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Here at the University of Birmingham the Hispanic department offers not only Spanish and Portuguese but also the three autonomous languages spoken in and around Spain: Catalan, Galician and Basque. As Catalan students we are often asked “what exactly is ‘Catalan’? Isn’t it just a dialect of Spanish?” As one of the most popular destinations for British tourists, we believe that Catalonia needs to be put back on the map and understood for its own unique culture and identity!
Catalonia is an autonomous region in North Eastern Spain, housing some of Spain’s best known cities such as Barcelona (the region’s capital), Tarragona, Girona, Figueres, Lleida and Sitges. Other frequently visited destinations in which Catalan is spoken include the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menora and Ibiza), the Valencian region of Spain, Alghero (Sardinia, Italy), areas of Southern France, and Andorra (where it is the only official language). It is now spoken by approximately 11 million people, a number which is constantly growing thanks to intensive language planning in the last 35 years.
Over the next few issues, this page will explore the areas of Catalan language and culture that are often perceived and misunderstood as simply ‘Spanish’, and open your eyes to the amazing culture that it truly is.
Fins el proper número!
By Louis Lynch, Hannah Manning, and Georgi Morley
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham