As FC Barcelona’s global popularity continues to skyrocket—it is currently the number one social media force on the planet—thanks in large part to the team’s uncompromising style of play, the Club is increasingly finding itself the subject of millions of online posts stampeding through cyberspace 24/7 in the form of news articles, blogs, tweets, retweets, likes, links…you name it.
Just as we previously wrote about some of the confusion associated with the names of Barça’s players and head coach Luis Enrique, due to the uniqueness of Spanish naming customs and longtime traditions in certain footballing nations, another area that can also be a bit baffling is the name of the team itself, in particular its official nickname.
Team nicknames have become literary lifelines in the shorthand online world of okays, emoticons and LOLs. In New York, people like to talk about the ‘Yanks,’ while in Manchester, England, a growing part of the sporting lexicon is ‘City’—the cross-town rivals of ‘United.’ But in the Catalan capital, one of the most commonly heard expressions—regardless of whose conversation you may be eavesdropping on—is ‘Barça.’
If you took a minute to scan the world wide web for content related to FC Barcelona, you would find that the team nickname, Barça, is spelled a few different ways.
These inaccuracies are commonplace because Barça is spelled with a special character—the ç or c-cedilla, as it is commonly known. Not many people in the English-speaking world are familiar with it. And the ç is rarely, if ever, seen when FC Barcelona’s nickname is mentioned in writing in the international arena.
Perhaps the most common alternate spelling of Barça is ‘Barca,’ which has a k sound and literally means ‘rowboat.’ The pronunciation of ‘Barca’ even leads a few people to go with ‘Barsa.’ But this version, although it is pronounced the same way as Barça, is far less common.
It’s about a lot more than just a simple keystroke. The ç is a badge of pride for Catalan speakers, most of whom are steadfast Barça supporters, or culers.
The Club itself, meanwhile, is essentially the standard bearer of not just the language, but of the entire culture, further cementing this historically intertwined relationship between the Catalan people and their team.
The word Barça—ç included—is essentially a symbol of identity that represents the Club’s core values of respect, effort, teamwork, ambition, and humility. And those values are part of what makes Barça ‘more than a club.’ Without the ç, Barça just wouldn’t be the same.