San Jose State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

Catalan, the Language of Eastern Spain,
and Its Relationships to Castilian Spanish,
Portuguese and Provençal French

Catalan is the Romance language spoken in the coastal region of northeast Spain in the which Barcelona is the principal city. It is said to have more similarity to the Provençal language spoken across the border in France.

Catalonia was once an independent kingdom with an extensive trading network in the western Mediterranean. There is a Catalan-speaking enclave on the northwest coast of Sardinia around the city of Alghero.

Catalan and Portuguese differ linguistically from Castilian in that both are linguistically more conservative than Castilian. The difference in the written languages seems greater than it is verbally because of different spelling conventions in representing the spoken languages. The table below shows a comparison of the different ways the same sounds are depicted in Castilian, Portuguese and Catalan spelling.

Spanish PortugueseCatalanEnglish
ñ nhny ny
ll lhlly_
_an _ão_an_own
_n _m_n_n

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