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Highest-ever Catalan language skills for people living in Catalonia

The language skills of Catalonia’s population to understand, read, speak and write in Catalan have reached record highs, according to a report from the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat) with data from 2011. That year, 95.2 % of the residents could understand Catalan, 79.1 % could read it, 73.2 % knew how to speak it, and 55.8 % knew how to write in this language. According to the Idescat figures, the foreign nationality population has registered the highest increases: 82.1 % of them stated they could understand Catalan in the 2011 survey, whereas, according to the previous census from 2001, only 61.1% of the foreign-born population had good language comprehension skills.

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25 November 2013 08:06 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The language skills of Catalonia’s population to understand, read, speak and write in Catalan have reached record highs, according to a report from the  the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya, Idescat) with data from 2011. That year, 95.2 % of residents in the country could understand Catalan, 79.1 % could read it, 73.2 % knew how to speak it and 55.8 % knew how to write in Catalan. According to the Idescat figures, the foreign nationality population has registered the highest increases. 82.1 % of them stated they could understand Catalan in the 2011 survey, whereas, according to the previous census from 2001, only 61.1% of the foreign-born population had good language comprehension skills. Out of the four main language skills, reading and writing have registered the highest increases. The survey also revealed discrepancies between regions. The inhabitants of Central Catalonia (83.9%) and Ebro Delta (81.1 %, Catalonia’s southern-most area) have registered the highest levels for speaking Catalan, while residents of the Greater Barcelona (70.5 %) and Tarragona’s Area (74.1 %, Southern Catalonia) are showing less ability to speak the language.


Although foreign migration has contributed to an almost 80% increase in Catalonia’s population during the first decade of the century, in the ten-year period between the two censuses there were 1,120,000 additional people who could understand Catalan, 1,190,000 more who could read it, 747,000 more individuals who could speak it, and 1,003,000 who could write in the language.

The most significant increase for reading and writing in Catalan

The two language skills which are most related to the population’s literacy and schooling have registered the most significant increase, both in absolute and relative terms. In 2001, the percentage of people who could read and write in Catalan amounted to 74.3 % and 49.8 %, respectively.  In 2011, these figures rose to 79.1 % and 55.8% respectively. The percentage of the population with good understanding skills increased only slightly, from 94.5 % in 2001 to 95.2 % in 2011. The only skill that registered a decrease in its figures concerns the percentage of people who can speak Catalan, which decreased from 74.5 % in 2001 to 73.2 % in 2011.

The favourable effect of schooling on the level of Catalan has an obvious impact on people who are under 20 years old. The highest language skills levels were scored by the group of boys and girls aged between 10 to 14, who are attending compulsory secondary education. Although this age group accounts for 17% of the foreign-nationality population, 99.4 % understand Catalan, 96 % can speak it, 97.3 % can read it, and 93.3 % can write it.

Regional differences on the ability to speak in Catalan

The survey revealed significant regional differences on the ability to speak in Catalan. The inhabitants of Central Catalonia and Ebro Delta (southern-most Catalonia) have registered the highest levels for speaking Catalan, with 83.9 % and 81.1 % respectively. However, residents of the Greater Barcelona (70.5 %) and Tarragona Area (74.1 %, Southern Catalonia) are showing less ability to speak the language. By county, Priorat (88.9 %, in the Tarragona Province) and Berguedá (88.8 %, Central Catalonia) are positioned in first and second place, respectively in the percentage of residents speaking Catalan. Val d’Aran (63.6 %, Western Pyrenees), Baix Llobregat (68%, Greater Barcelona) and the county of Barcelona (68.1 %) are way down the line. However, the two areas which have experienced the most significant increases in reading and writing skills are Greater Barcelona and Penedès (between Barcelona and Tarragona).

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  • The Ebro Delta is one of the areas with the highest rate of Catalan language speakers (by J. Marsal)

  • The Ebro Delta is one of the areas with the highest rate of Catalan language speakers (by J. Marsal)