‘What is Catalan?’
‘Why, the language of Catalonia – of the islands, of the whole of the Mediterranean coast down to Alicante and beyond. Of Barcelona. Of Lerida. All the richest part of the peninsula.’
‘You astonish me. I had no notion of it. Another language, sir? But I dare say it is much the same thing – a putain, as they say in French.’
‘Oh no, nothing of the kind – not like at all. A far finer language. More learned, more literary. Much nearer the Latin. And by the by, I believe the word is patois, sir, if you will allow me.’
‘Patois – just so. Yet I swear the other is a word: I learnt it somewhere,’ said Jack.
–Master and Commander, Patrick O’Brian