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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Catalans’ Spanish better than national average

Spain’s Education Minister's claims that Catalonia needs to be "Spanishized" have been dismissed by a newspaper piece that reflects on how Catalan pupils scored higher in Spanish aptitude tests than the national average.

Catalans' Spanish better than national average
President of Catalonia Artur Mas and Spain's Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert (who isn't from Catalonia but is fluent in Catalan). Photo: Lluis Gené/AFP

José Ignacio Wert’s controversial education reform has been called into question yet again by online Spanish daily Público.

His insistence on enforcing Castilian Spanish as a lingua franca in schools in Catalonia has angered many parents and politicians in the region who see the move more as a means of undermining their culture than a way of improving the schooling system.

Parents and politicians are also concerned the new rules will undermine the prestige of the region's own Catalan language.

Official government data published in Publico.es justifies to some extent their scepticism, as Catalan children achieved better results in Spanish than the national average.

In fact, their scores were higher than those of all the other Spanish regions with another official language: Galicia, the Basque Country, the Balearic Islands and Valencia.

Wert’s Lomce educational reform has been widely criticized in other regions, notably with regard to the language issue.

Thousands of teachers and parents took to the streets of the Balearic Islands' four capitals in late September to protest against a new trilingual education law which will place more emphasis on English rather than on Catalan.

But as Wert said a year ago: “Our intention is to Spanishize Catalan pupils so they feel proud to be both Spanish and Catalan and are capable of keeping a healthy balance between the two identities.”

To see the original Ministry of Education report click here.

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

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

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 

Shopping

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

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