Ab initio workshop series - Catalan!
Catalan is a language predominantly used in eastern Spain in regions such as Catalonia and Valencia. The extent of my knowledge regarding Catalan prior to this session was a joke regarding the word hospitalet in my previous school. Although I speak fluent Spanish I had regarded Catalan as, frankly speaking, incomprehensible. Whenever I saw or heard any Catalan I simply disregarded it and made no attempt to piece together what they could be saying. My apprehension is due to many of the words in Catalan being dissimilar to their Spanish counterpart, not to mention their English counterpart. Once I saw that an ab initio workshop was available on Catalan I thought that it would be a good opportunity to learn more about a language I previously avoided. The lecturer eased the participants in by making comparisons to English along with other romance languages like Spanish and French via words that sounded similar and syntactical parallels. Furthermore, they introduced some aspects of Catalonian culture such as the Caga Tío, Panellets and the Castells. Participation was encouraged and the atmosphere was pleasant throughout which made one forget that the session was virtual.
This session has resulted in me being less intimidated by Catalan as I have good points of reference to languages I already know. Along with opening my eyes to Catalonian culture, the only thing that would come to mind prior to this session would have been the Sagrada Familia and Salvador Dalí. While the session has made me less apprehensive about the language. I am still well aware that Catalan is very distinct from Spanish and comparisons can only provide a point of reference and not true comprehension, as there were many words throughout the session which sounded undeniably foreign to me and would require many hours of time and effort to grow accustomed to using. Overall, it was a very well thought out and planned session which gave its participants a taste of Catalan and Catalonian culture. I would not be surprised if some of those that attended pursued Catalan further due to this session.