Mallorca and Majorca are two different names that refer to the same place – the large Spanish island in the Mediterranean sea. They are both pronounced as ‘Majorca’ (as in, ‘ma-yor-ka’).
There is no difference between these two titles. It is, however, a contentious issue: British holidaymakers tend to spell the name as Majorca, while residents of the island spell it as Mallorca. Mallorca is, after all, the official spelling of the island. Yet the Anglicised version has become so common that Brits are still sometimes surprised to see the Catalonian spelling.
So, which spelling should we use? Let’s find out…
Is It Mallorca Or Majorca – Well, They’re The Same…
‘Mallorca’ is the correct way to spell ‘Majorca’ – there’s no arguing with this fact. Despite this universal truth, most of the English-speaking world insists on using the latter spelling.
It’s not only used to promote holidays to Brits. English speakers who actually live on the island also spell it Majorca. The English-language Mallorca newspaper is even called the ‘Majorca Daily Bulletin’. So, it would be safe to say that the ‘Majorca’ spelling has been somewhat widely accepted as a correct way of spelling it.
However, those who are native to the Balearic Islands and mainland Spain do not agree. Some Spanish residents have even campaigned to have the island permanently spelt as Mallorca.
Others believe the name ‘Mallorca’ better describes the more authentic side of the island, while ‘Majorca’ reflects the touristic side. Ten million tourists descend on the island annually, after all. This number far outweighs the island’s full-time resident population count of 896, 038.
Where Did The Name Mallorca Originate From?
So, is ‘Mallorca’ actually the original spelling? In the year 123 BC, Romans conquered the island of Mallorca and called it ‘insula maior‘. This title is classical Latin for ‘larger island’. With this title, the Romans were basically just describing the scale of the land relative to the other Balearic islands.
‘Maior’ is closer to the British spelling, ‘Majorca’. This has led some to conclude (Brits, mostly) that the official spelling should be ‘Majorca’.
The Spanish spelling has its origins in the Conquest of Majorca, 1228–1231. During this time, Catalan language scribes began referring to the island as ‘Mallorca’. Since then, it has been referred to as ‘Mallorca’ throughout the Balearic islands and across mainland Spain.
How Is Mallorca Pronounced?
You pronounce Mallorca as ‘ma-yor-ka’.
Both the British and Spanish spelling of the island is pronounced the same.
Do you pronounce the L in Mallorca?
Not really. Despite the double L, ‘Mallorca’ is still pronounced as ‘ma-yor-ka’.
In the Spanish language, a double L creates a ‘Y’ sound as in the word ‘yes’. So, while the Spanish still technically pronounce the L, it doesn’t sound like an L in British English.
Do you pronounce the J in Majorca?
Kind of. ‘Majorca’ is easy for English speakers to pronounce as it makes more phonetic sense to turn the ‘J’ into a ‘Y’ sound. So, while English speakers don’t technically pronounce the ‘J’, it does impact how we read and pronounce the word.
What Is The Most Popular Spelling?
According to Google Trends, the most popular spelling of the summer destination is ‘Mallorca’. This is perhaps because ‘Mallorca’ is used in a broader sense. ‘Majorca’, on the other hand, tends to be only used when referring to holidays.
That’s not to say that only Brits spell it as ‘Majorca’. Many Americans do, too. As do many other English-speaking parts of the world.
However, this appears to be changing. It’s becoming a lot more common in Britain to refer to the islands as ‘Mallorca’.
Mallorca vs Majorca usage in the UK
Google Trends reveals that ‘Majorca’ was still used by the majority in 2004. However, looking at the data you can see this has changed completely in the last decade.
Currently, there is an almost even amount of people who spell the island as ‘Majorca’ as there is that spell it ‘Mallorca’ in the UK.
Perhaps the ‘Mallorca or Majorca’ debate is no longer relevant to the British people. Based on this info, we predict that usage of the ‘Majorca’ spelling will continue to drop off and be overtaken by the ‘Mallorca’ spelling even among Brits.
Looking at the last 12 months of data it’s clear that we aren’t far away from the complete crossover.
Mallorca or Majorca usage Worldwide
Based on Google Trends data, it looks as though the whole of the world uses the ‘Mallorca’ spelling. Only a small proportion of the world uses the ‘Majorca’ spelling – presumably just British and Americans. This has been the case for decades as seen in the below graphs.
What do Spanish people call Mallorca?
As we’ve already established, the Spanish call it ‘Mallorca’. Only holidaymakers and British ex-pats spell it ‘Majorca’.
What is the official language of Mallorca?
There are two official languages in Mallorca, the Catalan language and Spanish (or Castellano). However, being an isolated island, Mallorca’s Catalan has a unique spin. This version of the language is called Mallorquin and features unique pronunciations and words.
Is Palma de Mallorca and Majorca the same?
Yes and no – Mallorca refers to the beautiful island as a whole. Palma de Mallorca, on the other hand, is the capital city of the island. So, while they’re both technically talking about the same place, one refers to the resort city.
What is the difference between Mallorca and Majorca?
The only difference between Mallorca and Majorca is the spelling. They are both pronounced the same and refer to the same island. The question of ‘Majorca or Mallorca?’ is a dated one, as most of the English-speaking world now refers to the location as ‘Mallorca’.
Why do they call Majorca Mallorca?
Mallorca is the official spelling of Majorca. Majorca is a title that Britain and other English-speaking countries have used to refer to Mallorca. The ‘Majorca’ spelling was created presumably to make it easier to pronounce for Brits.
Is Majorca and Mallorca the same place?
Yes – they’re the same island. The Spanish name for the island is spelt Mallorca, which is the official name for the island. The ‘Majorca’ spelling is a British invention and is currently in decline.