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Go Back   Pollensa Forum > LIVING & WORKING IN POLLENSA > Living & Working in the Pollensa Area

Living & Working in the Pollensa Area This forum is for any comments, questions and advice about living (permanently or temporarily) and working in the Pollensa area. Aimed at ex-pats, property owners etc.

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  • 4 Post By Mimsy
  • 1 Post By Chocaholic
  • 2 Post By cherylbb

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Old 16-04-2013, 16:08
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 54
Default Mallorquin, Catalan or Castellano?

For those of you living on the island, what language do most of the locals actually speak? I know most of them are able to speak Castellano Spanish, but when talking amongst themselves, do the speak in Mallorquin? I know they teach Catalan in the schools, so is there any advantage to speaking in Catalan or Mallorquin? Would the locals treat you any better if you had a grasp of Catalan, or are you better focusing your efforts on Spanish?

I'd be really interested to know from anyone who has experience.
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Old 16-04-2013, 18:28
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 43

Hi Codex

I think most speak Mallorquin (between themselves) but will always default to Castellano with tourists/strangers.

I asked a similar question when I came here and a local lady said learn Castellano as this will benefit you most because you can use it across all Spanish speaking countries - good advice I thought.

My Spanish teacher here only speaks Castellano and she has never found it to be a problem.

Of course maybe a few courtesies in Mallorquin probably wouldn't go a miss. As for treating you better I wouldn't like to comment. I find my euro works well in any language!

pollensa, debz1, lollipop and 1 others like this.
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Old 17-04-2013, 07:03
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 54

Thanks Mimsy,

Our biggest concern at the moment is schooling for the children. We need to decide whether it's worth sending them to a local school and learning in Catalan, or an international school where they learn in English and Spanish. They are young, so could adapt easily, but we have the conflict of whether they are better off making friends locally and going to a local school, or having an easier time and learning languages that will be more useful in later life, but perhaps without so many local friends.

We were interested to know how much use the Catalan would get outside of the classroom. It's a tricky one as they would be unlikely to stay on the island once they reached further education age.
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Old 17-04-2013, 13:54
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 26

Hi Codex,

I went to school here from the age of 8, and while learning Castellano and Catalan did make things harder at the beginning, speaking them both has been a great help.

I think any extra knowledge will always come in handy, they say the more languages you learn at a young age the more you are able to pick up in the future, I haven't tried this though!

As for better treatment, it would amaze you; when I go into the tax office, or the doctors, or any governmental office speaking Catalan, then produce my NIE and passport, the change is incredible, in fact they will often bend over backwards to help me because I have made the effort to learn and speak their language, specially as so many don't even try.

The Mallorquin people can be very closed and speaking their language, at least attempting too, is a good way to start getting them to open up.

As for the differences between Mallorquin and Catalan, Catalan is the official language that they have to teach at school, Mallorquin is the dialect they speak. The differences being in accent and some words. To be honest I speak a mixture and it's often not until I'm somewhere else that they speak Catalan that I realise a word is Mallorquin. But I have no problems getting by either in Menorca or Barcelona.
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Old 17-04-2013, 15:11
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 54

Thanks Chocaholic, a great insight from someone who's done exactly what we're asking of our children. Out of interest, did you know any Spanish or Catalan when you moved to the island? I'm assuming from what you've posted you went to a local school and not international school.

At the moment my wife is really concerned about sending the children to a local school without any knowledge of Spanish or Catalan. I speak a little Spanish, and am learning all the time, but don't currently speak a word of Catalan. I think at the moment the wife would prefer us to send the children to an international school until they settle a little on the island and learn some of the language.

We won't be moving over until we've sold our house in the UK. At that point we plan on renting in Mallorca and trying to get to grips with local languages, red tape etc. It's going to be fun, but it's always much better to hear from the experience of those who've lived on the island and done the things we're attempting to do.
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Old 17-04-2013, 16:29
cherylbb's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: East Mids
Posts: 353

Hi Codex, this is not really about Puerto Pollensa but may be useful anyway.
Our son was nearly 4 when we moved to Barcelona. He started kindergarten almost straight away. His teacher was english but was married to a spaniard. Within 6 months he was fluent in Castellano & Catalan (as much as a 4 year old can be!) & he had many spanish & catalan friends, most children speak both languages, & he learnt very quickly in class & in the playground. He even ended up translating catalan for us as we still only have a few words! Don't worry about the kids as they will adapt more quickly than you ever thought possible & they learn new languages much faster than any adult especially when totally immersed in it, day in day out.
Good luck & keep us informed please!
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