The island of Majorca is an incredible and scenic destination. It is full of culture, boasting incredible history and cuisine. What many people forget about until they arrive is the local language. Although Majorca is just 150 miles from the Spanish coast, there are some clear language differences to keep in mind. If you are interested in learning the local language, residents and those involved in the tourism industry will appreciate and enjoy your attempts at communicating. Although English is spoken in many places throughout the Balearic Islands, it is a good idea to learn a few key phrases to help you get around. Read on to learn more about what language is spoken in Majorca, the differences between Spanish and Catalan, words specific to Mallorquí and which phrases you should learn to communicate easily in important or common situations.
What Languages are Spoken in Majorca?
There is no simple answer to this question. If you are looking for a one word answer, that word would be Catalan. However, the more accurate answer would be that the majority of residents speak Mallorcan, which is a sub-dialect of Catalan. In all of the Balearic Islands, the local population primarily speaks a dialect called Balear, which is also overarching language of islands like Ibiza, Menorca and Majorca. From there, each island has a more specific regional variation, which in Majorca is Mallorcan. However, visitors should know that because tourism is such a big industry on Majorca, most people can speak basic English, German or even French, so you will have little or no trouble getting around or being understood.
What is the Difference Between Castilian and Catalan?
Since most people assume that Spanish is the dominant language spoken in Majorca, it may come as a surprise to learn that a sub-dialect of Catalan is actually the prevalent means of communication. If you aren’t already familiar with the difference between Castilian and Catalan, it is important to note that Castilian is spoken in northern and central Spain, but Catalan is spoken in the South. There are also some cultural and political connotations with the language Catalan. While there are many words that sound identical in both languages, there are major pronunciation differences and some completely opposite meanings as well.
What is Unique About the Language Mallorquí?
Locals will say that the language they speak is Mallorquí, or Mallorcan, although it is almost identical to Catalan. However, having a sub-dialect for local residents helps to create a common identity and culture. When looking for a language book or a phrasebook, however, you may have better luck picking out a Catalan language guide, as the number specifically written for travellers to Majorca is slim.
What Key Phrases Will Come in Handy in Majorca?
By learning a handful of key phrases, you can better enjoy your time in Majorca and communicate more effectively with the local residents. Two of the most important things to remember are please and thank you. In Spanish, these words would be por favor and gracias. In Catalan, they are per favor and gracies, which have slight but noticeable differences. Phrases like no ho entenc, I do not understand, and parla angles?, or do you speak English, will help you to find English speakers for help or advice. When travelling phrases like per anar a aeroport or bitllet, which mean where is the airport and ticket, respectively, will come in very handy.
If you already speak some Spanish, you will probably have very little trouble understanding much of the Catalan spoken in Majorca. Otherwise, pick up a few key phrases, but relax and use English whenever it is necessary on your holiday.