8 essential Catalan phrases you can’t visit Barcelona without knowing

On your next trip to Barcelona you may be thinking that you can just get by with Spanish or English, but if you really want to impress and get to know the locals, these essential Catalan words and phrases will go a long way.

Why not use your time at home over the next few weeks to brush up your language skills in one of Spain’s official languages and add some of these useful phrases to your repertoire.

Whether you’re greeting a friend, ordering food or buying souvenirs, we’ve definitely got you covered. Preparats (ready)? 

1. Bon dia (bon dee-ah) / Bona tarda (bon-ah tard-ah)

Good morning / Good afternoon 

When strolling along the streets of Barcelona, you’ll definitely hear this phrase used again and again. Put a smile on any local’s face with this common greeting (used more than “hola”). Remember, the afternoon starts around lunchtime and lasts all the way until just before dinnertime – which is around 10 pm – so don’t be surprised if someone greets you with “bona tarda” at 8 pm!

2. Si us plau (see oos plow)  & Merci (mehr-see) 

Please & thank you

If you’ve visited Barcelona several times and are familiar with the Catalan language, you’ll know has some similarities with the French language. These two phrases will go a long way during your stay, so please use them abundantly. 

With “merci”, remember to put emphasis on the first syllable “meras opposed to on the final syllable, like in French.

Note: “merci” is used a lot more than “gràcies” but please take into account is is colloquial.

3. De res (deh res) 

You’re welcome

If it makes it a little easier to remember, you can literally translate this phrase as “of nothing”. What’s more it’s just like the French (de rien) and Spanish (de nada).

4. Adéu (ah-deh-ou)

Goodbye

Whether your waving farewell to your new Catalan friends or simply saying goodbye to the owners of your new favourite restaurant, be sure to do so with a friendly and heartfelt “adéu.

5. Bon profit! (bon pro-feet) 

Bon appetit!

The Catalans are a very courteous bunch, so don’t be surprised if you get total strangers declaring “bon profit” as you tuck into your meal at a local restaurant. 

6. Quant costa – ? (kwant coh-sta)

How much is –?

The chances are during your stay at some point you’ll be buying souvenirs, tickets for the museum or a little treat for yourself. Use this phrase and simply add whatever it is you’re asking for or point and say “això” (ay-shoh), which means “this”.

7.El compte, si us plau (el com-teh see oos plow)

The bill, please.

Show off your language skills and impress your friends by asking for the bill in Catalan at the end of your meal. If you really want to blend in with the locals, try switching this phrase for “Em cobres” (um cub-ras), which literally means “charge me” and is used much more frequently by Catalans.

8. Parles anglès? (par-las ang-less)?

Do you speak English?

Whilst the majority of locals speak very good English, this polite question is sure to make you many a new friend in the city. Not only will they be impressed with your Catalan skills, they’ll be grateful you are trying to learn their language.

While we’ve got you covered for the basics, we encourage you to download a learning app or grab a dusty phrase book from your shelf and get studying for your next trip to Barcelona! 

See you soon! Ens veiem aviat!

P.S. Below is a small list of other some additional vocabulary we’re sure will come in useful!

CATALAN ENGLISH 
Bona nit Good night 
Perdó Sorry 
Esmorzar Breakfast 
Dinar Lunch
Sopar Dinner
Esquerra Left 
Dreta Right 
Obert Open 
Carrer Street 
Plaça Square 

One thought on “8 essential Catalan phrases you can’t visit Barcelona without knowing

  • April 6, 2020 at 21:40
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    You forgot “Dilluns tancat”

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