Languages of Spain
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|Languages of Spain|
|Official||Spanish (country-wide); Catalan/Valencian, Galician, Basque and Aranese (selected territories)|
|Regional||Asturian/Leonese, Tarifit, Darija, Aragonese, Eonavian, Fala, Erromintxela, Extremaduran, Portuguese|
|Immigrant||Spanish, Portuguese, Darija, Berber, Romanian, English, German, French, Italian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Russian, Wolof, Urdu, Hindustani, Wu dialects (Qingtian & Wenzhounese)|
(see immigration to Spain)
|Signed||Spanish Sign Language |
Catalan Sign Language
Valencian Sign Language
Most languages spoken in Spain belong to the Romance language family, of which Spanish is the only language which has official status for the whole country. Various other languages have co-official or recognised status in specific territories, and a number of unofficial languages and dialects are spoken in certain localities.
In terms of the number of speakers and dominance, the most prominent of the languages of Spain is Spanish (Castilian), spoken by about 99% of Spaniards as a first or second language. According to a 2019 Pew Research survey, the most commonly spoken languages at home other than Spanish were Catalan in 8% of households, Valencian 4%, Galician 3% and Basque in 1% of homes.
Distribution of the regional co-official languages in Spain:
- Aranese, a variety of Occitan co-official in Catalonia. It is spoken in the Pyrenean comarca of the Aran Valley (Val d'Aran), in north-western Catalonia. It is a variety of Gascon, a southwestern dialect of the Occitan language.
- Basque, co-official in the Basque Country and northern Navarre (see Basque-speaking zone). Basque is the only non-Romance language (as well as non-Indo-European) with an official status in mainland Spain.
- Catalan, co-official in Catalonia and in the Balearic Islands. It is recognised but not official in Aragon, in the area of La Franja. Outside of Spain, it is the official language of Andorra; it is also spoken in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southernmost France, and in the city of Alghero on the island of Sardinia, where it's co-official with Italian. 
- Valencian (variety of Catalan), co-official in the Valencian Community. Not all areas of the Valencian Community, however, are historically Valencian-speaking, particularly the western side. It is also spoken without official recognition in the area of Carche, Murcia.
- Galician, co-official in Galicia and recognised, but not official, in the adjacent western parts of the Principality of Asturias (as Galician-Asturian) and Castile and León.
Spanish is official throughout the country; the rest of these languages have legal and co-official status in their respective communities and (except Aranese) are widespread enough to have daily newspapers and significant book publishing and media presence. Catalan and Galician are the main languages used by the respective regional governments and local administrations. A number of citizens in these areas consider their regional language as their primary language and Spanish as secondary.
In addition to these, there are a number of seriously endangered and recognised minority languages:
- Aragonese, recognised, but not official, in Aragon.
- Asturian, recognised, but not official, in Asturias.
- Leonese, recognised, but not official, in Castile and León. Spoken in the provinces of León and Zamora.
Spanish itself also has distinct dialects. For example, the Andalusian or Canarian dialects, each with their own subvarieties, some of them being partially closer to the Spanish of the Americas, which they heavily influenced to varying degrees, depending on the region or period and according to different and non-homogeneous migrating or colonisation processes.
Five very localised dialects are of difficult filiation: Fala (a variety mostly ascribed to the Galician-Portuguese group locally spoken in an area of the province of Cáceres sometimes called Valley of Jálama/Xálima, which includes the towns of San Martín de Trevejo, Eljasand Valverde del Fresno); Cantabrian and Extremaduran, two Astur-Leonese dialects also regarded as Spanish dialects; Eonavian, a dialect between Asturian and Galician, closer to the latter according to several linguists; and Benasquese, a Ribagorçan dialect that was formerly classified as Catalan, later as Aragonese, and which is now often regarded as a transitional language of its own. Asturian and Leonese are closely related to the local Mirandese which is spoken on an adjacent territory but over the border into Portugal. Mirandese is recognised and has some local official status.
Portuguese has been traditionally spoken by the inhabitants of the following border areas: Cedillo and Herrera de Alcántara (province of Cáceres), La Alamedilla (province of Salamanca, primarily spoken in the place up until the mid-20th century), and Olivenza (province of Badajoz).
With the exception of Basque, which appears to be a language isolate, all of the languages present in mainland Spain are Indo-European languages, specifically Romance languages. Afro-Asiatic languages, such as Arabic (including Ceuta Darija) or Berber (mainly Riffian), are spoken by the Muslim population of Ceuta and Melilla and by recent immigrants (mainly from Morocco and Algeria) elsewhere.
In addition to the languages which continue to be spoken in Spain to the present day, other languages which have been spoken within what are now the borders of Spain include:
- Tartessian language
- Iberian language
- Celtic languages
- Lusitanian language
- Punic language
- Latin language
- Guanche language
- Gothic language
- Vandalic language
- Frankish language
- Mozarabic languages
- Romani language
Languages that are now chiefly spoken outside Spain but which have roots in Spain are:
There are also variants of these languages proper to Spain, either dialect, cants or pidgins:
- Aragonese (aragonés)
- Basque (euskara)
- Catalan (català), known as Valencian (valencià) in the Valencian Community
- Galician (galego)
- Gascon (Occitan dialect)
- Aranese (aranés)
- Spanish (español)
- Sign languages
- Language politics in Francoist Spain
- Martínez Robles, David (2007). La lengua china: historia, signo y contexto: Una aproximación sociocultural. Córdoba: Editorial UOC. p. 62. ISBN 978-84-9788-682-6.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- The term lenguas españolas appears in the Spanish Constitution, referring to all the languages spoken within Spain (those are Basque, Spanish, Catalan/Valencian, Galician, Asturian, Leonese, etc.).
- Promotora Española de Lingüística - Lengua Española o Castellana Archived 27 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (Spanish)
- M. Teresa Turell (2001). Multilingualism in Spain: Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Aspects of Linguistic Minority Groups. Multilingual Matters. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-85359-491-5.
- Devlin, Kat (6 January 2020). "Speaking the national language at home is less common in some European countries". pewresearch.org. Pew Research. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- (in Catalan and Occitan) Llei 35/2010, d'1 d'octubre, de l'occità, aranès a l'Aran
- "els Països Catalans | enciclopèdia.cat". www.enciclopedia.cat. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
- Carrasco González, Juan M. (2017). "Documentación antigua sobre las localidades de habla portuguesa Herrera de Alcántara y Cedillo" (PDF). Revista de Estudios Extremeños. LXXIII (3): 2567–2592.
- González Salgado, José Antonio (2019). "El proyecto de investigación FRONTESPO y la fala de Xálima" (PDF). Limite (13): 82. ISSN 1888-4067.
- Jones, Sam (1 August 2017). "Spain honours Ladino language of Jewish exiles". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
- Detailed Ethno-Linguistic map of Pre-Roman Iberia (around 200 BC)
- Detailed linguistic map of Spain
- Languages in Spain - Find out information about the Official languages of Spain.