July 10, 2010

The Beautiful Catalan Language

You all know how much I adore learning and speaking foreign languages. Barcelona turned out to be the perfect place to combine my knowledge of Italian, French and Spanish, in order to understand the Catalan language, and to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s a really beautiful language to listen to.

One of the reasons I started Serena Italian Imports was so I’d be able to speak and write Italian every day, as most of my vendors in Italy don’t speak English too well. When I’m buying designer costume jewelry  from Angela Caputi, or Italian handbags from Gianni Chiarini, it’s all done in Italian.

Catalan, the other official language- besides Spanish- of the region of Catalunya, is called an Iberian Romance language by some, and a Gallo-Romance language by others. It is also spoken in the country of Andorra, and in a few other places in Europe, including the city of Alghero, on Sardegna. Fascinating!

It turned out to be remarkably easy for me to understand the written word in Barcelona, but- sometimes a word in Catalan seemed to have no rhyme or reason to it- very common words, the derivation of which was impossible for me to discern. Take the word for “closed”- as in the sign on a door indicating whether a store is open or not.

So- in Italian we have “chiuso”, in Spanish we have “cerrado”, in French we have “ferme’” and in Catalan? “TANCAT”. What is the derivation of this? Are any of my readers familiar with Catalan?

Here are a few photos of Barcelona: 

 A little lunch after much sightseeing:

Pastries at Farga

Casa Batllo' by Gaudi'

Our hotel Casa Fuster

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