Lectureship for Catalan
Catalan courses and events on Catalan culture are offered every semester at the Freie Universität Berlin.
About language and culture
The Catalan language is the only official language in Andorra (independent state in the Pyrenees), and is -along with Spanish- the officially recognized language in the autonomous regions of Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. It is also spoken in La Franja (the western strip between Catalonia and Aragon in Spain). It is also used by the local government of Perpignan for all public announcements (as well as in other Catalan-speaking municipalities located on territories within the French state) and also in Alguer on the island of Sardinia. In addition, the Catalan language has also been recognized as a working and official language in some areas of the European institutions.
Catalan is closely related to Occitan, which is spoken in the southern third of France. Catalan, more than almost any other language, experienced a revival, so that today its knowledge is indispensable in all social contexts. According to recent data, a total of about 7.3 million people speak Catalan, and about 9.8 million are able to understand the language.
Catalan-speaking culture is a culture that is more than a thousand years old. The earliest texts in Catalan date back to the 12th century. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, an extensive literature emerged: the Mallorcan Ramon Llull established philosophy in the vernacular, the poetry of the Valencian Ausiàs March and Joanot Martorell's chivalric novel Tirant lo Blanc had a lasting effect beyond the linguistic area.
After the Renaixença, which was influenced by Romanticism, Catalonia opened up to European modernism in literature and architecture. Figures such as S. Dalí and J.V. Foix in Barcelona prepared the way in the avant-garde for today's vitality of theater, art and literature in Catalan.
Catalan is the only language in the world that, as such, has its own domain on the Internet: Since April 2006, it has been possible to have URLs ending with .cat. It is a general domain addressed to the linguistic and cultural Catalan community. Within a year, over 21,000 websites were registered.