With the recent publication of the bilingual Catalan-English book, All Angles, we had two copies of the book to give away and we asked people to tell us what their favourite Catalan word is and why.
The winners, whose names were drawn from a hat, were Sophie Chelmick and Brian Power. Sophie's favourite word in Catalan is "pessigolles—which means ticklish…. When I go to pick up my daughter from the Guarderia they often tell me that she loves to be ticked and is moltes pessigolles….!!! It always makes me smile." Whereas Brian chose a very simple word: "My favorite Catalan word is i because it's nice and small and when I start reading a text it's the first word I look for to see am I going to have to try extra hard to understand what I'm reading. I'm going to be be starting my Catalan course soon, so hopefully I'll expand my vocabulary beyond i, amb and tallat..."
Among the other entries we received, there was quite a variety of words selected. For example, Jennifer Maguire said that her "favourite Catalan word is mica because it is also the pet name that my boyfriend's Bosnian family use for the women in the family! Even though it actually means 'granny', it's still cute!"
Anne Katata chose "collons! Which I understand, from my Catalan pals, means something akin to "oh, for chrissake!". I hear this all the time, usually in bars or occasions where much wine/beer is being consumed. It was a word that some friends' kids taught me. I suppose that is why I like it—a kid taught it to me. Words I learn from kids usually become a favorite, esp in a foreign language."
Another suggestion came from Maurizio Siliato: "My favourite Catalan word is barreja (meaning mix, mixture). I love the sound of this word; I used to use/hear it a lot when I started to lear Catalan since I was always mixing (barrejant) Spanish and Catalan words."
Meanwhile, Shari told us about another word: My favourite word in Catalan is safareig. First, because it has a nice, strong ring to it. Second, because I love finding words in other languages that don't exist in English—it shows the richness of individual languages. As far as I have understood (not being a Catalan-speaker yet), safareig is a large laundry sink. I can't think of a word that means the same thing in English."
And Maca selected relliscar (to slip, slide, slip up) as her favourite Catalan word, "because it was the first one I learnt, after several times hearing it and trying to remember it, I did it!"
Clare Fahy's favourite Catalan word is “prou (enough). I always hear mothers saying it to their children, and I think it's such a short and yet effective word….I understood it immediately without having been told what it means. It's just so clear!"
If you have a favourite Catalan word, why not tell us about it—leave a comment below with the word and why you like it