Rounding up our series, we take a look at the remaining dialects of the Spanish mainland. These are considered minority dialects
compared to those we have profiled over the last few weeks. Let’s take a look at them, their origins and where they are spoken.
Known as Aragonés or simply fabla, meaning ‘talk’ or ‘speech’, by native speakers, Aragonese originated in the Middle Ages as a Latin dialect. Like many other dialects, its use receded due to dynastic changes, most notably when Ferdinand I, who was of Castilian origin, came to the throne of Aragon in the fifteenth century. With the union of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile in the sixteenth century, it was relegated to rural and colloquial use. Though suppressed during the Franco years, the language is still spoken in the Aragonese mountain ranges of the Pyrenees and has been recognised as a ‘native language, original and historic’ since 2009.
Asturian and Leonese
Also developing from the break-up of Latin, Asturian is indigenous to the Principality of Asturias in North-West Spain. It is not an official language, but is protected under the region’s Statute of Autonomy. Its status is deemed critical as its speakers have declined sharply in the last century. However, steps were taken by the Academy of the Asturian Language to preserve it, and the indications are that those speaking or understanding it have risen in the last couple of decades, so it may yet survive. Its close relative, Leonese, was formerly a distinct dialect spoken in the provinces of León and Zamora. The two are now usually considered to be a single language, Astur-Leonese.
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