Catalan was replaced as the official language by Spanish, then by Italian in the mid 18th century, but its use remained widespread until at least the 1970s. Today it has semi-official status alongside Italian.
According to recent linguistic research, 22.4% of the population in Alghero speak Algherese natively and above 90% have some knowledge of this Catalan dialect. The majority of the native speakers are elderly.
Based on additional linguistic studies, there are approximately 20,000 to 30,000 native speakers of the language worldwide. In communities where Algherese is spoken, Italian and Logudorese Sardinian are often used as well.
Algherese is a regional dialect spoken by anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 individuals, most of which reside in the town of Alghero, located in the northwest of Sardinia. The language, though secular, is initially derived from, and thus considered a variant of, the Catalan language. The origins of the language can be traced back to 1372, when Catalan invaders repopulated the city of Alghero after exiling the indigenous populations in Sardinia. The language has roots in several Romance languages, including Eastern Romance, Italo-Western Romance, and Italo Western.
In the northwest region of Sardinia, it is estimated that Italian is now the first language of close to 60% of individuals, Algherese approximately 22%. The use of the dialect in schools and media, to name a few, is sparse. Prior to 1997, teaching of the dialect in school was rare. However, in an attempt to reverse the trend, the Regional Council of Sardinia has officially recognized "Algherese Catalan" as a separate language in order to promote its use and circulation. As of a 2008 study, Algherese is used by approximately 14% of the population for daily interactions. The dialect is mostly a local language, often used to supplement Italian or Sardinian in small circles.