Catalan (català) is one of the Western Romance languages. Along with Occitan, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or Romanian, Catalan developed from spoken Latin. It is closely related to Occitan, or langue d’oc, and more specifically to the modality of Provence (Provençal).
The Catalan language was formed between the 8th and the 10th centuries, in the Frankish counties that formed the Marca Hispanica after the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula.
Catalan is not a minority language since it is spoken by 1o million people. It is therefore the ninth most spoken language of the European Union. Furthermore, among the almost 7 thousand languages in the world, Catalan is in the ranking of the top 100 languages spoken.
Catalan originated from the Latin spoken in the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis. By the end of the 10th century it was already a fully-formed language.
By the 12th century Catalan was spoken in Catalonia (north and south of the Pyrenees). During the 13th and 14th centuries it spread its dominion throughout Valencia and several areas of the Mediterranean, particularly the Balearic Islands. Although the first written documents appeared in the 12th century, Catalan literature flourished from the 13th century onwards.