian scholars active in fields other than linguistics defends the position of the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture (''Acadèmia de Cultura Valenciana'', RACV), which uses for Valencian a standard independent from Catalan. This clash of opinions has sparked much controversy. For example, during the drafting of the European Constitution in 2004, the Spanish government supplied the European Union, EU with translations of the text into Basque language, Basque, Galician language, Galician, Catalan, and Valencian, but the latter two were identical.
Word choicesDespite 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 has been a tendency towards favoring words of Northern dialects to the detriment of others,
Latin and Greek loanwordsLike other languages, Catalan has a large list of loanwords from Greek and Latin. This process started very early, and one can find such examples in Ramon Llull's work. In the 14th and 15th centuries Catalan had a far greater number of Greco-Latin loanwords than other Romance languages, as is attested for example in Roís de Corella's writings. The incorporation of learned, or "bookish" words from its own ancestor language, Latin language, Latin, into Catalan is arguably another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of Classical Latin, written language and the liturgical language of the Church. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, most literate Catalan speakers were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in Catalan.
Word formationThe process of morphological derivation in Catalan follows the same principles as the other Romance languages, where agglutination is common. Many times, several affixes are appended to a preexisting lexeme, and some sound alternations can occur, for example ("electrical") vs. . Prefixes are usually appended to verbs, as in ("foresee"). There is greater regularity in the process of word-compounding, where one can find compounded words formed much like those in English.
Writing systemCatalan uses the Latin script, with some added symbols and digraphs. The Catalan orthography is systematic and largely phonologically based. Standardization of Catalan was among the topics discussed during the First International Congress of the Catalan Language, held in Barcelona October 1906. Subsequently, the Philological Section of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (IEC, founded in 1911) published the ''Normes ortogràfiques'' in 1913 under the direction of Antoni Maria Alcover and Pompeu Fabra. In 1932, Valencian writers and intellectuals gathered in Castelló de la Plana to make a formal adoption of the so-called ''Normes de Castelló'', a set of guidelines following Pompeu Fabra's Catalan language norms.
GrammarThe grammar of Catalan is similar to other Romance languages. Features include: * Use of definite article, definite and indefinite articles. * Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and article (grammar), articles are inflection, inflected for grammatical gender, gender (masculine and feminine), and grammatical number, number (singular and plural). There is no case (grammar), case inflexion, except in pronouns. * Verbs are highly inflected for person (grammar), person, number (grammar), number, tense (grammar), tense, aspect (grammar), aspect, and mood (grammar), mood (including a subjunctive mood, subjunctive). * There are no modal auxiliary, modal auxiliaries. * Word order is freer than in English.
Gender and number inflectionIn gender inflection, the most notable feature is (compared to Portuguese language, Portuguese, Spanish language, Spanish or Italian language, Italian), the loss of the typical masculine suffix . Thus, the alternance of /, has been replaced by ''ø''/. There are only a few exceptions, like / ("scarce"). Many not completely predictable morphological alternations may occur, such as: * Affrication: / ("insane") vs. / ("ugly") * Loss of : / ("flat") vs. / ("second") * Final obstruent devoicing: / ("felt") vs. / ("said") Catalan has few suppletion, suppletive couplets, like Italian and Spanish, and unlike French. Thus, Catalan has / ("boy"/"girl") and / ("cock"/"hen"), whereas French has / and /. There is a tendency to abandon traditionally gender-invariable adjectives in favor of marked ones, something prevalent in Occitan and French. Thus, one can find / ("boiling") in contrast with traditional /. As in the other Western Romance languages, the main plural expression is the suffix , which may create morphological alternations similar to the ones found in gender inflection, albeit more rarely. The most important one is the addition of before certain consonant groups, a phonetic phenomenon that does not affect feminine forms: / ("the pulse"/"the pulses") vs. / ("the dust"/"the dusts").
DeterminersThe 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 language, Spanish, like ("of + the [plural]"), but not as many as Italian language, Italian (which has , , , etc.). Central Catalan has abandoned almost completely unstressed possessives (, etc.) in favor of constructions of article + stressed forms (, etc.), a feature shared with Italian.
Personal pronounsThe 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). Features include the gender-neutral and the great degree of freedom when combining different unstressed pronouns (65 combinations). Catalan pronouns exhibit T–V distinction, like all other Romance languages (and most European languages, but not Modern English). This feature implies the use of a different set of second person pronouns for formality. This flexibility allows Catalan to use extraposition extensively, much more than French or Spanish. Thus, Catalan can have ("they recommended me to him"), whereas in French one must say , and Spanish . This allows the placement of almost any nominal term as a sentence Topic–comment, topic, without having to use so often the passive voice (as in French or English language, English), or identifying the direct object with a preposition (as in Spanish).
VerbsLike all the Romance languages, Catalan verbal inflection is more complex than the nominal. Suffixation is omnipresent, whereas 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 synthetic indicative perfect with a periphrastic form of ("to go") + infinitive. Catalan verbs are traditionally divided into three conjugations, with vowel themes , , , 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), whereas the third (the subtype of , 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.
SyntaxThe grammar of Catalan follows the general pattern of Western Romance languages. The primary word order is subject–verb–object. However, word order is very flexible. Commonly, verb-subject constructions are used to achieve a semantic effect. The sentence "The train has arrived" could be translated as or . Both sentences mean "the train has arrived", but the former puts a focus on the train, while the latter puts a focus on the arrival. This subtle distinction is described as "what you might say while waiting in the station" versus "what you might say on the train."
Catalan namesIn , every person officially has two surnames, one of which is the father's first surname and the other is the mother's first surname. The law contemplates the possibility of joining both surnames with the Catalan conjunction ''i'' ("and").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"
Sample textSelected text from Manuel de Pedrolo's 1970 novel ("A love affair outside the city").
See also;Organizations * Institut d'Estudis Catalans (Catalan Studies Institute) * Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua (Valencian Academy of the Language) * Òmnium Cultural * Plataforma per la Llengua ;Scholars * Marina Abràmova * Germà Colón * Dominique de Courcelles * Martí de Riquer * Arthur Terry * Lawrence Venuti ;Other * Languages of Catalonia ** Linguistic features of Spanish as spoken by Catalan speakers * Languages of France * Languages of Italy * Languages of Spain * Normes de Castelló * Pompeu Fabra
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External links* Institutions