Returning teachers vow trilingual war ‘not over’

Schools in Spain's Balearic Islands opened for business again on Monday after a three-week strike against against a new trilingual education law which many argue undermine the role of Catalan in the classroom.

Returning teachers vow trilingual war 'not over'
Teachers in Majorca have vowed to keep fighting trilingual education reforms. Screen grab: YouTube

Primary and secondary school teachers in the archipelago, which includes the islands of Majorca Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera, had been on strike since September 16th in protest against a proposed new trilingual education model (TIL).

The model — proposed by the region's ruling conservative Popular Party — will see a third of all classes held in English, Castellano and Catalan respectively.   

But many educators believe this is aimed at undermining the role of Catalan in the region's classrooms.

Both Castellano and Catalan are widely spoken in the Balearic Islands.

And while teachers have now gone into the classroom, they vow to keep fighting the changes.

"Our return to the school means doing all we can to make sure the TIL is not introduced," a strike committee member told Spain's El País newspaper on Saturday.

"What it definitely doesn't mean is that this is the end of the fight. Instead it's the beginning of another battle on another plain, with another strategy."

On Sunday 29th, a tenth of the islands' population (110,000 people) took part in street demos to voice their discontent about the TIL.

On Sunday October 6th, meanwhile, some 30 people gathered in the city of Palma de Mallorca to support the reforms.

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The essential Catalan phrases you need in Catalonia

Even if you speak Spanish, if you're living in Catalonia, it's a good idea to learn some Catalan too. Here are some basic phrases you need to get by.

The essential Catalan phrases you need in Catalonia
Image: Photos_Marta/ Pixabay

While everyone in the bigger Catalan cities such as Barcelona or Tarragona will speak Spanish, it’s a good idea to learn some Catalan too.

Not only is this sure to win you some brownie points with the locals, but it will enrich your experience of living in the region and allow you to make new friends. This is particularly true when travelling to the smaller towns and villages in rural Catalonia too.


Greetings are a great way to start out practicing your Catalan. Your neighbours will be delighted and appreciate greetings in their local language. Because the phrases are short, they’re easy to remember and don’t invite long answers that you won’t be able to understand.

Bon dia – Good day

This phrase is used all the time in Catalonia, even more so than ‘Hola’. You would use it for greeting someone anytime up until the afternoon, after which you would say 'Bona tarda'. 

Encantat! Molt de gust! – Pleased to meet you.

Com estás? – How are you?

Bona nit – Good night

Greetings in Catalan. Image: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels


Being polite

Another very easy way to slip in some Catalan here and there is to use it in small polite phrases. Even if you don’t know the Catalan for the whole phrase, you could easily add please or thank you on the end.

Si us plau – Please

Moltes gràcies – Thank you very much

De res – You’re welcome

Saying thank you in Catalan. Image: Ka Young Seo / Pixabay 

Eating out

When you’re a bit more confident with your Catalan, eating out is the perfect time to put it all into practice. You don’t have to keep the conversation going a long time and there are particular useful phrases that you can memorise.  

Teniu una taula per dos? – Do you have a table for two?

La carta, si us plau – The menu please

El comte, si us plau – The bill please

No puc menjar… – I can’t eat…
This one may be useful if there’s something that you’re allergic to or can’t eat, such as gluten or dairy for example.

Eating out. Image: Ji-yeon Yun / Pixabay 


Like eating out, shopping is another perfect chance to put your Catalan out in the real world.

Quant costa això? – How much does that cost?

Tens un altre color? – Do you have a different colour?

Tens una talla més gran/petita? – Do you have a bigger/smaller size?

Pots ajudar-me? – Can you help me?


READ MORE: Ten colourful Catalan phrases you should learn right now