Leonese language

Leonese language
Leonese language
Llengua Llionesa, llionés
Spoken in  Spain
Region Provinces of León (north and west), Zamora (north-west) in Spain,[1][2][3] and the towns of Rionor and Guadramil in northeastern Portugal[4][5]
Native speakers 25,000–50,000  (2008)[6][7]
Language family
Official status
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-2 ast
ISO 639-3 ast
Linguasphere 51-AAA-cc

The Leonese language (llengua llionesa[8] in Leonese; often called, for smaller areas, by traditional names corresponding to those areas, such as cabreirés,[9] senabrés,[10] paḷḷuezu, etc.) is the endonym term used to refer to all vernacular Romance dialects of the Astur-Leonese linguistic group[11] in the Spanish provinces of León and Zamora;[12] Astur-Leonese also includes the dialects of Asturian in Asturias and the Mirandese language of Miranda do Douro in Portugal. Leonese has no written policy officially regulated. Some associations have proposed a standard, different from those existing in the rest of the linguistic area (such as that applicable in Asturias, regulated by the Academy of the Asturian Language, or the Lhéngua Mirandesa Anstituto applicable to Miranda of Miranda do Douro). On the other hand, other Leonese writers and associations intend to follow the spelling rules of the Academy of the Asturian Language.

The term "Leonese" has also been used historically by some authors to refer to the whole linguistic region, which extends from Cantabria to Extremadura and is known primarily as the Astur-Leonese linguistic group.[4] Some authors speak of a Leonese language or historical dialect from Latin, and of Asturian and Mirandese as co-dialects of Leonese.[12][13][14]

The Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language defines Leonese (from a linguistic point of view) in the meanings six and seven. In the meaning six there is a reference to the term asturleonés (Asturianleonese) whose second definition reads as follows: "It is the romance dialect originated in Asturias and in the ancient reign of Leon as a result of the peculiar evolution of Latin". Meaning seven of the term Leonese indicates: "It is the variety of Spanish spoken in Leonese territory". Therefore, the meaning of Leonese which will be used is the six in the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language and the reference to Leonese made in article 5.2 of the Autonomous Statute of Castile and León is for the language originated in Asturias and in the ancient reign of Leon.[15] On the other hand, it is necessary to point out that the name of Leonese, the one legally considered, is the term used in Leon and Zamora to refer to the same language that in the Principality of Asturias is called Asturian, although the situation of this language in the Principality of Asturias and Castile and Leon is very different in its social situation, territorial distribution, legal treatment or institutional promotion, questions which do not prevent from considering the essential unit of this language.[16]


Linguistic description


Asturleonese language has evolved from Latin, keeping some linguistic structures different from other Romance languages. The majority of Leonese vocabulary comes from Latin. Other languages, like the Celtic languages and Germanic languages, have influenced Leonese as well.

Phonology and writing


Leonese language has a system with 5 vowels in a stressed position, represented a, e, i, o, u and three (two archiphonemes /I/, /U/ and one phoneme /a/) in non-stressed position, represented with e, u , a at the end of word.[17]


The Leonese language is written using the Latin alphabet, but lacks a written policy officially regulated. Some associations have proposed a standard itself, as distinct from those existing in the linguistic area (as applicable in Asturias, regulated by the Academy of the Asturian Language, or the Anstituto de la Lhéngua Mirandesa applicable to the Mirandese language of Miranda do Douro) while other associations and writers from Leon and Zamora intend to follow the spelling rules of the Academy of the Asturian Language.

Sample texts
1st Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood)
Dialect Location Linguistic variety Text
Carreño's dialect (asturian) Asturias Central asturleonese Tolos seres humanos nacen llibres y iguales en dignidá y drechos y, pola mor de la razón y la conciencia de so, han comportase fraternalmente los unos colos otros.
Somiedo's dialect (asturian) Asturias Occidental asturleonese Tódolos seres humanos nacen ḷḷibres ya iguales en dignidá ya dreitos ya, dotaos cumo tán de razón ya conciencia, han portase fraternalmente los unos conos outros.
Paḷḷuezu (Leonese) León Occidental asturleonese Tódolos seres humanos nacen ḷḷibres ya iguales en dignidá ya dreitos ya, dotaos cumo tán de razón ya conciencia, han portase fraternalmente los unos conos outros.
Cabreirés (Leonese) León Occidental asturleonese Tódolos seres humanos ñacen llibres y iguales en dignidá y dreitos y, dotaos cumo están de razón y concéncia, han portase fraternalmente los unos pa coños outros.
Mirandese Trás-os-Montes (Portugal) Occidental asturleonese Todos ls seres houmanos nácen lhibres i eiguales an denidade i an dreitos. Custuituídos de rezon i de cuncéncia, dében portar-se uns culs outros an sprito de armandade.

Historical changes

A number of historical traits link Leonese to Portuguese rather than Spanish:

  • Leonese language kept the initial /f/ from Latin, like Portuguese, Catalan, French and most Occitan dialects (vs. Spanish /h/ > nothing).
  • The Latin initial consonant clusters /pl/, /kl/, /fl/ evolved into Leonese ⟨ch⟩ (vs. Spanish ⟨ll⟩).
  • Proto-Romance medial clusters -ly- and -cl- became medieval /ʎ/, modern /j/ (vs. medieval Spanish /dʒ/, modern /x/).
  • The cluster /-mb-/ is kept (vs. Spanish /mb/ > /m/).
  • Proto-Romance -mn- becomes /m/ (vs. Spanish /mbr/): lūm'nem > lume (Spanish lumbre).
  • Falling diphthongs /ei/, /ou/ preserved (vs. Spanish /e/, /o/).
  • Final -o becomes /u/.

Other traits different from Spanish:

  • The final "e" of the Latin infinitives is kept, like in Italian.
  • Like in Catalan, /l/ is palatalized word-initially; sometimes /n/ as well.
  • The medial cluster /sk/ becomes -x-.
  • Western Romance /ɛ/,/ɔ/ consistently diphthongize to ⟨ie⟩, ⟨ue⟩, even before palatals (as in Aragonese): terra > tierra "land", oc'lum > güeyo "eye" (cf. Spanish tierra, ojo with no diphthongization before palatals, Portuguese terra, olho with no diphthongization at all).



Leonese has two genders (masculine and feminine) and two numbers (singular and plural)

The main endings are -u for masculine singular and -os for masculine plural.
For the feminine, the endings are -a for the singular and -as for the plural.


Leonese has two genders (masculine and feminine) and two numbers (singular and plural).

The main endings are -u for masculine singular and -os for masculine plural. For the feminine, the endings are -a for the singular and -as for the plural. For both are -e for singular and -es for the plural.

Adjectives have a concordance in gender and number with the noun.



There are three conjugations in Leonese language vebs, depending on the ending of the infinitive: -are, -ere, or -ire.


There are two divisions in Leonese gerunds depending on the ending: -andu or -endu.


There are three kinds of participles in Leonese, ending in -áu (first conjugation), -iéu (second conjugation), or -íu (third conjugation).


Possessives in Leonese, like in other Romance languages, must have the article before the possessive.

These are:

  • One possessor
    • (el) mieu, tou, sou
    • (la) mia, tua, sua
    • (los) mieus, tous, sous
    • (las) mias, tuas, suas
  • More than one possessor
    • (el) nuesu, vuesu, sou
    • (la) nuesa, vuesa, sua
    • (los) nuesos, vuesos, sous
    • (las) nuesas, vuesas, suas



Leonese uses an apostrophe where some prepositions (en, de, pa) elide before a vowel (n', d', p').

Comparative tables

Evolution from Latin to Galician, Portuguese, Asturleonese and Castilian
Diphthongization of 'o' and 'e'
Porta(m) (Door) porta porta puerta puerta
Oculu(m) (eye) ollo olho güeyu/güechu ojo
Tempu(m) (time) tempo tempo tiempu tiempo
Terra(m) (land) terra terra tierra tierra
F- (initial position)
Facere (make) facer fazer facere hacer
Ferru(m) (iron) ferro ferro fierru hierro
L–(initial position)
Lare(m) (fireplace) lar lar llar/ḷḷar lar
Lupu(m) (wolf) lobo lobo llobu/ḷḷobu lobo
N–(initial position)
Nativitate(m) (Christmas) nadal natal ñavidá navidad
pl-,cl-,fl- groups
Planu(m) (flat) chan chão chanu/llanu llano
Clave(m) (key) chave chave chave/llave llave
Flamma(m) (flame) chama chama chama/llama llama
Falling diphthongs
Causa(m) (thing) cousa coisa cousa/cosa cosa
Ferrariu(m) (blacksmith) ferreiru ferreiro ferreiru/-eru herrero
–kt- and –lt- groups
Factu(m) (made) feito feito feitu/fechu hecho
Nocte(m) (night) noite noite nueite/nueche noche
Multu(m) (much) muito muito mue'itu/muchu mucho
Auscultare (listen) escoitar escutar escueitare/-chare escuchar
m´n groups
Hom(i)ne(m) (man) home homem home hombre
Faminem (hunger, famine) fame fome fame hambre
Lum(i)ne(m) (fire) lume lume (light) llume/ḷḷume lumbre
intervocalic -l-
Gelu(m) (ice) xeo gelo xelu hielo
Filictu(m) (fern) fieito feto feleitu/-eichu helecho
Castellu(m) (castle) castelo castelo castiellu/-ieḷḷu castillo
intervocalic -n-
Rana(m) (frog) ra rana rana
–lj- group
Muliere(m) (woman) muller mulher muyer/mucher mujer
c´l, t´l, g´l groups
Novacula(m) (razor) navalla navalha ñavaya navaja
Vetulu(m) (old) vello velho vieyu/viechu viejo
Tegula(m) (tile) tella telha teya teja

Historical, social and cultural aspects

History of the language

Conventum Asturum in the first century BC.
The Leonese Romance language expanded into new territories of the Kingdom of León.
Atlas of Romance languages in Europe in the twentieth century.

The native languages of Leon and Zamora, as well as those from Asturias and the Land of Miranda (Portugal) are the result of the singular evolution of Latin introduced by the Roman conquerors in this area. Their colonization and organization led to the establishment of Conventus Astururm, with its capital in Asturica Augusta, nowadays Astorga, city which became the main centre of Romanization or Latinization of the pre-existent tribes.[18] The unitary conception of this area would remain until the Islamic invasion of the 7th Century with the creation of an astur dukedom as an evidence, also with capital in Astorga, which together with other seven configured the Spanish territory both political and administratively speaking. Later, about the 11th century it starts to be defined as a Leonese territory that corresponds in general terms to the southern territory of the ancient convent. The great medieval reign was configured from this space spreading to all the centre and west of the Iberian Peninsula previously led from Cangas de Onís, Pravia, Oviedo and finally in the city of León. In this medieval reign of León the romances Galician, Asturianleonese and Castilian were being created spreading to the south as the reign consolidated its domain to the southern territories.

The first text known to have appeared in the Asturian-Leonese Romance language is the document, Nodizia de Kesos, between 974 and 980 BC. This is a list of cheeses written in the margin on the back of a document in Latin.[19]

Between the 12th and 13th centuries Leonese reached its maximum territorial expansion and a quite normal situation as the language of the reign obtained a series of formal uses acquiring Latin as its usage in literature (Poema de Elena y María, El Libro de Alexandre…),[20][21] in the Leonese court, in justice (with the translation of the Liber Iudicum o Liber Iudiciorum Visigoth to leonés), in the administration and organization of the territory (as stated in the jurisdiction of Zamora, Salamanca, Leon, Oviedo, Aviles, etc.[22] which were written in Leonese from Latin). After the union of the reigns of Leon and Castile in the year 1230 Leonese reached a greater level of written and even institutional usage, although from the end of the 13th century the Spanish started to replace the leonés in writing in a slow process not finally adopted until the 15th century.[23] The previous circumstances, together with the fact that the Leonese was not used in institutional and formal affairs, led Leonese to suffer a territorial withdrawal. From this moment Leonese in the ancient kingdom of Leon was reduced to the condition of oral and rural language with very little literary development.

At the beginning of the 20th century Leonese survived with relative firmness in the north and mid-west of the province of Leon and in the west of Zamora. 1906 was the beginning of the scientific study of Leonese and a timid cultural movement of protest in the province of Leon. But from the 50s and 60s, the number of Leonese speakers drastically decreased and the areas where it was spoken were also outstandingly reduced. This social and territorial withdrawal has not stopped yet although the 80s were the beginning of a cultural movement of recovery and revalorization of the Leonese linguistic patrimony, linguistic protest and promotion of the native language.[24]

Use and distribution

Geographical distribution

Asturleonese linguistic area.

The geographical area of Leonese exceeds the administrative framework of the Autonomous Community of Castile and Leon so that the language known as Asturian or Bable in the Autonomous Community in the Principality of Asturias is, basically, the same as the one known as Leonese in Castile and Leon. The fact that the geographical area is divided in two Spanish autonomous communities makes the recognition and promotion of this language in Asturias, although clearly insufficient, not to be regarded in Castile and Leon where the language in completely non-existent in the official educative system, and lack measures of promotion by the autonomous Administration.[25]

The Asturian-Leonese linguistic domain covers nowadays approximately most part of the Principality of Asturias, the north and west of the province of Leon, the northeast of Zamora, both provinces in Castile and Leon, the region of Miranda do Douro, in the East of the Portuguese district of Bragança. However, the main objective of this article is the autonomous community of Castile and Leon.

Julio Borrego Nieto in the article about Leonese in his work Manual de dialectología española. El español de España (1996), points out the area where Leonese is best kept, defined as area 1, "includes the west part of Leon and Zamora if we exclude those before mentioned areas in which the Galician features either dominate or mix with the Leonese ones. Area 1 consists of the regions of Babia and Laciana, perhaps part of Luna and part of Los Argüellos, East Bierzo and the Cabrera; in Zamora, the no Galician Sanabria. It is the most dialectal area and it is, therefore, where the traditional features of the Leonese people offer a greater extent (that is, affect to a greater number of words) and vitality (that is, those used by a greater number of inhabitants), to the extent that the dialect is perceived as a different code, capable of alternating with Spanish in a kind of bilingual game". Besides Borrego Nieto points out at last other geographical circle, which he calls area 2, where the Leonese keeps a more eroding presence and that: “In Leon it is extended to the regions between the interior area and the Ribera del Órbigo (Maragatería, Cepeda, Omaña…). In Zamora, the region of La Carballeda –with the subregion La Requejada- and Aliste, with at least a part of its adjacent lands (Alba and Tábara). This area is characterized by a blur and progressive disappearance, greater as we move to the East, of the features still clearly seen in the previous area. The gradual and negative character of this characteristic explains how vague the limits are”.

Use and status

Number of speakers

A speaker of Leonese is a person who knows and can speak any variety of Leonese.

There is not any linguistic census which accurately provides with the real number of speakers of the Leonese in the provinces of Leon and Zamora. The different estimations based on the current number of speakers of the Leonese establish a number of inhabitants between 5,000 and 50,000 people.

Number of speakers according to various studies
Sociolinguistic study Number of speakers
II Estudiu sociollingüísticu de Lleón (Identidá, conciencia d'usu y actitúes llingüístiques de la población lleonesa).[26] 50,000
Boletín de Facendera pola Llengua's newsletter].[27] 25,000
El asturiano-leonés: aspectos lingüísticos, sociolingüísticos y legislación.[28] 20,000 to 25,000
Linguas en contacto na bisbarra do Bierzo: castelán, astur-leonés e galego.[29] 2,500 to 4,000*
*Referred only to the counties of EL Bierzo, valles de Ribas de Sil, Fornela and La Cabrera.
Perceptions of speakers
Current linguistic map of the provinces of Zamora and León.

In two recent sociolinguistic studies respectively made in the north of Leon and in all the province (Estudiu sociollingüísticu de Lleón. Uviéu, ALLA, 2006, and II Estudiu sociollingüísticu de Lleón. Uviéu, ALLA, 2008) and centred in the analysis of the prevalence of the Leonese, conscience of use and linguistic attitudes on the part of the traditional speakers of the Leonese, states that:

“People from Leon appreciate their traditional language and are aware that this is a part of what we could refer to as “Leonese culture”. In this sense, they completely reject the connection between its usage and linguistic incorrection. Although the traditional language is disappearing, fact most of the people in Leon are aware of, there is still a minimum number of users necessary to be able to initiate with guarantee a process of linguistic recuperation. To fight against this possibility of loss, most of the people in Leon are bound to the legal recognition of the traditional language, by collaborating with Asturias in linguistic politics, its presence at school and its institutional promotion.”

About the needs and wishes expressed by the society in the province of León about the leonés some data form the II Estudiu Sociollingüísticu de Lleón (2008) are revealing:.

The maintenance of the traditional language is the main wish among people, even though with different options. Thus, almost a 37% thinks that the language should be kept for non official uses and about a 30% states that it should be used as Spanish. On the other hand, the wish that it disappears is expressed just by a 22% of the population.

Most part of the people support the traditional language to have a legal recognition in the autonomous statute of the community, almost a 50% of the population.

The convenience to establish forms of collaboration to develop proceedings of linguistic politics in a coordinated way between León and Asturias reaches a high percentage among population, so that about 7 out of 10 people are in favour of this idea, whereas only a 20% of the people from Leon reject this option.

The scholar study of the traditional language is demanded by more than a 63% of the population. The resistance towards this possibility affect about a 34% of the population, or, which is the same, 1 out of 3 people from Leon do not accept the school option.

The positions in favour of the institutional promotion of the traditional language (especially by the town councils) get a percentage of more than 83% of the people’s opinions. In fact, the questioning to the promotional labour hardly reaches the 13% of the people from Leon.

Political recognition

The Autonomous Statute of Castile and Leon (The Organic Law 4/1983, 25 February), in the writing given by the Organic Law 14/2007, 30 November) deals in its article 5 with the Spanish languages and the linguistic patrimony of the Community. The first section of this precept is dedicated to the Spanish language, the second one to the Leonese and the third one to the Galician language. More specifically article 5.2 establishes the following:

“The Leonese will be specifically protected by the institutions for its particular value within the linguistic patrimony of the Community. Its protection, usage and promotion will be regulated.”

In the first paragraph it is stipulated that Leonese will be specifically protected by the institutions before referring to its particular value within the linguistic patrimony of the Community. It is of utmost importance that the composition of this paragraph provides Leonese and its treatment with the features of a living and valuable reality which must be preserved. About the rest of the previsions in this article, the protection of Leonese implies the obligation of the public power to adopt measures for keeping and protecting it, the usage of Leonese refers to the institutional usage of the Leonese, the promotion of Leonese refers to those activities and initiatives, in different aspects, beginning with education which would mean the establishment of Leonese as an optative subject in the non-universitary centres in those areas where the Leonese is kept.

However, Castile and Leon have not developed any activity to promote the Leonese following these rules.

In this point it is necessary to point out that in Portugal the Mirandese language, which has some institutional recognition by the Portuguese Administration, belongs to the same linguistic domain as Leonese, even though no form of transactional interchange in the domain of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages has been established by Castile and Leon.

The Autonomous Government of Castile and Leon has not developed any politics, or materialized any actuation in favour of the Leonese corresponding to the objectives followed in the Charter for the minority languages. However, civic associations from Leon and Zamora, autonomic institutions such as the Ombudsman of Castile and Leon have encouraged the adoption of urgent measures to defend and promote the Leonese, even though these measures have always received as an answer evasive answers by the Autonomous Government of Castile and Leon which, in fact, constitute a repetitive and categorical “no” to the protection of promotion of the Leonese.

The 21st of November 2008 the Cultural Association of Zamora Furmientu promoted before the Cultural and Tourism Department of the Autonomous Government of Castle and Leon, with the appropriate expedient, the declaration of the Leonese as a Well of Cultural Interest and asked for the application of the European Charter of the Regional or Minority Languages to the Leonese, even though it has not received an answer yet.

In February 2009 the Cultural Association of Zamora Furmientu complained to the Ombudsman of Castile and Leon because of the lack of measures for the protection and promotion of the Leonese. In the expedient about this complaint (number 20090528) due to the lack of development of article 5.2 of the Autonomous Statute in Castile and Leon, the Ombudsman pronounced a resolution to remind that:

“Article 5.2 of the Autonomous Statute binds to dictate a specific regulation for the protection, use and promotion of the Leonese, so, according to this mandate and considering the time passed from the coming into effect of the reform of the Autonomous Statute of Castile and Leon, passed by the Organic Law 14/2007, of 30th November, it is necessary to encourage the corresponding legal initiative by means of the pertinent project".

After continuous requirements to the Autonomous Government of Castile and Leon the Ombudsman answered the 19th of November 2009, even though only giving a rhetorical answer without any content offered by the Counselor of the Presidency of the Autonomous Government of Castile and Leon by which “the Resolution of the Institution of the Ombudsman is accepted and shared in the strict terms of the current Autonomous Statute of Castile and Leon”, and which does not specify either initiatives or protective measures of the use or promotion of the Leonese, and the legal development of article 5.2 of the Autonomous Statute is not foreseen.

On 24 February 2010 the parliamentary group in the Courts of Castile and Leon of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party presented a Non-Legal Proposition in the Courts of Castile and Leon to:

  • Recognise the value of Leonese within the linguistic patrimony of the Community and start a plan of measures aimed to its specific protection in coordination with the rest of the public administrations.
  • Fulfil the mandate established in article 5.2 of the Autonomous Statute and, according to it, dictate the Regulations about the protection, use and promotion of the Leonese.

This proposition was approved unanimously by the Plenary session of the Parliament of Castile and Leon on May 26, 2010. Nevertheless, the position of the Government of Castile and Leon in relation with the promotion of the Leonese language one has not changed, and, this way, no measure or plan has promised to be in order to give fulfillment to the article 5.2 of the Statute of Autonomy.

Endangered language
Reivindicative strikethrough signaling in Leonese language

The UNESCO in its Atlas of Languages in Danger in the World,[30] places the Leonese between the languages in danger.

Leonese is classified in the worst of the possible situations whose characteristics are:

  • Non-official language.
  • No presence in the means of communication.
  • Low level of knowledge and use.
  • Low social consideration of the language.
  • Absence of the language in schools.
  • Toponymy without normalizing.
Language standardization

There is not in Castile and Leon an institutional organ to promote the minority languages in the community, or an entity in charge of advising the Administration about the questions referring to the minority languages in the community.

In this sense, one must point out that the University of Leon celebrated two congresses about Leonese, and these congresses offered a continuity. It is also essential to bear in mind the labour to the Academy of the Asturian Language which has led linguistic and sociolinguistic investigations about the linguistic reality in Leon, publishing many research books and works about this topic and in the annual congresses it celebrates (Xornaes d’Estudiu) it uses to invite investigators from Leon and Zamora to deal with the language in these provinces.

In these congresses posed the following measures to be taken to move towards language standardization:

  • Development by means of a law of articles 5.2 and 5.3 of the Statute so that the Leonese and the Galician have identical treatment both legal and practical, always taking into account the peculiar sociolinguistic situations of both languages in Leon and Zamora.
  • Create an autonomic administrative organ dependent on the Departament of Culture and Tourism in charge of the tasks of protecting and promoting both languages, all of them with the aim of dealing with a defensive politics of both languages that should be coordinated, coherent, useful and with continuity.
  • Promote the Leonese from the respect towards the constitutive varieties of the language and involving the patrimonial speakers and the inhabitants of the areas where Leonese is kept in the task of linguistic recovery with campaigns of spreading, revalorization and awareness of the linguistic patrimony.
  • Introduce the learning of Leonese in teaching (primary, secondary and adults), with a priority character in the areas where this language has been recently used, and with a secondary character in the areas with social demand. In this sense the establishment of pilot experiences in areas such as Senabria, Cabreira, Altu Bierciu, L.laciana would be interesting
  • Recover the native toponymy by making an inventory of the traditional toponymies, so as to proceed to its bilingual signalling
  • In cultural politics: support the cultural and literary creation of Leonese and the Publications and editorials that use Leonese. Collaborate with the associations which base their work in the recovery of Leonese. Stimulate the presence of the Leonese in the social means of communication. Promote literary contests in Leonese.
  • Promote the investigation about Leonese through the Universities of the Community and centres of study and investigation such as the Institute of Studies in Zamora, Cultural Institute in Leon, Institute of Studies of El Bierzo or the Institute of Studies of Astorga “Marcelo Macías”
  • Coordinate the tasks of recovery in coordination and cooperation with linguistic institutions, centres of studies and administrations in the rest of the Asturialeonese linguistic area..
  • Make the local organizations involved with the recovery of the Leonese: that is: Provincial Councils, Town Halls, and Comarcal Council of El Bierzo
Traditional and official toponymy
Traditional Place Names Castilian Toponymic
Los Argüechos / Argüeyos Los Arguellos
Ponteo Pontedo
Gordón Gordón
Foyyeo Folledo
Sayambre Sajambre
Valdión Valdeón
El Bierzu El Bierzo
Cabreira Cabrera
Maragatos Maragatería
Cepeda Cepeda
Oumaña Omaña
Babia Babia
Ḷḷaciana Laciana
Palacios del Sil Palacios del Sil
Furniella Fornela
Senabria Sanabria
Aliste Aliste
La Carbayeda La Carballeda
Promotion of language
"El Prencipicu": This is the Leonese version of the book "The Little Prince". Translation made possible through the collaboration of the cultural associations "Facendera pola Llengua" and "La Caleya".
Newsletters of the cultural associations "Furmientu" and "La Caleya".

For approximately fifteen years some cultural associations have offered courses to learn the Leonese, sometimes with the support or collaboration of local Administrations in the provinces of Leon and Zamora. The autonomous community of Castile and Leon has never collaborated in these courses which in most occasions have taken place in precarious conditions, without continuity or by non qualified teachers and very often, far from the area where Leonese is spoken.

At the end of the 1990s, several associations unofficially promoted Leonese language courses. In 2001, the Universidad de León (University of León) created a course for teachers of Leonese, and local and provincial governments developed Leonese language courses for adults. Nowadays, Leonese can be studied in the most important villages of León, Zamora and Salamanca provinces in El Fueyu Courses, after the signing of an agreement between the Leonese Provincial Government and this organization. The Leonese Language Teachers and Monitors Association (Asociación de Profesores y Monitores de Llingua Llïonesa) was created in 2008 for the promotion of Leonese language activities.

Leonese language lessons started in 2008 with two schools, and are currently[dated info] taught in sixteen schools in León city in 2008-2009, promoted by the Leonese Local Government's Department for Education. This Leonese language course is for pupils in their 5th and 6th year of Primary School (children 11 and 12 years old), where Leonese is taught along with Leonese culture.

Leonese Language Day (Día de la Llingua Llïonesa, in Leonese), is a celebration for promoting the Leonese language and the advances in its field and was the result of a protocol signed between the Leonese Provincial Government and the Cultural Association for Leonese Language El Fueyu.[31]


Some examples of written literature:

Some examples of literature written in the Leonese language.

See also


  1. ^ Herrero Ingelmo, J.L. "El Leonés en Salamanca cien años después"
  2. ^ Llorente Maldonado, Antonio: "Las hablas vivas de Zamora y Salamanca en la actualidad"
  3. ^ Borrego Nieto, Julio: "Leonés"
  4. ^ a b Menéndez Pidal, R. El Dialecto Leonés. Madrid. 1906
  5. ^ Cruz, Luísa Segura da, João SARAMAGO e Gabriela VITORINO: “Os dialectos leoneses em território português: coesão e diversidade”. En: “Variação Linguística no Espaço, no Tempo e na Sociedade”. Associação Portuguesa de Linguística. Edições Colibri, p. 281-293. Lisboa. 1994.
  6. ^ González Riaño, Xosé Antón; García Arias, Xosé Lluis. II Estudiu Sociollingüísticu De Lleón: Identidá, conciencia d'usu y actitúes llingüístiques de la población lleonesa. Academia de la Llingua Asturiana, 2008. ISBN 978-84-8168-448-3
  7. ^ Sánchez Prieto, R. (2008): "La elaboración y aceptación de una norma lingüística en comunidades dialectalmente divididas: el caso del leonés y del frisio del norte". In: Sánchez Prieto, R./ Veith, D./ Martínez Areta, M. (ed.): Mikroglottika Yearbook 2008. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
  8. ^ Llingua Llïonesa, in another spelling. Is the name promoted by the political leader Abel Pardo Fernandez, president of Conceyu Xoven, when he was a councilor of the Department of Culture of the City of León. Is used by associations closed to this political group. These groups see leonese and asturian, although belonging to the same linguistic area, must be considered two distinct languages. Professors at the University of Leon have deprived to this denomination of valid linguistic authority.
  9. ^ "A woman talking in thecabreirés dialect". YouTube. 02010-02-09 February 9, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/user/Sanyallana#p/u/0/o6TvvpBzfQ0. Retrieved 02010-02-09 February 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Legend of Lake Sanabria in senabrés dialect". YouTube. 02010-02-09 February 9, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/user/FURMIENTU#p/a/u/1/B0rOW031Lug. Retrieved 02010-02-09 February 9, 2010. 
  11. ^ This linguistic area includes Asturias, León, Zamora y Miranda do Douro. Nowadays there are also some language remnants of names and vocabulary in Cantabria, Salamanca province, Extremadura and even Huelva province.
  12. ^ a b Krüger, Fritz (2006): Estudio fonético-histórico de los dialectos españoles occidentales. Zamora: CSIC/Diputación de Zamora. Pag. 13
  13. ^ Marcos, Ángel/Serra, Pedro (1999): Historia de la literatura portuguesa. Salamanca: Luso-Española. Pag. 9
  14. ^ Menéndez Pidal, Ramón (1906): El dialecto leonés
  15. ^ Diario de León newspaper.
  16. ^ Morala Rodríguez, Jose Ramón. "El Leonés en el Siglo XXI (Un Romance Milenario ante el Reto de su Normalización)", Instituto De La Lengua Castellano Y Leones, 2009. ISBN 978-84-936383-8-2
  17. ^ Pardo, Abel: Linguistica contrastiva italiano-leonese. Mikroglottika.2008
  18. ^ Santos, Juan. Comunidades indígenas y administración romana en el Noroeste hispánico, 1985. ISBN 978-84-7585-019-1.
  19. ^ Orígenes de las lenguas romances en el Reino de León, siglos IX-XII, 2004, ISBN 978-84-87667-64-0
  20. ^ Menéndez Pidal, Ramón. Elena y María. Disputa del clérigo y el caballero. Poesía leonesa inédita del siglo XIII, 1914. ISSN 0210-9174
  21. ^ The Leonese features in the Madrid manuscript of the Libro de Alexandre
  22. ^ Carrasco Cantos, Pilar. Estudio léxico-semántico de los fueros leoneses de Zamora, Salamanca, Ledesma y Alba de Tormes: concordancias lematizadas, 1997. ISBN 978-84-338-2315-1.
  23. ^ Lomax, Derek William. La lengua oficial de Castilla, 1971. Actele celui de al XII-lea Congres International de Lingvistica si Filologie Romanica
  24. ^ "Llionés en marcha", La Nueva España newspaper.
  25. ^ Los apellidos del habla, La Voz de Asturias Newspaper.
  26. ^ González Riaño, Xosé Antón and García Arias, Xosé Lluis. II Estudiu sociollingüísticu de Lleón (Identidá, conciencia d'usu y actitúes llingüístiques de la población lleonesa), 2008. ISBN 978-84-8168-448-3
  27. ^ Facendera pola Llengua's newsletter
  28. ^ García Gil, Hector. El asturiano-leonés: aspectos lingüísticos, sociolingüísticos y legislación, 2010. ISSN 2013-102X
  29. ^ Bautista, Alberto.Linguas en contacto na bisbarra do Bierzo, 2006. ISSN 1616-413X.
  30. ^ Atlas of Languages in Danger in the World
  31. ^ Official new of the signement of the Protocol between the Leonese Provincial Government and Leonese Language Association for developing the Leonese Language Day


  • Menéndez Pidal, R.: "El dialecto Leonés". Revista de Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos, 14. 1906.
  • Pardo, Abel. "El Llïonés y las TICs". Mikroglottika Yearbook 2008. Págs 109-122. Peter Lang. Frankfurt am Main. 2008.
  • Linguasphere Register. 1999/2000 Edition. pp. 392. 1999.
  • López-Morales, H.: “Elementos leoneses en la lengua del teatro pastoril de los siglos XV y XVI”. Actas del II Congreso Internacional de Hispanistas. Instituto Español de la Universidad de Nimega. Holanda. 1967.
  • González Riaño, Xosé Antón; García Arias, Xosé Lluis: "II Estudiu Sociollingüísticu De Lleón: Identidá, conciencia d'usu y actitúes llingüístiques de la población lleonesa". Academia de la Llingua Asturiana, 2008. ISBN 978-84-8168-448-3.
  • Staff, E. : "Étude sur l'ancien dialecte léonnais d'après les chartes du XIIIÈ siècle", Uppsala. 1907.

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