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Speaka da lingo?

Learn some Catalan

learn some catalan

Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands are not only part of Spain, but also the 'Països Catalans' (Catalan Countries) where the Catalan language is spoken. Here, language is a very political subject and an indicator of the area's cultural and historic heritage.

To generalise, Catalan is spoken mainly in the home, and Castillian Spanish is the everyday language of commerce and business with native Mallorcans switching bilingually and effortlessly between the two native tongues.

Politicians have occasionally gone too far in promoting and/or defending the Catalan language by insisting that public employees from street cleaners to brain surgeons need to speak it, quite clearly to the detriment of those services.

Now, the authorities want you, the visitors from many countries all over the world, to get to know some useful words and terms in Catalan. They've iniciated a campaign called 'Benvinguts!' which means welcome so that all of us – Brits, Germans, Dutch, French, Italians, and even the Basques can open a conversation with a local and then not understand a single word of the reply.

Over 4 million leaflets have been printed for distribution to hotels, tourist offices, museums, and other places we visitors congregate which give us a few of the basics of Catalan like ‘bon dia’, ‘gràcies’ or ‘bon profit’.

I suppose it's nice to know a few words of the local lingo when you're on your annual holiday but the hotel owners – who'll have most of these leaflets – already think it's a waste of time and money because Spanish is the lingua franca of the island.

So, what useful phrases would you like to learn in Catalan?