Useful Catalan Phrases

Know Before You Go: Useful Catalan Phrases

June 1, 2017 10:00 am

Get around Barcelona more easily with these useful Catalan phrases

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.

Useful catalan phrases

Catalan versus Castilian Spanish

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.

Words you need to know


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

Common courtesy

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

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