Galician language

Galician language

Infobox Language
region=Galicia; also in other parts of Spain.
speakers=3–4 million (500,000 emigrants throughout Ibero-America and Europe)
nation=Galicia, Spain; accepted orally as Portuguese by the European Union Parliament.
agency=Real Academia Galega

Galician (Galician: "galego", IPA2|gaˈlego) is a language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch, spoken in Galicia, an autonomous community with the constitutional status of "historic nationality" located in northwestern Spain, as well as in small bordering zones in the neighbouring autonomous communities of Asturias and Castile and León.

Galician and Portuguese were, in medieval times, a single language which linguists call Galician-Portuguese, Medieval Galician, or Old Portuguese, spoken in the territories initially ruled by the medieval Kingdom of Galicia.


Historically, the Galician-Portuguese language originated in Galicia and Northern Portugal in lands belonging to the ancient Kingdom of Galicia (comprising the Roman "Gallaecia") and branched out since the 14th century after the Portuguese expansion brought it southwards. There are linguists who consider Modern Galician and Modern Portuguese as dialects or varieties of the same language, but this is a matter of debate. For instance, in past editions of the "Encyclopædia Britannica," Galician was termed a Portuguese dialect spoken in northwestern Spain (it has also been considered incorrectly as a dialect of SpanishFact|date=September 2008). However, the Galician government does not regard Galician as a variety of Portuguese, but rather as a distinct language. Mutual intelligibility (estimated at 85% by R. A. Hall, Jr., 1989 [ [ Ethnologue] ] ) is good between Galicians and Northern Portuguese, but poorer between Galicians and speakers of Central-Southern European Portuguese. The dialects of Portuguese most similar to Galician are those of Alto-Minho and Trás-os-Montes in northern Portugal.

Relation to Portuguese

showing speakers of Galician as first language according to the Population and Housing Census of the Galician Statistics Institute (2001)] The linguistic status of Galician with respect to Portuguese is controversial as the issue sometimes carries political overtones. Some authors, such as Lindley Cintra, [Lindley Cintra, Luís F. PDFlink| [ "Nova Proposta de Classificação dos Dialectos Galego-Portugueses"] |469 KiB Boletim de Filologia, Lisboa, Centro de Estudos Filológicos, 1971 (in Portuguese).] consider that they are still dialects of a common language, in spite of superficial differences in phonology and vocabulary. Others, such as Pilar Vázquez Cuesta, [ Vázquez Cuesta, Pilar [ «Non son reintegracionista»] , interview given to "La Voz de Galicia" on 22/02/2002 (in Galician).] argue that they have become separate languages due to major differences in phonetics and vocabulary usage, and, to a lesser extent, morphology and syntax. The official position of the Galician Language Institute is that Galician and Portuguese should be considered independent languages. The standard orthography is noticeably different from the Portuguese one partly because of the divergent phonological features and partly due to the use of Spanish orthographic conventions.

The relationship involving Galician and Portuguese can be compared with that between Macedonian and Bulgarian, Moldovan with Romanian, Occitan and Catalan, or English and Lowland Scots. Due to language proximity two interpretations have risen in conflict.

The official institution regulating Galician language is Instituto da Lingua Galega (ILG). It claims that modern Galician must be considered an independent Romance language that belongs to the group of Ibero-Romance languages and has strong ties with Portuguese and its northern dialects.

There is also an unofficial institution, Associaçom Galega da Língua (AGAL, Galician Association of the Language), according to which differences between Galician and Portuguese speech are not enough to consider them separate languages, and Galician is simply one variety of Galician-Portuguese, along with Brazilian Portuguese; African Portuguese; the Galician-Portuguese still spoken in Spanish Extremadura, Fala; and other dialects. In short, the two sides of the argument are the fact that Portuguese and Galician have different versions of the Latin alphabet, but it is harder to tell the differences between spoken Galician and spoken Portuguese.

Geographic distribution

Galician is spoken by more than three million people, including most of the population of Galicia, as well as among many people of Galician origin elsewhere in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Biscay), and Galician immigrants to other European countries Europe (Andorra, Geneva, London), and Ibero-America (Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Havana, Caracas, Mexico City, São Paulo, Guadalajara, Veracruz City and Panama City).

Controversy exists regarding the inclusion of Eonavian dialects spoken in Asturias into the Galician language, with those defending Eonavian as a dialect continuum of transition to the Asturian language on the one hand, and those defending it as clearly Galician on the other.

Because of its historical status as a non-official language, for some authors the situation of language domination in Galicia could be called "diglossia," with Galician in the lower part of the dialect continuum, and Spanish at the top; while for others, the conditions for diglossia established by Ferguson are not met.

Official status

Spain has recognized Galician as one of Spain's four "official languages" ("lenguas españolas"), the others being Castilian (also called "Spanish"), Catalan (or Valencian), and Basque. Galician is taught at primary and secondary school and used at the universities in Galicia. Further, it has been acceptedFact|date=October 2008 orally as Portuguese in the European Parliament and used as such by, among others, the Galician representatives José Posada, Camilo Nogueira and Xosé Manuel Beiras.


Galician has three principal dialects, each of them divided in local areas mutual intelligibility.Eastern Galician. Four areas; Eonaviega, ancaresa, leonesa and zamoranaCentral Galician. Four area; mindoniense, lucu-aurienseWestern Galician. Three areas; fisterrá do norte, tudense, baixo limega


From the 8th century, Galicia was a political unit within the kingdoms of Asturias and Leon, but was able to reach a degree of autonomy, becoming an independent kingdom at certain times in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries. Galician was the only language in spoken use, and Latin was used, to a decreasing extent, as a written language. This monopoly on spoken language was able to exert such pressure in the 13th century, that it led to a situation of dual official status for Galician and Latin in notarial documents, edicts, lawsuits, etc.; Latin, however, continued to be the universal vehicle for higher culture.

Written texts in Galician have only been found dating from the end of the 12th century, because Latin continued to be the cultured language (not only in Galicia, but also throughout medieval Europe).

The oldest known document is the poem "Ora faz ost'o Senhor de Navarra" by Joam Soares de Paiva, written around 1200. The first non-literary documents in Galician-Portuguese date from the early 13th century, the Noticia de Torto (1211) and the Testamento of Afonso II of Portugal (1214), both samples of medieval notarial prose.

In the Middle Ages, "Galaico-português" (or Galician-Portuguese) was a language of culture, poetry, and religion throughout not only Galicia and Portugal, but also Castile (where Castilian was used mainly for prose).

After the separation of Portuguese and Galician, Galician was considered provincial, and it was not widely used for literary or academic purposes until its renaissance in the mid-19th century.

With the advent of democracy, Galician has been brought into the country's institutions, and it is now co-official with Spanish. Galician is taught in schools, and there is a public Galician-language television channel, TVG.

The Real Academia Galega and other Galician institutions celebrate each May 17 as "Día das Letras Galegas" ("Galician Literature Day"), dedicated each year to a deceased Galician-language writer chosen by the academy.


**Note that "avó" IPA|/ɐˈvɔ/ in Portuguese means "grandmother".

*In Galician, "adeus" is rarely used (signifies that you won't see that person for many years). "Ata logo" is more common and literally means "until later" (Spanish "hasta luego").



*Harvard reference
journal=Journal of the International Phonetic Association

ee also

* Barallete
* Castrapo
* Eonavian
* Galician literature
* "Fala dos arxinas", a jargon of Galician masons
* Galician-Portuguese
* Portuguese language
* Fala language

External links

* - on Wiktionary

Newspapers in Galician:
* [ Luns a Venres] - free daily newspaper
* [ Galicia Hoxe] - daily newspaper
* [ A Nosa Terra] - weekly newspaper
* [ Vieiros] - online news portal
* [ Gznacion] - online news portal
* [ Arroutada Noticias] - online news portal
* [ Novas da Galiza] - weekly newspaper (in reintegrationist Galician)
* [ Galiza Livre] - pro-independence online news portal (in reintegrationist Galician)

Other links related to Galician:
* [ Real Academia Galega]
* [ Instituto da Lingua Galega]
* [ Associaçom Galega da Língua - Portal Galego da Língua] (reintegrationist)
* [ A Mesa pola Normalización Lingüística]
* [ Movimento Defesa da Lingua] (reintegrationist)
* [ Biblioteca Virtual Galega]
* [ Xarmenta] - Asociacion Berciana da lingua Xarmenta
* [ Fala Ceibe] - Asociación Cultural Fala Ceibe do Bierzo
* [ Sound recordings of the different dialects of the Galician language]
* [ Ethnologue report for Galician]
* [ English-Galician CLUVI Online Dictionary]
* [ Basic information on Galician language]
* [ Galician - English Dictionary] : from [ Webster's Online Dictionary] - the Rosetta Edition.
* [ A short English-Galician-Japanese Phraselist( Renewal)] incl. sound soft
* [ Amostra comparativa] - Comparison between Galician, Portuguese and Brazilian-Portuguese pronunciation (with sound files)

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