Catalan is a Romance language spoken in northeastern Spain, in the autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Andorra, and a small strip of southern France. It is also spoken in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island of Sardinia.
The Catalan-speaking areas in Spain are sometimes called Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries". In total, there are about 10 million speakers of Catalan, which makes it the 27th most spoken language in the European Union.
Catalan is a co-official language in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and Andorra, and has been recognized as a minority language in France and Italy.
The Catalan language has its own distinctive features, and is different from the other Romance languages. For example, Catalan has two different words for "yes": "sí" and "sí-sí".
The history of the Catalan language is closely linked to the history of Catalonia. The first written records of Catalan date back to the 9th century, when the Counts of Barcelona were ruling the area.
During the Middle Ages, Catalan was the language of literature and law in the Crown of Aragon, which included not only Catalonia but also other areas of Spain and Italy.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Catalan was suppressed under the Spanish Bourbon dynasty, but experienced a revival in the 19th century.
Today, Catalan is an official language in Spain and Andorra, and is also spoken in France and Italy. It is one of the three working languages of the European Union, and is used in education, the media, and government.