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Extremaduran language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Native toSpain
Castile and León (southern Salamanca province)
EthnicityExtremadurans: 1.1 million (1994)[1]
Native speakers
(200,000 cited 1994)[1]
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3ext
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
An Extremaduran speaker, recorded in the Netherlands.

Extremaduran (Extremaduran: estremeñu [ehtːɾeˈmeɲʊ], Spanish: extremeño) is a group of vernacular Romance dialects, related to the Asturleonese language, spoken in Extremadura and adjoining areas in the province of Salamanca.[1][2] It is difficult to establish the exact boundary between Extremaduran and the Spanish varieties spoken in most of Extremadura.


The linguistic varieties of Extremadura are usually classified in three main branches: Northern or "High" (artu estremeñu), Central or "Middle" (meyu estremeñu), and Southern or "Low" (baju estremeñu).[2] The northern branch is usually considered to be the language proper,[3] and is spoken in the north-west of the autonomous region of Extremadura, and the south-west of Salamanca, a province of the autonomous region of Castile and León. The central and southern branches are spoken in the rest of Extremadura, and are not different enough from standard Spanish to be considered anything but dialects of the language, since at least the 18th century.

Northern Extremaduran is also spoken in a few villages of southern Salamanca, being known there as the "palra d'El Rebollal", which is now almost extinct.


The late 19th century saw the first serious attempt to write in Extremaduran, until then an oral language,[4] with the poet José María Gabriel y Galán. Born in Salamanca, he lived most of his life in the north of Cáceres, Extremadura. He wrote in a local variant of Extremaduran, full of dialectal remains, but always with an eye on Spanish usage.

After that, localisms are the pattern in the attempts to defend the Extremaduran language to the extent that today only a few people are trying to revive the language and make northern Extremadura a bilingual region,[5] whereas the government and official institutions seem to think the best solution is for northwestern Extremadurans to speak a Castilian dialect without any kind of protection.[6]

There are also attempts to transform the southern Castilian dialects ("castúo", as some people named them using the word which appeared in Luis Chamizo Trigueros's poems) into a language, which makes it even harder to defend High Extremaduran, considered more frequently a "real" language and makes it easier for the administration to reject co-officiality and the normalisation of Extremaduran.[7] It is in serious danger of extinction, with only the oldest people speaking it at present, while most of the Extremaduran population cannot speak the language, since the majority of Extremadurans, and even its own speakers, regard it as poorly spoken Spanish.[8]

In 2013, the people of Serradilla created the first feature film in Extremaduran, Territoriu de bandolerus.[9]


  • Features related to Astur-Leonese:
    • Post-tonic o becomes u, e.g. oru [ˈoɾu] 'gold'.
    • Post-tonic e becomes i, e.g. calli [ˈkaʎi] or [ˈkaʝi] 'street'.
    • Latin word-final e, chiefly after d, is not lost, e.g. redi [ˈreði] 'net'.
    • Some cases of palatalization of word-initial n, e.g. ñíu [ˈɲiu] 'nest'.
    • Conservation of the consonantic group mb in intermediate position, e.g. lambel [lamˈbel] 'to lick'.
    • Frequent conservation of word-initial [h] derived from a Latin f-. This consonant is lost in most Spanish varieties, but is common with much of Andalusia, e.g. higu [ˈhiɣu] 'fig'.
    • Occasional conservation of word-initial f, e.g. fogal [foˈɣal] 'home, hearth'.
  • Features related to southern peninsular Spanish:
    • General loss of intervocalic d, e.g. mieu [ˈmjeu] 'fear'.
    • Debuccalization of post-vocalic /s/, /ks/ and /θ/ into [h] (s-aspiration), e.g. estal [ɛhtˈtal] 'to be'.
  • Other features:
    • Infinitives in -l, e.g. dil [ˈdil] 'to go'.
    • Metathesis of the consonant cluster rl into lr, e.g. chalral [tʃalˈral] 'to talk'.
    • Occasional interchange of the liquid consonants l/r, e.g. craru [ˈkɾaɾu] 'clear'.[10]
    • Preservation of some old voiced fricatives, such as some instances of [ð] corresponding to [z] in Portuguese or [θ] corresponding to [s] in Portuguese (both corresponding to /θ/ in Spanish). This feature is an archaism preserved from Old Spanish or Old Astur-Leonese, as it happens only when it is etymologically justified. When a voiced fricative appears, one also does in languages such as Catalan or Portuguese: Extremaduran tristeza [tɾihtˈteða] 'sadness' (still voiced in Portuguese tristeza [tɾiʃˈtezɐ], voice lost in Spanish tristeza [tɾisˈteθa]), but Extremaduran cabeça [kaˈβeθa] 'head' (voiceless also in Portuguese cabeça [kɐˈβesɐ], Spanish cabeza [kaˈβeθa]). The feature is dying out quite fast but is found all over the High Extremaduran speaking area.


  • Anteposition of the article before the possessive pronoun, as in Old Spanish or in many Romance languages such as Leonese, Portuguese, Catalan or Italian.
  • Anteposition of the particle lu (or lo), in some interrogative sentences.
  • Use of diminutives inu and ina, as heritage from Leonese (as in Portuguese).
  • Occasional formation of gerund, derived from a form of the verb in past tense.
  • Usage of a vocative-exclamative case. When nouns are in the vocative, the closing of post-tonic vowels (e into i and o into u) disappears and those vowels open. El Ramiru quíi venil (Ramiro wants to come), but Ramiro, ven pacá (Ramiro, come here!). Sé quién lo vidu, Pepi (I know who saw it, Pepe did), but Sé quién lo vidu, Pepe (I know who saw it, Pepe). This is a characteristic shared with the Fala language. Extremaduran and the Fala language are actually the only western Romance languages with a distinct form of vocative case for nouns formed with a change in the ending.
  • Usage of the preposition a with the verbs andal and estal indicating static temporal location, contrasting with the usage of en. Está a Caçris "He's in Cáceres (for a few days)", Está en Caçris "He's in Cáceres", Está pa Caçris "He's around Cáceres".
  • A very frequent usage of deictic forms to which enclitic pronouns can be added at the end. They can be used in the middle of a sentence: Velaquí la mi casa (Here is my house), velallilu (there he is), Paquí se curtivan velaquí lechugas, millu... (Look, lettuce, corn and so on is grown here).
  • Usage of reduplicated forms of plural pronouns with a reciprocal sense (ellus y ellus, vujotrus y vujotrus...): Estaban brucheandu ellus y ellus: They were wrestling with each other.


  • Usage of terms considered in Spanish as archaisms: ludia (Spanish levadura, "yeast").
  • Presence of common terms from Andalusian Arabic: zagal (from Andalusian Arabic zaḡál, "boy").

Comparative tables[edit]

Latin Italian Romanian Catalan Gascon Spanish Judezmo Portuguese Galician Andalusian Extremaduran Leonese English
altus alto (în)alt alt haut alto alto alto alto arto artu [10] altu high/tall
quasi quasi (aproape) quasi quasi casi kaji quase case caçi cuasi, abati cuasi almost
dicere dire zice dir díser decir [deˈθir] dizir dizer dicir deçîh izil [iˈðil] dicire to say
facere fare face fer har hacer


(f)azer fazer facer haçêh hazel [haˈðel] facere to do
focus fuoco foc foc huec fuego fuego,huego fogo fogo fuego hueu fueu fire
flamma fiamma (flamă) flama ehlama llama yama chama chama yama/flama flama chama flame
legere leggere (citi) llegir léger leer meldar ler ler leêh leel lliere to read
lingua lingua limbă llengua lengua lengua elguenga língua lingua lengua luenga/léngua llingua tongue
lumbum lombo ((zona) lombară) llom lom lomo lombo lombo lombo lomo lombu llombu loin
mater madre (mamă) mare mair madre madre mãe nai mae mairi mai mother
merula merlo mierlă merla mèrlo mirlo melro merlo mîl-lo mielru mielru blackbird
monstrare mostrare mustra mostrar muishar mostrar amostrar mostrar mostrar môttrâh muestral amuesare to show
noster nostro nostru nostre noste nuestro muestro,muesho nosso noso muêttro/nuêttro muestru/nuestru nuesu ours
tussis tosse tuse tos tos tos toz tosse tose tôh tossi tose cough

* The words in this table refer only to High Extremaduran.

** Extremaduran words in this table are spelled according to Ismael Carmona García's orthography.


There is a regional organization in Extremadura, OSCEC Estremaúra,[11] that tries to defend the language, one journal (Belsana) and one cultural newspaper, Iventia,[12] written in the new unified Extremaduran and the old dialect "palra d'El Rebollal".[citation needed]

Textual example[edit]

Portuguese Galician Leonese Asturian Extremaduran Spanish Ladino English
O estremenho é uma língua falada no noroeste da comunidade autónoma da Estremadura. O estremeño é unha lingua falada no noroeste da comunidade autónoma de Estremadura. L'estremennu yía una llingua falada nel noruesti la comunidá autónoma Estremadura. L'estremeñu ye una llingua falada nel noroeste de la comunidá autónoma d'Estremadura. El estremeñu es una luenga palrá nel noroesti de la comuniá autónoma d'Estremaúra. El extremeño es una lengua hablada en el noroeste de la comunidad autónoma de Extremadura. El ekstremadurano es una lingua favlada en el noroeste d'la komunitate autonoma d'Ekstremadura. Extremaduran is a language spoken in the northwest of the autonomous community of Extremadura.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Extremaduran at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b "Extremeño" [Extremaduran]. proel.org (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  3. ^ "Acerca de Hispania" [About Hispania]. espanolsinfronteras.com (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 23 February 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  4. ^ "[Congress about the Extremaduran language]" (PDF). paseovirtual.iespana.es.[dead link]
  5. ^ Gutierro Rodriguez, Bienvenido (17 March 2008). "En defensa del habla extremeña" [In defense of the Extremaduran speech]. Hoy (in European Spanish). Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  6. ^ Viudas Camarasa, Antonio (2008). "Agenda de APLEX" [APLEX Agenda] (Interview) (in Spanish). Interviewed by Concha Llamazares. APLEX. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  7. ^ González Salgado, José Antonio (2003). "La conciencia lingüística de los hablantes extremeños" [The linguistic awareness of Extremadura speakers]. In C. Alemany Bay (ed.). Actas del Congreso Internacional "La lengua, la Academia, lo popular, los clásicos, los contemporáneos..." (in Spanish). Vol. 2. pp. 725–735. ISBN 84-7908-731-5 – via Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes.
  8. ^ Real Antón, Jose María (18 June 2007). "Primer Congreso sobre el habla de Extremadura" [First Congress on the speech of Extremadura]. Serradilla.com (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  9. ^ World premiere of the movie ' Territorial of Bandolerus ' Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
  10. ^ a b Ismael Carmona García's dictionary 2005 Izionariu castellanu-estremeñu
  11. ^ see "OSCEC Estremaúra". Archived from the original on 11 September 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  12. ^ see "Inventia". Archived from the original on 23 August 2004. Retrieved 5 December 2006.

External links[edit]