Difference between cal and can

In Catalan ca is an apocope of the word casa (house/home), and if it’s followed by the article “el”, “els” or “en” and after that there’s a name, the apocope ca and the article can be put together.

Contractions with the apocope Ca
Particles Result Example
ca + el cal Va a cal Pep (He/she goes to Pepe’s house)
ca + els cals Vaig a cals Pujol (I go to the Pujols family’s house)
ca + en can Anem a menjar a can Jordi (we go to eat at Jordi’s house)

Also the forms ca’l, ca’n y ca’ls are permitted.
So if you want to say “Josep’s house” in catalan you can say “cal Josep”, “ca’l Josep”, “can Josep” o “ca’n Josep”, between these four forms there is not a real difference.
To say “Maria’s house” you can say “ca la Maria”.

It’s not related to this, but I remeber you that the word ca means also dog, and that the word cal is also the third singular person of the ver caldre that means “to be needed”.
So “Cal un ca en aquesta casa” means “A dog is needed in this house”.

In this lesson you can see all the contractions used in the Catalan language.

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