While the majority of Catalan speakers can be found in Catalonia, both on the Iberian Peninsula territory and the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Menorca, its reach is much wider. Catalan is also the official language of Andorra and can be found in Sardinia, Italy and the region in the south of France known as Northern Catalonia (Catalunya Nord) that was formerly part of the Catalan territory. In the region of Valencia, Spain to the south of Catalonia they speak Valencian, which is widely accepted as a dialect of Catalan though many Valencians consider it to be its own language. All told there are 9 million Catalan speakers worldwide and 11 million people are able to understand it. Catalan is also the ninth most spoken language in the European Union.
Want to hear what Catalan sounds like? Listen to the Poem ‘Deixeu-me Dir’ by Miquel Martí i Pol below.
‘Deixeu-me Dir’ by Miquel Martí i Pol as read by Catalan actress Sílvia Bel, originally posted to NacióDigital.cat
Deixeu-me dir que ja és temps d’oblidar,
que ja és temps de creure un altre cop en la puresa
i de repintar les cases amb colors alegres.
Aquells que han viscut molts anys lluny del poble
seran cridats a retornar
i una nit qualsevol
el vent s’endurà totes les paraules
que hem malmès de tant dir-les sense amor.
I l’endemà serà com si ens alcéssim
després d’una nit de vint segles.
Deixeu-me dir que ja és temps d’estimar,
que ja és temps de creure en els prodigis
i que tant se val de les noies que no hem conegut;
que el poble és com abans
i que algun dia
hi haurà flors al jardí
i vent als arbres
i paraules inventades de nou
només per a nosaltres.
Let Me Say
Let me say that it is now time to forget,
that it is now time to believe in purity again
and to repaint our houses in cheerful colors.
Those who have lived many years far from home
will be called to return
and one of these nights
the wind will carry away all of the words
that we have hurt from saying them so lovelessly.
And the morning after it will be as if we have awoken
after a night twenty centuries long.
Let me say that it is now time to love,
that it is now time to believe in miracles
and that it does not matter about the girls we have not met;
that the town is not as it was
and that one day
there will be flowers in the garden
and wind in the trees
and words that are reinvented
just for us.
(Translation: Jessica Van Riper)