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December 2 2012

Catalan: a language that has survived against the odds


Catalan is not, as some believe, a dialect of Spanish, but a language that developed independently out of the vulgar Latin spoken by the Romans who colonised the Tarragona area. It is spoken by 9 million people in Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Isles, Andorra and the town of Alghero in Sardinia.

Variants of Catalan are spoken in Valencia and the Balearics, which were taken back from the Moors in the 13th century. According to Professor Albert Rossich of the University of Girona (Gerona) these variants reflect the origin of the people who repopulated these areas when the Moors were driven out. Valencia was repopulated with people from Lleida and Tortosa; the Baleares with people from Barcelona and l'Empordà in the north.

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