Catalonia

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Catalonia is one of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain.

The Autonomous Community of Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km². It borders France and Andorra to the north, Aragon to the west, the Valencian Community to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east (580 km coastline). Official languages are Catalan, Spanish and Aranese.

Catalonia is divided into four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its territory corresponds to most of the historical territory of the former Principality of Catalonia.

The capital city is Barcelona.

The population of Catalonia is around 7.5 million. Immigrants represent an estimated 12.3% of the total population

The wikipedia page on Catalonia gives more information including on the disputed level of its autonomy from Spain.


Education in Catalonia

A very useful summary of the situation is at http://www.slideshare.net/vsanz/catalan-educational-system-presentation

There are several universities in Catalonia of which the best known in e-learning circles is UOC.


Aranese

Aranese (Occitan: Aranés) is a standardized form of the Pyrenean Gascon variety of the Occitan language spoken in the Vall d'Aran, in north western Catalonia on the border between Spain and France, where it is one of the three official languages besides Catalan and Spanish. Recently, it was named the third official language of the whole of Catalonia by the Parliament of Catalonia.

Once considered to be an endangered language, spoken mainly by older people, it is now experiencing a renaissance; it enjoys co-official status with Catalan and Spanish within Vall d'Aran.

Since 1984 it has been taught bilingually alongside Castilian in schools.

About 90% of the inhabitants of Vall d'Aran can understand it, and about 65% can speak it.

The official spellings of towns in Vall d'Aran are Aranese; for example, the Aranese spelling Vielha is used on maps and road signs instead of the Catalan and Spanish Viella.

Most Aranese are also fluent in Catalan, Spanish, and to a lesser extent also in French.


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