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The Catalan language
Catalan, like Galician, is one of the Romanic languages of the Indo-European family, meaning that its origins go back to Latin. It is one of the official languages of Catalonia, along with Castilian, and the only one in Andorra. Although it is also spoken, albeit with some local variations, in Valencia, the Balearic Islands and a strip of Aragon, in these territories it is given diverse names due to political and nationalist issues which do not necessarily have anything to do with the language. (As a curiosity, the controversial name of «Catalan Countries» has been proposed to refer to all of them.) In practice, however, the distinctions between these dialects are rather subtle, since there are no precise geographical boundaries, except in the case of the islands, of course.
It is also spoken in some regions of France and Italy. It is currently estimated to have over 7 million speakers, apart from those people who understand it but are unable to speak it.
In Catalan we observe a historical evolution similar to that of Galician and Basque, in the sense that it underwent a considerable boom during the so-called Catalan Renaissance of the 19th century, becoming one of the workhorses of the nationalist movements in the early 20th century, and suffered tremendous repression during the Franco dictatorship until the linguistic normalization process was restarted with the arrival of democracy.
The coexistence of Castilian and Catalan today is no stranger to controversy and manipulation by political parties. In practice, although estimates of the number of people who speak it as their mother tongue, use it commonly or identify themselves with Catalan as opposed to Castilian vary according to the sources consulted, they all agree that Castilian is still the majority language even in Catalonia itself.