A language of Spain

Alternate Names
Catalan-Valencian-Balear, Catalonian, Catalán, Valencian

8,810,000 in Spain, all users. L1 users: 3,710,000 in Spain (European Commission 2012). L2 users: 5,100,000 (European Commission 2012). Total users in all countries: 9,153,310 (as L1: 4,053,310; as L2: 5,100,000).


Aragon, Balearic Islands, Catalonia, and Valencia autonomous communities; Murcia autonomous community: Carche region.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Catalonia Autonomous Community (1979, Autonomy Act, No. 4, Article 3(2,5)). Statutory provincial language in Valencia Autonomous Community (1982, Autonomy Act, No. 9, Article 7), called Valencian in local laws. Statutory provincial language in Aragon Autonomous Community (1982, Autonomy Act, No. 8, Article 7), called LAPAO (Eastern Aragonese) in local laws. Statutory provincial language in Balearic Islands (1983, Statute of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands, No. 2, Article 3(3)).


Catalan-Rousillonese (Northern Catalan), Valencian (Valenciano, Valencià), Balearic (Balear, Eivissenc, Insular Catalan, Mallorqui, Menorqui, Menorquin), Central Catalan, Northwestern Catalan (Aiguavivan, Eastern Aragonese, Lleidatà, Pallarese, Ribagorçan). Standardized variety is a literary composite of several dialects and written form is most similar to Barcelona speech. Pallarese and Ribogorçan dialects less similar to standard Catalan. Benasquese and Aiguavivan people live in isolated valleys and have distinct phonology from their neighbors. Tortosin may be more similar to Valencian. Central Catalan has 90% to 95% inherent intelligibility for speakers of Valencian (1989 R. Hall, Jr.). Lexical similarity: 87% with Italian [ita], 85% with Portuguese [por] and Spanish [spa], 76% with Ladin [lld], 75% with Sardinian [src], 73% with Romanian [ron].


SVO; prepositions; most attributive adjectives come after noun, numbers and possessives before the noun; gender (masculine/feminine); definite and indefinite articles; verb affixes mark person, number; passives; tense; comparatives; 22 consonants, 7 vowels, 4 diphthongs; non-tonal; stress on penultimate syllable.

Language Use

All domains. Used by all. Also use French [fra], Italian [ita], Logudorese Sardinian [src], Occitan [oci], Spanish [spa]. Used as L2 by Aranese Gascon [oci], Catalan Sign Language [csc].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 60%. Literacy rate in L2: 96%. High literacy in Catalan (60%) is recent. Pallarese and Ribogorçan speakers have less education, less contact with the standard, and live in high valleys of the Pyrenees. Some Valencian desire separate literature. Radio. TV. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1478–1993. Agency: Real Acadèmia de Cultura Valenciana (RACV) – Valencian and Institut d’Estudis Catalans – Catalan.


Latin script [Latn].

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