Learn Catalan

After several years of living in Catalonia, I found myself absorbing the Catalan language. One day I realised that I was following quite a bit of the Catalan conversation that I was listening to. Therefore, I decided to try to learn a little Catalan. That way I could take part in the Catalan conversations going on around me.

I originally came to Barcelona for one year in order to learn Spanish. Several years later I’m still living here and my Spanish has improved enormously – having spent many hours taking Spanish language lessons. However, there are two languages spoken in Barcelona.


Learn Catalan in Barcelona

The Catalan language is a very important part of the Catalan culture. For people like me, who have decided to settle here, I think it’s worth making an effort to learn Catalan, at least the basics. It’s certainly very much appreciated by the Catalan people.

Here are some resources for learning Catalan in Barcelona city:

Universitat de Barcelona

The Universitat de Barcelona (University of Barcelona) has some very good online resources to learn Catalan. Starting with Catalan for Travellers, there is also Dialogues in Catalan, an English to Catalan phrase book and two Living in Catalonia sections: Let’s Start to Talk and Visual Vocabulary. This is all part of the Survival Section.

For more advanced students there is an Elementary, Intermediate level and Advanced levels to explore. This is an excellent place to start.


Free online Catalan language lessons

The Catalan Government – Generalitat de Catalunya – offers Catalan courses with two methods of learning: self-managed learning which is free of charge and learning with a tutor which is charged for. Currently priced at €90 the tutored course is very good value.

Parla Cat

The self-learning course enables you to learn Catalan in your own time and at your own pace.

The tutor-based learning lets you learn with the support of a teacher. You’re given classroom lessons, and the use of the online support community.

With both methods the student is given all the resources necessary to study. Course levels range from complete beginners to advanced.

These government run courses are managed through the website parla.cat, and can be viewed in Catalan, Castellano, English, French and German.

A demonstration of the course is available, as well as an online test to determine your level.


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

International students of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona can receive free survival Catalan language courses (Català de supervivència). For more advanced Catalan lessons the cost is subsidised by the university. Lessons are a mixture of classroom-based lessons and self-instruction.


There are several private language schools in Barcelona that teach Catalan, here are a few:

Catalan language courses for students who are already comfortable with speaking Spanish. The course introduces students to day-to-day Catalan:

Escuela Parla
This school offers a good range of Catalan courses of different levels, as well as private and summer classes for adults.

BNC Languages
Plenty of courses to learn Catalan here. There are courses throughout the day and even on Saturday mornings. Various levels with group or private lessons.

Escuela Mediterráneo
Catalan courses with six levels and four hours per week with flexibility on days.

Language Exchanges

For practicing your newly learnt Catalan, you can find a language exchange partner by registering online and creating a profile at www.conversationexchange.com.