I don't know if there are any native Catalan speakers on this forum, but when referring to the language spoken in the rest of Spain or in Central/South America, do Catalan speakers call it "Espanyol" or "Castellano"? Or is it situation-dependent?

  • I would imagine they would say castellà, much as Asturian speakers use castellán(u) and Galiician speakers use castelán. But I'm pretty sure @fedorqui speaks it and could answer/confirm, although this question may be slightly off topic given it's about Catalonian moreso than Spanish. Or do you mean when those speakers are speaking in Castilian? Feb 18, 2017 at 23:25
  • 5
    This topic is pretty much answered in Is there a difference between “español” and “castellano”? // ¿Hay alguna diferencia entre “español” y “castellano”?, specially in the answer given by CesarGon. As @guifa says, we tend to use castellà for various reasons. Mainly, because espanyol is considered to cover those things belonging to the whole country, whereas castellà is more accurate on telling the origin of the language. The basic feeling, then, is that Catalan is as much "espanyol" as Spanish since both come from the same country (...)
    – fedorqui
    Feb 19, 2017 at 22:05
  • There is of course the political feeling as well, in which Spanish called espanyol reminds about the imposition of the language for many years, where Catalan, Basque and Galician could not be taught in schools.
    – fedorqui
    Feb 19, 2017 at 22:07
  • @fedorqui what I'm not clear is whether he wants to know what Catalonian speakers use when speaking in Catalonian or when speaking in Castilian — the former isn't covered in the linked question, the latter is mostly Feb 20, 2017 at 2:40
  • I tried to make that clear in the question: What do Catalan speakers call it?
    – Ron Trunk
    Feb 20, 2017 at 2:42

3 Answers 3


Es un debate delicado, especialmente para los más pro hispanistas. Cuando un catalán, gallego, euskera o asturiano se refiere al español, lo hace por los variados dialectos/idiomas presentes en la península ibérica. Cuando hablamos de castellano, nos referimos a la lengua hablada primeramente en Castilla, España. Esta lengua fue la que llegó a América y Filipinas, por lo que, al menos en Latinoamérica, se habla de Castellano.

Si es un catalán, euskera, gallego, etc., el que se refiere al idioma español, hay que tener mucha delicadeza al tratar ese tema. La identidad social en la península ibérica es plural. Durante el régimen de Franco se obligó a todos a hablar español castellano, castigando a quienes hablaban español de otras variantes como el catalán o el gallego.

Para efectos prácticos, el castellano es un tipo de español. Y el catalán hará la diferencia.

Te recomiendo que leas este link sobre la problemática sobre ambos nombres.

discusión sobre el Castellano y el español


The usual word used in Catalan for Spanish language is "castellà", and in Catalonia the most usual word for Spanish language in Spanish is also "castellano".

However, the use of "espanyol" and "español" has been favoured by both sides, for political reasons:

  • For Spanish nationalists, it emphasizes the link between Spanish language, Spanish nation and Spanish state, therefore supporting Spanish unity and uniformity. This usage was common in official language during Francoism but it is the opposite of the wording in articles 3.1 and 3.2 of Spanish Constitution, where it mentions castellano.
  • For Catalan nationalists, by linking Spanish language, nation and state, it emphasizes that non-Spanish speaking regions are not linked to Spain. I've heard claims like "Spanish is the Spanish language. Therefore, since my language is not Spanish, I'm not Spanish."
  • Do you mean "favored"? I'm guessing maybe you mean to say "... has been considered to be politically charged..." Jun 2, 2019 at 13:54
  • I actually meant favored. I mean that some speakers consciously prefer to use español or espanyol for its political connotation, and that some people active in politics sometimes actively try to promote that usage with those kinds of political arguments. Maybe "favored by political reasons" could be more clear than "favored as politically charged".
    – Pere
    Jun 2, 2019 at 14:02
  • I still don't get it. "Politically charged" is usually considered a bad thing. Maybe "has been favoured for political reasons"? Jun 2, 2019 at 14:09
  • @aparente001 - You might be right, however I'm not sure. Some speakers make the choice to add a political statement whatever they say about languages; for them that's positive, for me, I'm not sure. However, they are adding a political charge to their statements. And English is at most my third language, so maybe I should ask at English usage or EL stackexchange. In Spanish I would say that "Algunos hablantes prefieren esta forma por su carga política" or "por sus connotaciones políticas".
    – Pere
    Jun 2, 2019 at 14:20
  • Perhaps "has been favoured by both sides because of its political connotations" might clarify the meaning? Would also maybe answer @aparente001 points?
    – mdewey
    Jun 2, 2019 at 14:23

When I studied the language at school, subject name was Llengua castellana. But you can use both, all Catalan dictionaries and the one from Enciclopèdia Catalana does not make a distinction.

  • Castellà (-ana)
  1. m LING Llengua romànica de l'agrupament iberoromànic, parlada a la major part de l'estat espanyol i de les antigues colònies castellanes.

Lengua románica hablada en la mayor parte del estado español y de las antiguas colonias castellanas.

  • espanyol (-a)
  1. m LING Castellà.


  • 3
    Agreed. However, as the diccionari.cat (the main dictionary from Catalan) mentions by putting the main explanation in the first article, the main word seems to be considered castellà, while espanyol is seen as a synonym of it.
    – fedorqui
    Feb 20, 2017 at 9:54
  • Interestingly, both normative dictionaries (Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana by IEC and Diccionari Normatiu Valencià by AVL) do it nowadays in the opposite way, putting the definition in "espanyol".
    – Pere
    Jun 2, 2019 at 14:25

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