Some people from Catalonia also say that catalan is a language, not a dialect. But still we spanish speakers can understand a good part of it.
a language! "Some people from Catalonia", what are you talking about?
For example, Basque is a totally different language from spanish, but as the Basque Country (Pasi Vasco, "Euskadi" in basque), is inside Spain, from the official point of view it's considered to be a dialect.
W-what? Basque has absolutely nothing to do with Spanish, it's not even a Romance language! Can you please cite your source?
a language. I know that and you know that. What I try to mean is that catalan can be considered
a dialect of spanish as, I don't know if you have tried to read, for example, the oficial website of the Barcelona "ciutat": http://www.bcn.es/
I understand almost 80% (probably more) of what they say, and I bet you'll do too.
I'll tell you a tale: during the rule of dictator Francisco Franco, Catalan was considered a dialect because it was intelligible for spanish speakers (and with a bit of imagination you can come to think of catalan as a dialect of spanish, at least it somewhat follows the three charatheristics of a dialect, as opposed to spanish being the offical language of Spain). Now, the reason for the decision of Franco government to forbbid catalan, galician and others and consider them to be dialects was obviously not linguistic, but political
. Now, after the return of democracy, all those were recognized as languages.
When I was learning Basque on the Internet, I found taht in fact, Basque is, like Japanese and Ainu (nad maybe a few others), one the languages that have no known origin. But there's also a "dialect" definition which goes more to political and geographical than to linguistic.
So, I point this again: dialect is more a matter of geography and politics than of linguistics.