Aranese dialect

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Not to be confused with Aragonese.
Native to Catalonia
Region Val d'Aran
Native speakers
4,700  (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Aranese area, in the Occitan Nationality, language & territory
Aranese signage in Bossòst, Val d'Aran

Aranese (Occitan: Aranés) is a standardized form of the Pyrenean Gascon variety of the Occitan language spoken in the Val d'Aran, in north western Catalonia close to the Spanish border with France, where it is one of the three official languages beside Catalan and Spanish. In 2010, it was named the third official language of the whole of Catalonia by Parliament of Catalonia.[2]

Once considered to be an endangered language,[3] spoken mainly by older people, it is now experiencing a renaissance; it enjoys co-official status with Catalan and Spanish within Val d'Aran, and since 1984 has been taught bilingually alongside Castilian in schools.

About 90% of the inhabitants of Val d'Aran can understand it, and about 65% can speak it.[4]

The official spellings of towns in Val d'Aran are Aranese; for example, the Aranese spelling Vielha is used on maps and road signs instead of the Catalan and Spanish Viella.

Phonological characteristics[edit]

General Gascon characteristics:

  • Latin F > H: huec /hu̯ek/ (fire)
  • Latin LL > TH (internal or final) or R (in intervocalic position):
    • vitellu > vedèth /beˈdɛt/
    • illa > era /eɾa/ (feminine definite article)
  • Vocalisation of L to U in final position: malummau /mau̯/ (bad)
  • Loss of N in intervocalic position: luna > lua (moon)
  • Metathesis of -R: ventrum > vrente
  • Prosthetic A- before initial R-, doubling the R: rota > arrota (wheel)

Specific Aranese characteristics:

  • Deaspiration of Gascon /h/: Latin /f/ > Gascon /h/ > Aranese ∅ (except in Bausen and Canejan, where it remains aspirated)
    • Gascon: huec /hu̯ek/
    • Aranese: huec /wek/
  • Gascon -AS pronounced and written -ES:
    • Gascon hemnas > hemnes /ˈennes/ (women)
    • Gascon parlas > parles /ˈpaɾles/ (you speak)
  • Intervocalic /b/ written U and pronounced /w/: cantaua /kanˈtawa/ (he/she was singing)
  • Reduction of plural definite articles: Gascon eths, eras both > es /es/
  • Plurals of nouns ending in -A become -ES: era pèiraes pèires
Consonant phonemes
Bilabial Labio-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop p b t d k ɡ
Fricative f s z ʃ ʒ ʝ (h)
Affricate ts dz
Trill r
Tap ɾ
Lateral l ʎ
Vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
Close i   y u
Close-Mid e (o)
Open-Mid ɛ ɔ
Open a


Aranese is regulated under classic unifying standards of Occitan, defined initially by Loís Alibèrt. These standards of the Conselh de la Lenga Occitana (Occitan Language Council) have officially been recognized by the Conselh Generau d'Aran (General Council of Aran) since 1999.

In practice, several details standards diverge due to the popular or preferred usage of Aranese, in relation to other Gascon varieties. For instance:

  • the form of the feminine plural -AS in general Gascon is replaced with -ES in Aranese. Ex: hemnes araneses (Aranese women) in place of general Gascon hemnas aranesas
  • the use of U in place of V. Ex: auer instead of aver

Written publications in Aranese[edit]


A reference on usage and conjugation of Aranese verbs entitled Es Vèrbs conjugadi : morfologia verbau aranesa was written by Verònica Barés Moga and published in 2003. A descriptive and normative reference grammar book, written in Aranese by Aitor Carrera, was published in March 2007. This grammar includes detailed breakdown of phonological and grammatical differences between varieties of Aranese in different villages in the valley.


A dictionary of Aranese was written by the Catalan linguist Joan Coromines as his doctoral thesis.

A simple four-language Spanish–Aranese–Catalan–French dictionary exists, written by Frederic Vergés Bartau (see Bibliography).

An Aranese-English and English–Aranese dictionary was published in 2006. It was written by Ryan Furness, a young man from Minnesota, after he became curious about the language when he traveled to Val d'Aran.[5][6]

A detailed one-volume Catalan–Occitan and Occitan–Catalan dictionary was published under the auspices of the governments of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) and Val d'Aran (Conselh Generau d'Aran). Although it calls the language "Occitan", it uses Aranese spelling and its preface says that special attention is given to the Aranese variety.

Periodicals and commercial publications[edit]

A local monthly magazine Toti and local newspapers are published partly in the language.

See also[edit]



  • Le Gascon de poche, Jean-Marc Leclercq & Sèrgi Javaloyès, Assimil 2004, ISBN 2-700-50345-7
  • Carrera, Aitor (2007). Gramatica Aranesa (in Aranese). Lleida: Pagès Editors. ISBN 978-8-497-79484-8. 
  • Barés Moga, Verònica (2003). Es vèrbs conjugadi: morfologia verbau aranesa. Barcelona: Llibres de l’Index. ISBN 8-495-31747-8. 
  • Vergés Bartau, Frederic (1991). Petit diccionari: castelhan-aranés (occitan)-catalan-francés, aranés (occitan)-castelhan-catalan-francés. Vielha, Vall dʾAran, Lhèida : Conselh Comarcau dera Val DʾAran. ISBN 8-460-60175-7. 
  • Diccionari Occitan-Catalan

External links[edit]