Catalan is a Western Romance language spoken in eastern and northeastern Spain, chiefly in Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Isles, the eastern fringe of Aragon (La Franja) and in some municipalities of Murcia. Outside of Spain it is also spoken in the Roussillon region of France, in the northwest Sardinian city of Alghero , in the small state of Andorra and among the emigrants in the USA.
Catalan covers an area of 68,000 square km with a population of 10 million. It has 7,353,000 speakers or more in the world distributed as follows:
- 4,000,000 mother tongue speakers in Spain (1994 La Generalitat de Catalunya);
- 260,000 in France;
- 31,000 in Andorra (1990);
- 40,000 in USA (1961);
- 22,000 in Alghero.
It is estimated that some other 3,000,000 people in Spain speak Catalan as their second or third language, with 2 million more understanding but not being able to speak it.
The official language of the kingdom of Aragon between 1137 and 1749, Catalan is now co-official (with Spanish) in Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Isles. It is the only official language in the state of Andorra.