Iberian Romance languages

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Iberian Romance
Originally Iberian Peninsula and southern France; now worldwide
Linguistic classification Indo-European
Glottolog sout3183  (Shifted Iberian)[1]
unsh1234  (Aragonese–Mozarabic)[2]

The Iberian Romance, Ibero-Romance or simply Iberian languages[3] are the Romance languages that developed on the Iberian Peninsula, an area consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra, and in southern France.

Originating in Iberia, the most widely spoken Iberian Romance languages are Castilian (Spanish), Portuguese, Catalan and Galician.[4] These languages also have their own regional and local dialects. Based on mutual intelligibility, Dalby counts seven "outer" languages, or language groups: Portuguese+Galician, Spanish, Asturian+Leonese, "Wider"-Aragonese, "Wider"-Catalan, Provençal+Lengadocian, and "Wider"-Gascon.[5]

Origins and development[edit]

Linguistic map of southwestern Europe

Like all Romance languages,[6] the Iberian Romance languages descend from Vulgar Latin. Vulgar Latin was the nonstandard (in contrast to Classical Latin) form of the Latin language spoken by soldiers and merchants throughout the Roman Empire. With the expansion of the empire, Vulgar Latin came to be spoken by inhabitants of the various Roman-controlled territories. Latin and its descendants have been spoken in Iberia since the Punic Wars, when the Romans conquered the territory[7] (see Roman conquest of Hispania).

The modern Iberian Romance languages were formed roughly through the following process:


Politically (not linguistically), there are four major officially recognised Iberian Romance languages:

Additionally, the Asturian language, although not an official language,[22] is recognised by the autonomous community of Asturias. In Portugal, Mirandese, which, like Asturian, is one of the Astur-Leonese languages, has official status in the northernmost part of the country.[23]

Family tree[edit]

Ibero-Romance languages around the world
Ibero-Romance languages in Iberia

The Iberian Romance languages are a conventional group of Romance languages. Many authors use the term in a geographical sense although they are not necessarily a phylogenetic group (the languages grouped as Iberian Romance may not all directly descend from a common ancestor). Phylogenetically, there is disagreement about what languages should be considered within the Iberian Romance group; for example, some authors consider that East Iberian, also called Occitano-Romance, could be more closely related to languages of northern Italy (or also Franco-Provençal, the langues d'oïl and Rhaeto-Romance). A common conventional geographical grouping is the following:

  • East Iberian
  • West Iberian

Daggers (†) indicate extinct languages

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Shifted Iberian". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Aragonese–Mozarabic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Pharies, David A. (2007). A Brief History of the Spanish Language. University of Chicago Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-226-66683-9. 
  4. ^ Ethnologue: Statistical Summaries
  5. ^ Dalby, David (2000). "5=Indo-European phylosector" (PDF). The Linguasphere register of the world's languages and speech communities. 2. Oxford: Observatoire Linguistique, Linguasphere Press. 
  6. ^ Thomason, Sarah (2001). Language Contact. Georgetown University Press. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-87840-854-2. 
  7. ^ Brown, Keith; Ogilvie, Sarah (2008). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier Science. p. 1020. ISBN 978-0-08-087774-7. 
  8. ^ Penny, Ralph (2002). A History of the Spanish Language. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-521-01184-6. 
  9. ^ Penny (2002), p. 16
  10. ^ Turell, M. Teresa (2001). Multilingualism in Spain: Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Aspects of Linguistic Minority Groups. Multilingual Matters. p. 591. ISBN 978-1-85359-491-5. 
  11. ^ Cabo Aseguinolaza, Fernando; Abuín Gonzalez, Anxo; Domínguez, César (2010). A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 339–40. ISBN 978-90-272-3457-5. 
  12. ^ Lapesa, Rafael (1968). Historia de la lengua española (7th ed.) (in Spanish). Gredos. p. 124. ISBN 84-249-0072-3. ISBN 84-249-0073-1. 
  13. ^ "Lengua Española o Castellana". Promotora Española de Lingüística (in Spanish). 
  14. ^ Ethnologue: Table 3. Languages with at least 3 million first-language speakers
  15. ^ See Ethnologue
  16. ^ Constitution of Andorra (Article 2.1)
  17. ^ Bec, Pierre (1973), Manuel pratique d'occitan moderne, coll. Connaissance des langues, Paris: Picard
  18. ^ Sumien, Domergue (2006), La standardisation pluricentrique de l'occitan: nouvel enjeu sociolinguistique, développement du lexique et de la morphologie, coll. Publications de l'Association Internationale d'Études Occitanes, Turnhout: Brepols
  19. ^ Myers-Scotton, Carol (2005). Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-631-21937-8. 
  20. ^ a b Ethnologue
  21. ^ Posner, Rebecca (1996). The Romance Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-521-28139-3. 
  22. ^ "La jueza a Fernando González: 'No puede usted hablar en la lengua que le dé la gana'". El Comercio. 12 January 2009. 
  23. ^ See: Euromosaic report

External links[edit]