If you didn’t already know, Barcelona is the heart of Catalonia and filled with the musical sounds of people chattering away in the native Spanish dialect. While you can certainly get away with those Spanish greetings you learned in that one college class, it’s always worth winning points with the locals by making an effort to learn some Catalan phrases.
The Spanish that most people around the world are familiar with is Castilian Spanish (also known as Castellano), which is spoken widely internationally in Central and South America by over 320 million people. However in Barcelona, people prefer to speak Catalan and it sounds slightly different with a mix of French and Italian words thrown in for good measure.
Catalan people are fiercely proud of their language as it was nearly taken away from them, marred by Francisco Franco’s Spanish regime. When he was in power, he sought to unify Spain under a Castilian culture and banned Catalan language as well as cultural images – which even led to the world renowned FC Barcelona football team adopting a Catalan motto in defiance of his rule.
Bon dia – Good morning
Bona tarda – Good afternoon
Bona nit – Good night
Hola – Hello
Adeu – Goodbye
Fins aviat – See you soon
Fins demá – See you tomorrow
Bon aniversari – Happy birthday
Si-us plau – Please
Grácies – Thank you
Moltes grácies – Thank you very much
De res – You’re welcome
Com esta? – How are you? (formal)
Com estás? – How are you? (informal)
Benvingut – Welcome
Perdoni – Excuse me
Ho sento – I’m sorry
Salut – Cheers
Parla anglés? – Do you speak English? (formal)
Parles anglés? – Do you speak English? (informal)
Parla catalá? – Do you speak Catalan?
On son els lavabos? – Where are the bathrooms?
Quant costas? – How much?
D’on ets? – Where are you from?
Quina hora és? – What time is it?
Com et dius? – What are you called?
Sí – Yes
No – No
Sí, una mica – yes, a little
Mes que un club – More than a club (FC Barcelona motto)
Obert – Open
Tancat – Closed
Sortida – Exit
Serveis – Toilets
No ho entenc – I don’t understand
Ajuda – Help
T’estimo – I love you
Sóc vegeteriána/vegetariáno – I’m a vegetarian
No menjo porc – I don’t eat pork
Cambrer/Cambrera – waiter/waitress
El compte, si us plau – The bill, please
Bon profit! – Enjoy your meal