Catalan is a very old Romance language (the first written texts date from the 12th century), with an excellent vitality and future prospects.
Catalan is spoken throughout parts of four different states (Spain, France, Andorra and Italy); 10 million people speak it and it is the 9th language in the EU in number of speakers. In Catalonia it is used as a matter of course in all spheres of everyday life: it is the language used in education, culture, much of the media network, sport, science…
Catalan literature is one of the great literatures of the world, with outstanding figures ranging from Ramon Llull and Joanot Martorell to Mercè Rodoreda, Josep Pla and Baltasar Porcel. Catalan is currently the 23rd most translated language in the world.
The following links will enable you to find more information about Catalonia and Catalan, a few resources for learning the language and a compilation of useful phrases translated into different languages:
Confederation of Commerce of Catalonia
This is a welcome-to-Catalonia guide. It is available in Catalan, Spanish, French, English, German, Italian, Russian and Chinese. It includes a brief introduction to different aspects of Catalan life (language, culture, commerce, tourism, hotels and catering, shopping) as well as a small commercial wordlist and a series of contact details (mainly telephone numbers). As it was written in Barcelona, some of the contacts are from there: local police, Palau Robert…
Directorate-General of Linguistic Policy
Illustrated vocabulary - Living in Catalonia. It contains a section of useful phrases translated into Spanish, French, English, Italian, German, Arabic and Chinese. It is intended for people that have come to live in Catalonia rather than tourists, but it may be helpful.
Catalan Autonomous Government - Department of Business and Knowledge - Tourism
Catalunya – Benvinguts – Bienvenidos - Welcome
A PDF presentation that will show you different aspects of Catalonia: history, entrepreneurship, landscape, culture, creativity… There are no wordlists. There are several multi-lingual versions available: Catalan - Spanish - English; Catalan - French - English; Catalan - English - German; Catalan - English - Italian; Catalan - English - Russian; Catalan - English - Japanese.
For learning Catalan
Parla.cat is a virtual learning space which provides easy access to all the materials necessary for learning Catalan. The courses can be followed either independently (free of charge) or with an online tutor, and they cover all levels from A2 to C1.
Consortium for Linguistic Normalization - Centre for Linguistic Normalization of Girona
Along with a lot of other information and resources, there is a tab (Catalan Courses) which leads to all the information about courses for adults run by the Centre: classroom-based, combination and online formats of learning.