Written by: Lisa
Barcelona is one of the most popular European destinations to learn Spanish. Since Barcelona is located in the region of Catalonia we often get quite a few people asking us the difference between Catalan and Castilian Spanish and which language they will learn on their language course in Barcelona.
Castilian Spanish is one of the two co-official languages of Spain and is spoken not only by over 40 million people in Spain, but also by over 350 million people worldwide. While the dialects in different regions of the world vary slightly, many non-native Spanish speakers find they don’t notice too much of a difference and are quickly able to adapt to new dialects.
The Catalan language is the other co-official language of Spain and is spoken by more than 7 million people, most notably in the North Eastern part of Spain (and also the South Western part of France). Catalan was suppressed during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco from 1939 to 1975 but today is widely spoken in Barcelona and can be found on most signage throughout the city. While many people think that Catalan is a dialect of Castilian Spanish, it is in fact its own language.
Many parents and students are concerned that if they study Spanish in Barcelona they will learn only Catalan, and won’t be able to use those language skills elsewhere. While you will hear Catalan on the streets and read it on signs, all your classes and social activities and excursions will be conducted in Castilian. The majority of Barcelonans speak both Castilian and Catalan so students studying Spanish in Barcelona have no problem communicating with the locals in shops, restaurants or even when asking for directions on the street. Contact The Learning Traveller today to book your teen summer Spanish immersion program or Gap Year Spanish program in Barcelona!