Language in Mallorca
The two official
languages of Mallorca are Spanish and Mallorquín
and almost all Mallorcans speak both, bilingually.
Mallorquín was banned under Franco’s
régime and not taught at school during
that time, which is part of the reason that the
islanders all speak Spanish (or castellano
as they call it). However, Mallorquín has
been very much revived and when you hear Mallorcans
talking amongst themselves it’s most likely
to be in their local language.
For the British visitor to Mallorca, the best
language to speak with the locals is Spanish.
The Mallorquín language (see below) is
difficult to learn and is useful only in Mallorca.
If you are interested in travelling also in other
parts of Spain, you are better off investing your
time and energy in learning Spanish.
Spanish in Mallorca
the touristy areas, most Mallorcans can speak
pretty good English. However, in my experience,
if you speak Spanish in Mallorca, you will make
a better impression and be taken a bit more seriously.
Who wants to be just another British tourist?
Being able to speak some Spanish will mark you
out from the crowd and sometimes get you better
service. Anyway, I believe it’s rude to
go to someone else’s country and expect
everybody to speak English. If you can even just
use a few words of Spanish, it shows you’ve
made an effort and people will respond well.
When I first went
to Mallorca, in 2004, I found that when I addressed
someone in Spanish they very often answered me
in English. This happens to me a lot, in various
countries, and I hate it. The interesting thing
is that when I was there again towards the end
of 2007, not one single person did this in the
whole ten days I was there. My feeling is that
Mallorcans have got fed up with having to speak
English all the time and are thankful when someone
talks to them in a language that is native to
Spanish is one of
the easiest languages for English-speaking people
to learn. I’ve been studying it for about
five years now, first at a language school and
later online and by myself, and I speak it pretty
well now. It has hugely enhanced my experience
of visiting Mallorca and mainland Spain and, if
you want to get to know the real Mallorca, I certainly
recommend that you learn a bit of Spanish.
is a variant of Catalan, as spoken in Catalonia,
the north-east region of mainland Spain. Many
people say that Mallorquín is a dialect
of Catalan, though the Mallorcans consider it
a separate language. Either way, it’s a
different language from Spanish, having developed
directly from Latin rather than as a dialect of
If you can speak
some Spanish, this will certainly be enough to
get under the skin of Mallorca. You don’t
need to speak Mallorquín. However, since
most of the signposts, road signs and so on are
written in Mallorquín, it’s useful
to recognise some of the words. If you know Spanish,
French and/or Italian, you will be able to work
out quite a lot of the meaning of written Mallorquín
(the spoken language is even more of a challenge!).
Here are some useful
Mallorquín words and phrases:
place to see a view
|lavabo / toaleta
|The masculine article
el (the) in Spanish
is es in Mallorquín
and the feminine article la