Catalan or Spanish?

Mar 31st, 2007, 10:38 AM
  #1  
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Catalan or Spanish?

My husband and I are spending a week in Barcelona at the end of July. Neither of us speak Spanish or Catalan. Which language should we try to learn?
alieblitz is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 10:42 AM
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Utilitarians will say Spanish - on the basis that the few hours you devote to it will serve you in good stead if ever you are inclined to visit Ibiza, Tijuana or Quito! But I'd opt for Catalan - better a dozen single words of a language that commands a local affection than a dozen handsome sentences in a tongue that is perceived as foreign.
Hope these thoughts help.
Nicky
www.hiddeneurope.co.uk
hidden_europe is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 11:15 AM
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I live in the Mexican state of Guanajuato which has a very neutral Spanish accent (like US English in Nebraska).
You'll pick up the Catalan you need with a basic background en Espanol.
Buen viaje.
M
mikemo is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 11:25 AM
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My sister and I found that English, our high school Spanish & hand signals worked fine for most of Barcelona. But we did have one interesting encounter: We started to speak Spanish and this gentleman said, "No - catalan o ingles... no espanol." So we spoke English and it was fine.

Our experience was that hard-core Catalonians (sp) spoke English (and preferred us over the Spanish).

Though one helpful thing: the letter combination "tx" in front of a restaurant's name apparently means it serves tapas (or "pinxtos" - peen-chohs). I think our favorite was named txacolin (cha-koh-LEEN).

Have a great time!
cshellen is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:25 AM
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I asked a similar question before our trip to Barcelona. Folks directed me to a couple of "learn Catalan" web sites. One had audio of about three phrases; the other had no audio. I found it impossible to try to learn a language without ever hearing it, so I just brushed up my Spanish, and it worked fine.

missypie is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:52 AM
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"I live in the Mexican state of Guanajuato which has a very neutral Spanish accent (like US English in Nebraska)"

What on earth is a neutral accent? Everyone on the planet's got an accent....not one single exception in six billion of us.


waring is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:54 AM
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The Catalan phrase we used the most was "Bon Dia" instead of "Buenas Dias." Easy to learn and remember as people will say it to you.

Also "si us plau" instead of "por favor" for "please."
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Waring, that's funny. My husband, who is from the Chicago suburbs, says he has a "lack of an accent"....I disagree.
missypie is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:50 AM
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Hi, I am surprised that you feel you can learn catalan in a few weeks. I wish I could. How do you plan to do it?
Graziella5b is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
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As a former language teacher--in a previous lifetmime --unless you and your husband are language prodigies, you are not really going to learn any foreign language in 3 months. As far as I know, Barcelona and its environs, ie the province of Cataluna is the only area that speaks Catalan, but they also must speak Spanish. Therefore, IMO, any language study you do will potentially prove more useful if you spend your brief time on Spanish.
socialworker is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:49 PM
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Language prodigies we are not ! I was just hoping to learn some helpful words and phrases as well as pronounciation. In the end, I'm sure our command of Catalan will be minimal. I feel like when I travel, I should always make an attempt to speak the language no matter how little.
alieblitz is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:53 PM
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waring:

It's a commonly accepted fact among linguists that most languages have a core or pure or neutral accent on which others are variations. The Loire Valley is known to be the locus of neutral or pure French; Tuscany the locus of the same for Italian.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:02 PM
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About the "standard" in any language--the area that supposedly speaks the "pure" language.

In my opinion, there is no such thing. At one point or another a language gets standardized. The people in power determine which dialect will be the standard that everyone will have to learn. That is how Tuscan became standard Italian. Had the Sicilians been in political power, standard "Italian" might be Sicilian dialect.

And I agree that we all have accents even in our native language. Talk to someone long enough in English and you will have a good idea where he comes from--and I am talking about within North America (never mind English English, Australian English, Indian subcontinent English, etc., etc.).
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:02 PM
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"Bon dia" is Catalan for good day! That should carry you through the morning.
Robert2533 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:56 AM
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I live in Barcelona and speak Catalan and Spanish equally well. Don't listen to those who say Spanish will sound foreign. About 65% of Barcelona residents speak Spanish as their first language. 33% speak Catalan. (Official statistics of the pro-catalan government). Everybody understands and speak Spanish and nobody will complain.

If you are only staying for a week if makes a lot more sense to learn a little Spanish, a language spoken in many countries.
Eric_S is offline  

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