Castellian vs. Catalan in Barcelona

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Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:23 PM
  #1
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Castellian vs. Catalan in Barcelona

I studied Spanish for 8 years. Now we are going to Barcelona. Will I be understood if the natives speak Catalan? Vice versa? Or if they hear my Castellian/South American Spanish will they respond in the same? Just wondering if they are bilingual?
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Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:27 PM
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They are usually tri-lingual, and even quadri-lingual (if that's a word). Natives of Barcelona speak Catalan and Spanish, usually French as well, and very often English.

I woudn't worry about. Non-natives are not expected to know Catalan, although it is nice if you have a few phrases. If you'd rather not speak English in order to improve your Spanish, people will not take it amiss.
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Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:29 PM
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Castilian or castellano is widely spoken in Catalunya. In fact the Catalans take great pride in speaking a Castilian that is as good as the madrileños.

Additionally the Spanish are extremely gacious when someone who speaks Sapnish who is not a native.
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Jan 23rd, 2011, 09:06 AM
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I'm a native speaker of Latinamerican Spanish and I had no trouble whatsoever talking to anybody. Absolutely everybody speaks Spanish or "Castellano".

For me, Catalan is easy to read, but I can't say the same about understanding. However, like I said before, everybody speaks Spanish and except for accent and a few words and expressions here and there, I had no trouble engaging in a conversation with anybody.

It's like British and American English.
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Jan 23rd, 2011, 09:27 AM
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Especially in Barcelona, and especially in restaurants, hotels, shops, you can hardly tell in advance what the first or preferred language of your counterpart will be.
Nevertheless, everybody with Catalan as 1st language will speak Castilian as fluently or easily.
Just don't feel sad if they switch as easily to English to speed up the conversation

Official road signs are in Catalan only in Catalunya but unless you rent a car that will have no real importance for you. The tourist-related stuff, like metro/bus signage is tri-lingual anyway. Same with most museums and menus should come at least in catalan/castilian.

If you want to get a feeling of the Catalan /vs. Castilian language you can read this BCN daily in either language:
www.elperiodico.cat (catalan); www.elperiodico.com (castilian)
Or listen in to one of the many Catalan-language radio stations that also broadcast on the web:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ons_in_Catalan

Understanding spoken Catalan is a bit difficult as the language differs often a lot from Castilian, especially when vowels change their pronunciation or you hear sounds like the "j" in French journal or lots of "tch" sounds as in English watch. But no native Catalan speaker will expect you to follow his conversation in Catalan or that you know the language. As zeppole said, a few phrases are easy to learn and will do nicely. You get extra points if you don't lisp the "C" in Barcelona

Bon viatge!
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Jan 23rd, 2011, 09:34 AM
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"Nevertheless, everybody with Catalan as 1st language will speak Castilian as fluently or easily.
Just don't feel sad if they switch as easily to English to speed up the conversation "

A taxi drivers in Barcelona told me he was not fluent in Catalan and all young waiters wanted to "practice"
English! Nothing to worry about.
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