Days of the Week
Special Features of the Catalan Language: a Romance Language of the West branch
Catalan, a Latin-based language still in use
Catalan (Català) or Valencian (Valencià) is a Romance language, the national language of Andorra and co-official in several regions of Spain. Spain has the majority of active Catalan speakers, and Catalan is the country's second most widely spoken language. It is, as French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Rumanian, a neo-latin language, that is, a language derived from Latin and is spoken or understood by as many as twelve million people who live not only in Andorra and Spain, but also in parts of France and Italy.
- Catalan came into existence about the ninth century from Vulgar Latin on both sides of the eastern part of Pyrenees mountains (counties of Roussillon, Empuries, Besalú, Cerdagne, Urgell, Pallars and Ribagorça).
- Catalan was exported in the thirteenth century to the Balearic Islands and the newly created Valencian Kingdom by the Catalan and Aragonese invaders.
- During the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries the Catalan language was important in the Mediterranean region.
- Barcelona was the pre-eminent city and port of the so-called Aragonese Empire, a confederation nominally ruled by the King of Aragon (Aragon, Catalonia, Roussillon, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, Sicily; and, later Sardinia and Naples.
- All prose writers of this era used the name Catalan for their common language.
- The matter is more complicated among the poets, as they wrote in a sort of artificial Langue d'Oc in the tradition of the troubadors.
During the first half of the 19th century Catalan and Valencian experienced a major revival among urban elites
- The effects of this revival persist to this day.
- During the Franco regime (1939-1975), the use of Catalan was banned, along with other regional languages in Spain; such as, Basque and Galician.
- Following the death of Franco in 1975 and the restoration of democracy, the ban was lifted and the Catalan language is now used in politics, education and the media, including several newspapers.
- Catalan has an important media presence in Spain including two dedicated Catalan TV channels and a Catalan-language national newspaper as well as five regional newspapers are published in Catalan.