• Print

Catalan, a Romance language

Catalan is an Indo-European language, descended from Latin, which forms part of the family of Western Romance languages along with French, Occitan, Romansh, Spanish, Galician and Portuguese. As a Western Romance language, Catalan occupies an intermediate position between the Gallo-Romance group (French, Occitan) and the Iberian Romance group (Spanish, Galician and Portuguese). Until the fifteenth century, it was assigned to the first group, but since then it has been seen as closer to the second.

 

The following are characteristics of the Catalan language, shared with other languages in some cases:

Spelling

- Presence of geminated "L", a double-L with a dot in the middle (l·l, L·L

Vowels

-Eight vowel sounds, seven of which can be stressed:

[a], [ε], [e], [i], [ɔ], [o], [u]

The sound [ˆɘ] appears in unstressed positions

- Neutralisation of unstressed a, e as [ɘˆ] and unstressed o as [u] in Eastern Catalan

- Frequent occurrence of the following diphthongs:

ai (mai, caire)                   au (trau, caure)

ei (eina, llei)                     eu (creure, heura)

oi (noi, boina)                   iu (niu, escriure)

ui (cuina, fruita)                ou (nou, pou).

Consonants

-There are twenty-one consonant sounds:

1

[p]

pol, copa, cop

12

[ʒ]

gec, boja

2

[b]

bol

13

[tʃ]

txec, cotxe, maig

3

[t]

tic, rata, mot

14

[dʒ]

platja

4

[d]

dic

15

[m]

mat, amic, prim

5

[k]

col, roca, poc

16

[n]

nou, mina, n

6

[ɡ]

gat

17

[l]

laca, pala, pal

7

[f]

foc, bufar, baf

18

[ɲ]

nyap, canya, pany

8

[v]

vent, rave

19

[ʎ]

llac, callar, tall

9

[s]

suc, massa, dos, cel, oci, ça, plaça, lluç

20

[r]

cera

10

[Ζ]

zero, cosa, onze

21

[rr]

rosa, serra,

11

[ʃ]

xec, baixa, boix

 

 

- Presence of palatal "L" [ʎ] in all positions: lloc, palla, clavell

- Maintenance of final consonant clusters in words such as:

-rt, -rd (curt, sord)             -rp, -rb (serp, corb)              -rc, -rg (corc, amarg)

-st (llest)                           -sp (cresp)                           -sc (tosc)

-lt (alt)                              -lp, -lb (talp, alb)                  -lc (calc)

-nt (vent)                          -mp (camp)                          -nc, -ng (ronc, sang)

Morphology

- Presence of many monosyllables:

un, dos, tres, cinc, sis, set, vuit, nou, deu, cent, mil

braç, cap, coll, cor, dent, dit, front, , nas, peu, ull

all, brou, carn, llet, nap, ou, pa, peix, sal, suc, vi

arç, clop, faig, om, pi, teix, tell, vern

blanc, beix, blau, falb, glauc, groc, gris, roig, verd

- In the system of weak personal pronouns, the neutral pronoun "ho" is a very particular case among the Romance languages.

- There are two forms of the past: simple past and periphrastic past. The latter is formed with an auxiliary verb (anar) and the infinitive of the corresponding verb (vaig + INF, etc.).

The second is the only one normally used in most dialects.

simple past                    periphrastic past

parlí                                   vaig parlar

parlares                            vas parlar

parlà                                  va parlar

parlàrem                           vam parlar

parlàreu                            vau parlar

parlaren                            van parlar

Lexicon

- The lexical base is Latin (cadira, ull) with some pre-Roman elements (esquerra, tancar). However, historical factors have led to borrowings from different sources: especially Germanic (blau, guerra), Arabic (setrill, magatzem), French (xalet, xofer), Spanish (taquilla, tarda), Italian (espagueti, aquarel·la), and English (xou, càmping).

- Comparison of the Romance languages

Latin

Catalan

Occitan

French

Italian

Spanish

Portuguese

Romanian

patre

pare

paire

père

padre

padre

pai

tată

fīlĭu

fill

filh

fils

figlio

hijo

filho

fiu

tabŭla / mensa

taula

taula

table

tavola

mesa

mesa

masă

fenĕstra / ventu / januella

finestra

fenèstra

fenêtre

finestra

ventana

janela

fereastră

cocīna

cuina

cosina

cuisine

cucina

cocina

cozinha

bucătărie

formatĭcu / cāesu

formatge

formatge

fromage

formaggio

queso

queijo

brânză

lacte

llet

lach

lait

latte

leche

leite

lapte

capra

cabra

cabra

chèvre

capra

cabra

cabra

capră

nŏcte

nit

nuèch

nuit

notte

noche

noite

noapte

plŏia

pluja

pluèja

pluie

pioggia

lluvia

chuva

ploaie

aestīvu / verānus

estiu

estiu

été

estate

verano

verão

vară