There are over 10 million people who speak Catalan in areas that span four different European countries: Spain, Andorra, France and Italy. Catalan is a co-official language in Spain, along with Spanish, and the only official language of Andorra; and Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is the most popular city that speaks Catalan. Furthermore, Catalan is a very active language on the streets of Catalonia, where the majority of its citizens are bilingual, in the media and in the Internet (Catalan has its own linguistic and cultural domain, .cat). Catalan culture is really distinct and there are many famous Catalan artists who have had a great influence in the world, such as Antoni Gaudí, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies. Catalan authors, like Mercè Rodoreda and Jaume Cabré, are read and translated all over the world; and Catalan food is a central part of the culture. In fact, many of the most influential and best chefs in the world are Catalan: Ferran Adrià, Carme Ruscalleda, or the Roca brothers whose restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, is the second best restaurant in the world.
Because of its Latin roots, nearly identical alphabet and pronunciation rules as Spanish, Catalan is a very easy language to learn for students who are advanced in their Spanish studies. Knowing Catalan on top of Spanish can deepen your knowledge of Spain because Catalan studies are an intrinsic part of Spanish studies. By taking Catalan courses, students will have the opportunity to learn more in depth about an important historical and cultural part of Spain, including the reality of diversity that Spain encompasses regarding languages, cultures, and nationalisms. The Catalan classes offered by the Department of Romance Languages will allow students to develop an expertise in a specific area of study. Furthermore, studying Catalan will broaden the opportunities to participate in study abroad programs in the city of Barcelona.