Murcian Spanish

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Pronunciation [muɾˈθjano, -ˈsjano]
Native to Spain
Region Murcia, Andalusia (Almería, partially in Jaén and Granada), Castile-La Mancha (Albacete) and Valencia (Vega Baja, Alicante)
Spanish orthography (Latin script)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
Dialecto murciano.png
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Murcian (endonym: murciano) is a variant of Peninsular Spanish, spoken mainly in the autonomous community of Murcia and the adjacent comarcas of Vega Baja del Segura and Alto Vinalopó in the province of Alicante (Valencia), the corridor of Almansa in Albacete (Castile-La Mancha). In a greater extent, it may also include some areas that were part of the former Kingdom of Murcia, like southeastern Albacete (now part of Castile La Mancha) and parts of Jaén and Almería (now part of Andalusia).

The linguistic varieties of Murcian form a dialect continuum with Eastern Andalusian and Manchego Peninsular Spanish.

Murcian is considered a separate language of Spanish by some of its native speakers, who call it llengua murciana.[1][2] The term panocho is also used to designate the Murcian language, however it mostly refers to the variety spoken in the comarca of the Huerta de Murcia.


Kingdom of Murcia within the Crown of Castile (1590).
Territorial division of 1833 where appears the biprovincial region of Murcia.

Murcian emerged from the mixture of several linguistics varieties that joined in the Kingdom of Murcia after the conquest of the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castile between 13th and 14th centuries. The linguistics varieties were mainly Tudmir's Romance (a type of Andalusi Romance), Arabic, Aragonese, Old Castilian and Occitano-Catalan.


Murcian is considered an endangered language.

Phonetic features of Murcian[edit]

The Murcian dialectal features differ among areas, villages, social classes and individuals in accordance with the communicative situation in which they are involved, this is because of the influence of standard rule. This dialect has similarities and differences with Spanish, Aragonese and Catalan languages.


Murcian Spanish vowel chart, from Monroy & Hernández-Campoy (2015:233)
Front Central Back
High close i u
near-close ɪ̟ ʊ̠
Low open-mid ɛ̞ ɔ̞
open æ̞ ɑ̈

As Eastern Andalusian and Southern Manchego Peninsular dialects, Murcian has 5 tense vowels (roughly the same as Castilian Spanish); [ɑ̈], [e̞], [i], [o̞], [u] and 5 lax vowels; [æ̞], [ɛ̞], [ɪ̟], [ɔ̞], [ʊ̠]. Vowels are lowered when in contact with an omitted coda fricative (/s/, /θ/ and /x/) or liquid (/l/, /r/), additionally a vowel harmony process may take place; e.g. la casa [lɑ̈ ˈkɑ̈sɑ̈] ("the house") vs las casas [læ̞ ˈkːæ̞sæ̞] ("the houses"). Notes about the Murcian vowels:

  • In some cases [ɛ̞] and [ɔ̞] may approach to [æ̞] and [ɒ] respectively: seis [ˈsæ̞j] 'six' and hostias [ˈɒt̪ːjæ̞] 'slaps'.
  • Some modern accents may lack [æ̞], [ɪ̟] and [ʊ̠] due to Castilianisation.
  • Vowels can be phonetically nasalised when in contact with a nasal consonant. Nasalisation is particularly strong when in contact with palatals and velars: munchos [ˈmʊ̃n̠ʲtɕɔ̞] ~ [ˈmʊ̃n̠ʲdʑɔ̞] ~ [ˈmʊ̃n̠ʲɟʝɔ̞] ('much, a lot').


The consonant system of Murcian is mostly the same than Castilian.

Notable features, several shared with other southern dialects of Spanish:

  • The spirants [β ð ɣ] are pronounced as fricatives or close fricatives more frequently than in Standard Spanish.
    • [β ð ɣ] can occur word initially and can be geminated and/or devoiced in certain environments.
    • Pronunciation of [β] (and [ɸ]) may alternate with [v] (and [f]).
    • [ð] elision is very common: prenná [pɾe̞ˈɲɑ̈], mercao [me̞ɾˈkɑ̯o̞].
  • Palatalisation of initial /l/: llengua [ˈʎe̞ŋgwɑ̈] ('tongue').
  • Final /l/ is pronounced [ɾ] before consonants (sal blanca [ˈsæ̞ɾ ˈblɑ̈ŋkɑ̈] 'white salt'), [l] before vowels (sal azul [ˈsæ̞l ɑ̈ˈθʊ̠] 'blue salt'), and it is silent at the end of an utterance: sal [ˈsæ̞] ('salt').
  • Final /ɾ/ is elided: El Palmar [ˈɛɾ pɑ̈ɾmæ̞].
  • Existence of a velarised postpalatal consonant steaming from the syllables quia, quie and quio, found especially in the Huerta de Murcia: perriquio [pe̞ˈrik̟jo̞] ('little dog').
  • Existence of a residual /ʃ/ (or [ɕ]) in some speakers.

Phonetic development of Murcian[edit]

There are linguistic phenomena that are (or were) usual in other linguistic varieties (Aragonese, Mozarabic, Catalan, Valencian, Andalusian, etc.):

  • The frequent preservation of voiceless intervocalic consonants or other voiceless consonants that used to be voiced or are voiced in standard Spanish: cocote (cogote in Spanish), cocotazo, cancro (cangrejo in Spanish), parata (parada), sermonata (sermonada), atoba (adobe), acachar, alcayata, engangrenar, cangrena, pescatero, pinato (pino joven), gayato (cayado), falluto (huero), capolar, Caputa (a place in Mula), caparra (garrapata), capítulo (cabildo), súpito (súbito), molata, La Mulata, escorrata, pescatero, Ficaria (a place in Blanca), poyata (Lorca), volandero, etc.
  • The frequent voicing of voiceless consonants: gambusino (campesino), morga (morca), alhábega (albahaca), chiguito (chiquito), regüestar (recostar), bambulla (lat. ampulla), etc.
  • The frequent preservation of Latin group cl: clamar, 'llamar' and also "pl" (plantaje, El Plan).
  • The frequent preservation of Latin group fl: flama (llama, calor), flamante (llameante), flamar, suflama/soflama, inflar, infleta, botinflar, botinflao, etc.
  • The frequent maintenance of Latin /f/ in its original form (fenazar, fenás, vafada, fito a fito, manifacero, ferrija, Ficaria, figue, etc.) or aspirated (it is always aspirated before /u/ like in huerte, huerza, huente, humar, humo, conhundir, etc.; it is maintained in certain cases before /o/ like in hormar, hondo, hongo, hopo, etc and before /a/ in haldar, hambre, etc.
  • The presence of intervocalic consonantic group ns: ansa, nansa, pansa, pansir, pansío, suspensar, ansín, ansina, etc.
  • A consonantal change between voiceless /k/ and /t/: La Rápita or La Rápica, tavacote (cavacote), tápena (caparis), friolenco, cantamusa, a tatas (a catas < a gatas), chito (chico, in Cieza), etc.
  • Change from b to m: mandurria, Menjú (Abenhud, from Arabic Ibn Hud), meneno, comenencia, moñiga, camota (cabota), etc.

Evolution of certain consonant clusters[edit]

  • /bd/ > [dː] (Abdón > Addón)
  • /bg/ > [ɡː] (Novgorod > Noggorod)
  • /bs/ > [sː] or [s] (absorver > assorver / asorver)
  • /bt/ > [tː] (obtener > ottener)
  • /bx/ > [xː] or [x] (objetivo > ojjetivo / ojetivo)
  • /kn/ > [nː](tecnología > tennología)
  • /ks/ > [s] (examen > esamen)
  • /ksk/ > [kː] (excursión > eccursión)
  • /ksf/ > [ɸː] (Oxford > Offor)
  • /ksp/ > [pː] (explicar > epplicar)
  • /kst/ > [tː] (extra > ettra)
  • /kt/ > [tː] or [t] (exacto > esatto; doctrina > dottrina > dotrina)
  • /kθ/ > [θː] or [θ] (lección> lición; producción > predución)
  • /db/ > [βː] (adverbio > avverbio)
  • /dk/ > [kː] (adquirir > acquirir)
  • /df/ > [ɸː] (adfirmar > affirmar)
  • /dm/ > [ɡm] > [mː] (admirar > agmirar > ammirar)
  • /dx/ > [xː] or [x] (adjetivo > ajjetivo; adjuntar > ajuntar)
  • /ft/ > [tː] (difteria > ditteria)
  • /ɡd/ > [dː] > [d/ð] (Magdalena > Maddalena > Madalena)
  • /ɡl/ > [l] (iglesia > ilesia)
  • /ɡm/ > [mː] (magma > mamma)
  • /ɡn/ > [nː](indigno > indinno)
  • /lr/ > [rː] (alrededor > arreor)
  • /mb/ > [mβ] or [mɸ] (enviscar > enfiscar; enblanquecío > enflanquecío)
  • /mn/ > [nː] (columna > colunna)
  • /ngl/ > [nl] (Inglaterra > Ing•laterra)
  • /nm/ > [mː] (inmenso > immenso)
  • /pn/ > [ɡn] > [nː] (apnea > annea)
  • /ps/ > [sː] (epsilón > essilón; epilepsia > epilessia)
  • /pt/ > [tː] (septenil > settenil; aptitud > attitú)
  • /pθ/ > [θː] (Leipzig > Leizzi)
  • /rl/ > [lː] (Carlos > Cal•los)
  • /rn/ > [nː] (carne > canne)
  • /rm/ > [mː] (hermano > hemmano)
  • /rs/ > [sː] (comerse > comes•se)
  • /sb/ > [βː] or [ɸː] (desbordar > evvordar / effordar; esvarar > evvarar / effarar)
  • /sd/ > [ðː] or [θː] (desde > dezze)
  • /sf/ > [ɸː] (esfera > effera)
  • /sɡ/ > [ɣː] or [xː] (desgarrar > ejjarrar; desgargolar > ejjargolar)
  • /sk/ > [kː] (escapar > eccapar)
  • /sl/ > [lː] (eslomar > el•lomar; isla > il•la)
  • /sm/ > [mː] (mesmo > memmo; golisma > golimma)
  • /sn/ > [nː] (fresno > frenno)
  • /sp/ > [pː] (asperar > apperar)
  • /sr/ > [rː/] (desroñar > er•roñar; Israel > Ir•rael)
  • /st/ > [tː] (castaña > cattaña)
  • /tl/ > [lː] (Atlántico > Al•lántico)
  • /tn/ > [ɡn/ > [nː] (etnología > ennología)
  • /θɡ/ > [ɣː] or [xː] (mayorazgo > mayorajjo)
  • /θk/ > [kː] (bizcocho > biccocho)
  • /θl/ > [lː] (hazlo > hal•lo)
  • /θn/ > [nː] (biznaga > binnaga)

See also[edit]



  • Alberto Sevilla. Vocabulario Murciano
  • García Soriano. Vocabulario del Dialecto Murciano
  • García Cotorruelo-Emilia. Estudio sobre el habla de Cartagena y su comarca.
  • Molina Fernández, Patricio. Parablero Murciano.
  • Monroy, Rafael; Hernández-Campoy, Juan Manuel (2015), "Murcian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 45 (2): 229–240, doi:10.1017/S0025100314000395 
  • Muñoz Cortés-Manuel. El habla de la Huerta.
  • Aguilar Gil, Pedro. Raíces, habla y costumbres de los huertanos. A.A.V.V. Torrealta. Molina. 1999.
  • Álvar López, Manuel. Estudios sobre las hablas meridionales. Universidad de Granada. Granada. 2004.
  • Álvar López, Manuel. Las hablas meridionales de España y su interés para la lingüística comparada. Atlas Lingüístico de Andalucía, Tomo 1, nº. 2. Universidad de Granada. Granada. 1956.
  • Díez de Revenga, Francisco Javier y De Paco, Mariano. Historia de la literatura murciana. Editora Regional. Murcia. 1989.
  • Ibarra Lario, Antonia. Materiales para el conocimiento del habla de Lorca y su comarca. Universidad de Murcia. Murcia. 1996.