Catalan resources

Almost a book worth’s of detailed articles on Catalan grammar


Hey Swedishfinngermanophile, I just wanted to thank you for gathering all of this content that will surely be helpful for people like me who want to learn català. I have been checking everyday on LingQ just to see if there is any new information regarding the addition of the language to LingQ. I cannot wait until I am able to start using this program for Català as I did for Spanish. It is by far the best tool to acquire new vocabulary, learning the grammar, keeping progress, and so much more.

I found this podcast called “mediats i serioses on iTunes, it seems to be about TV and film history. At the time of writing they have 25 episodes, some of the series/films that are talked about are Friends, The Godfather, Game of Thrones the docus about Michael Jackson and Madeline McCain and Chernobyl.

There are also two long videos relating to the recent events in Catalunya (on TV3 youtube). These are Entrevista president de la Generalitat - Quim Torra: “Veig la gent determinada i ho tornarem a fer” and 1-O, cas obert.

La Corbella
La Corbella és una revista semestral.

Any youtube catalan speaking chanel with catalan captions to import?

serie con subtítulos
”con si fos ahir”


A little recommendation for those learning Catalan. What I personally watch more often are Catalan comedy shows, which I think is one of the most interesting parts of Catalonian media. I find they are a wonderful way for learners to get exposed to the language. In many cases there are no subtitles but if you have a good level in a related language, such as Spanish, and have already gone through Lingq mini-stories and feel that you’re already getting used to the language, I think it’s a good exercise to just dive in and find out how much you can understand based on your current knowledge and the clues you can take from the visuals. The combination sometimes results in “comprehensible input”, as S. Krashen would put it. Visuals are particularly helpful in this kind of comedy shows. You can also catch some new words along the way and look them up later on.
I sometimes do that myself in languages such as Ukrainian or Norwegian, about which I know a bit (grammar, basic vocabulary,…) and which are close enough to languages I know that I may expect to get the gist of what’s being said.
This series, for example, I find interesting:

And there are classics such as “Polònia”, which satirizes current politics:

Or “Crackovia”, about football: [Edit:] I mean, soccer

P.S. Yes, “Polonia” (Poland) is used as a nickname for Catalonia, and “Polish” for the Catalan people. I have my own theory about why that is so. If someone’s interested in hearing it, let me know

I’d be interested in hearing that although, I have a feeling I might already know to what you are referring to. The one theory that I have heard is that since Catalan has lots of words that ends in consonants (a rarity in other Latin languages), it sound Slavic in nature according to its detractors. Also Catalonia seems to be quite republican (anti-monarchical) and was a stronghold for the communist during the civil war.

Edit: I agree that it never hurts to challenge yourself in understanding a TV program, reading a complicated book or whatever. If you take 15 minutes to watch or read something and don’t understand you’ll know that you need to keep pushing.

If you’ll find out that you’ll manage to read/watch it, it will spur you on to read/watch more native content. That has been at least my experience.

I’ve heard that theory and a few others but I don’t agree. First things first, Catalan doesn’t sound particulary “Slavic”. Portuguese fits that bill much more closely, here there’s an interesting discussion about this point and why it’s so (highly recommended): Why Does Portuguese Sound Like Russian?! (or Polish) - YouTube
Second, I wouldn’t find that a point in favor of its detractors. I like the sound of Portuguese and I like the sound of Slavic languages. Their similarity in sound is not a criticism at all and it wouldn’t be either if it applied to Catalan.
Btw, the above channel also discusses why Greek and Spanish sound similar, which is true and, again, no criticism of either language: Why Does Greek Sound Like Spanish?! - YouTube

As I’ve said, I think that most popular theories are wrong. The one that I defend happens to be of interest to language learners, particularly those interested in Romance Language, as yourself.
I came to this conclusion by reading Victor Hugo’s novel “Notre Dame de Paris” (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in the most popular English translation). It’s a wonderful and at the same time rather bizarre piece of work. One of its main recurrent themes is confusion and misunderstandings. For example, Esmeralda’s lover Phoebus constantly misremembers her name. Esmeralda sings in Spanish but, when asked, thinks it’s Egyptian, and so on. In general, most characters think that Roma people (“Gypsies”) come from Egypt,: a common misconception from which, e.g., the name “gitano”/“Gypsy” comes from.

In one particularly important scene, Esmeralda and Quasimodo’s origins are revealed. I won’t spoil that plot point (commonly lost in the adaptations to other media) but it’s presented to the reader by means of a conversation among a group of women. As they speak, one of them mentions some Gypsy people, and the following exchange occurs:

Translation of the sentences in bold:
“— for those are also Egyptians [for Roma/Gypsies] from Poland [Pologne]”
“No. …They say that they come from Spain and from Catalonia [Catalogne]”
" Catalonia? Maybe. Poland [Pologne], Catalonia [Catalogne], Valogne. I always confuse those three provinces_"

It makes sense for the Poland-Catalonia association to have originated in the French language, in which the names of the two regions sound similar and where some people may have had the vague idea that they refer to two zones, one to the South, another to the East that may “kind of” surround France itself and from where some ignorant and suspicious people [as there are in every nation] may consider dangerous foreigners to come from. It is that ignorance and close-mindedness that is represented and mocked in the above excerpt. Neither in Spanish nor in Catalan do the names sound similar: Cataluña/Polonia; Catalunya/Polònia.

I’ve never seen this hypothesis expounded anywhere else but I do claim that this French pun is the origin of this way of referring to Catalonia. I would even argue that this very passage from a very influential novel is the origin of the expression.
Those that read it must’ve found it amusing and that helped spread the idea among those closer to the region, including Catalonia itself and the rest of Spain, even if the starting point has been forgotten and replaced with unfounded explanations.

A little final disclaimer, if someone’s still patient enough to be reading: I dislike this expression outside its appearance in the novel itself, where it’s justified as a satyre of xenophobia, and I am highly critical of its continued use. Whereas it’s not really meant as a slur and it’s often used affectionately or, at least, as a mild form of humor and it has certainly been embraced by Catalans themselves as evident from the names of the shows I mentioned., it still indulges in willing ignorance and conveys a sense of fake “foreignness” and “interchangeability” of both Catalans and Poles.

Wow that’s quite interesting, I would have never thought of that but when you mentioned it, it does make much more sense then, the theory that I mentioned. This will also serve me a reminder to read more classics.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is actually one of the classics that I once read a few chapter before I got distracted and abandoned my “read as many classics as you can in your early 20’s”.

Nota Bene: I should probably clarify a bit my wording even if those who know me from these forum know that I myself don’t hold these views (regarding the "inferiority of Catalan or Slavic languages).

What I meant when I said to the detractors was that those people who would use the words “polaco” in a truly hostile way, are most likely the sort of people to whom it would be a valid reason to disparage the language on the account of “sounding Slavic”.

In terms of how languages sound the Slavic language might not be the prettiest to my ears but I do appreciate them. And since I have finally worked up my confidence that I am able to learn some difficult languages I have started my Russian journey on Duolingo and my familiarizing myself with the alphabet.

I did understand your point and the fact that you weren’t voicing your own opinions in that respect.
I myself love the sound of Russian and Ukrainian, for example.
Oh, yes I do recommend reading classics, French, Russian, Spanish, … “Notre Dame” in particular may be a bit daunting in the beginning because it’s such an outlandish narration, totally different from the usual idea of a novel and even rather atypical in comparison with other works by Hugo. And it bears almost no relationship in overall theme and atmosphere to any of its many film adaptations. Even the title of the English translation is very unfortunate as it misrepresents the message and main protagonist of the book, which is the Notre Dame church, not Quasimodo. The closest work in spirit is the French/Canadian musical, which I am also very fond of: Notre-Dame de Paris (comédie musicale) — Wikipédia
I still love the novel, anyway.

As for classical French novels, my all-time favorite is “Les liaisons dangereuses” both because of the delicious ancien régime language and the vivid characters and all the intrigue. In contrast to “Notre Dame” there are very good adaptations of it, among them the 1988 film by Stephen Frears

P.S. This conversation makes me think of the cathedral “Notre Dame” itself. Hugo wrote his novel when it was in disrepair. His goal was to demand its restoration, which eventually succeeded. Now it’s living hard times once more. It’s such a wonderful work of art and it was so sad what happened to it.

" I did understand your point"

Yep, I thought so, I’d thought I still state the obvious.

“Hugo wrote his novel when it was in disrepair. His goal was to demand its restoration …”

I remember seeing it in flames on TV and deciding to listen to the news rapports late in to the night. One thing that caught my attention was the fact that a large portion of Parisians felt quite ambiguously towards the church burning.

A lot of people voiced their chagrin at the fact that it was “The Notre Dame” that was burning, so in a way Hugo has lead the restoration campaign twice in a way.

I found this book from 1962 written by a pro-Catalan independence author from Valencia about their national identity. I thought it might be an interesting read for those who are interested in politics or in Catalan culture in general.

Pels qui estigueu aprenent català, a Netflix trobareu una sèrie que es diu the hockey girls (les noies de l’hoquei) que originalment és parlada en català, també té subtítols en català, aprofiteu-vos-en!.

e-books catalan

Libros en papel y digital en catalán gratuitos


Catalán/Nivell I - Wikilibros

Català per a castellanoparlants