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Aragonese (/ˌærəɡɒˈnz/; aragonés [aɾaɣoˈnes] in Aragonese) is a Romance language spoken in several dialects by about 12,000 people as of 2011, in the Pyrenees valleys of Aragon, Spain, primarily in the comarcas of Somontano de Barbastro, Jacetania, Alto Gállego, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza/Ribagorça.[1][3] It is the only modern language which survived from medieval Navarro-Aragonese in a form distinctly different from Spanish.

Historically, people referred to the language as fabla ("talk" or "speech"). Native Aragonese people usually refer to it by the names of its local dialects such as cheso (from Valle de Hecho) or patués (from the Benasque Valley).

History

The gradual retreat of Aragonese under the pressure of Castilian (Spanish).

Aragonese, which developed in portions of the Ebro basin, can be traced back to the High Middle Ages. It spread throughout the Pyrenees to areas where languages similar to Basque were previously spoken. The Kingdom of Aragon (formed by the counties of Aragon, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza) expanded southward from the mountains, pushing the Moors farther south in the Reconquista and spreading the Aragonese language.

The union of the Catalan counties and the Kingdom of Aragon which formed the 12th-century Crown of Aragon did not merge the languages of the two territories; Catalan continued to be spoken in the east and Navarro-Aragonese in the west, with the boundaries blurred by dialectal continuity. The Aragonese Reconquista in the south ended with the cession of Murcia by James I of Aragon to the Kingdom of Castile as dowry for an Aragonese princess.

The best-known proponent of the Aragonese language was Johan Ferrandez d'Heredia, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller in Rhodes at the end of the 14th century. He wrote an extensive catalog of works in Aragonese and translated several works from Greek into Aragonese (the first in medieval Europe).

The spread of Castilian (Spanish), the Castilian origin of the Trastámara dynasty, and the similarity between Castilian (Spanish) and Aragonese facilitated the recession of the latter. A turning point was the 15th-century coronation of the Castilian Ferdinand I of Aragon, also known as Ferdinand of Antequera.

In the early 18th century, after the defeat of the allies of Aragon in the War of the Spanish Succession, Philip V ordered the prohibition of the Aragonese language in the schools and the establishment of Castilian (Spanish) as the only official language in Aragon. This was ordered in the Aragonese Nueva Planta decrees of 1707.

In recent times, Aragonese was mostly regarded as a group of rural dialects of Spanish. Compulsory education undermined its already weak position; for example, pupils were punished for using it. However, the 1978 Spanish transition to democracy heralded literary works and studies of the language.

Modern Aragonese

Multicolored map of Aragon
Aragonese dialect map

Aragonese is the native language of the Aragonese mountain ranges of the Pyrenees, in the comarcas of Somontano, Jacetania, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza. Cities and towns in which Aragonese is spoken are Huesca, Graus, Monzón, Barbastro, Bielsa, Chistén, Fonz, Echo, Estadilla, Benasque, Campo, Sabiñánigo, Jaca, Plan, Ansó, Ayerbe, Broto, and El Grado.

It is spoken as a second language by inhabitants of Zaragoza, Huesca, Ejea de los Caballeros, or Teruel. According to recent polls, there are about 25,500 speakers (2011) [3] including speakers living outside the native area. In 2017, the Dirección General de Política Lingüística de Aragón estimated there were 10,000 to 12,000 active speakers of Aragonese.[1]

In 2009, the Languages Act of Aragon (Law 10/2009) recognized the "native language, original and historic" of Aragon. The language received several linguistic rights, including its use in public administration.[4][5] This legislation was repealed by a new law in 2013 (Law 3/2013).[6]

Dialects

  • Western dialect: Ansó, Valle de Hecho, Chasa, Berdún, Chaca
  • Central dialect: Panticosa, Biescas, Torla, Broto, Bielsa, Yebra de Basa, Aínsa-Sobrarbe
  • Eastern dialect: Benás, Plan, Bisagorri, Campo, Perarrúa, Graus, Estadilla
  • Southern dialect: Agüero, Ayerbe, Rasal, Bolea, Lierta, Uesca, Almudévar

    Historically, people referred to the language as fabla ("talk" or "speech"). Native Aragonese people usually refer to it by the names of its local dialects such as cheso (from Valle de Hecho) or patués (from the Benasque Valley).

    Aragonese, which developed in portions of the Ebro basin, can be traced back to the High Middle Ages. It spread throughout the Pyrenees to areas where languages similar to Basque were previously spoken. The Kingdom of Aragon (formed by the counties of Aragon, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza) expanded southward from the mountains, pushing the Moors farther south in the Reconquista and spreading the Aragonese language.

    The union of the Catalan counties and the Kingdom of Aragon which formed the 12th-century Crown of Aragon did not merge the languages of the two territories; Catalan continued to be spoken in the east and Navarro-Aragonese in the west, with the boundaries blurred by dialectal continuity. The Aragonese Reconquista in the south ended with the cession of Murcia by James I of Aragon to the Kingdom of Castile as dowry for an Aragonese princess.

    The best-known proponent of the Aragonese language was Johan Ferrandez d'Heredia, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller in Rhodes at the end of the 14th century. He wrote an extensive catalog of works in Aragonese and translated several works from Greek into Aragonese (the first in medieval Europe).

    The spread of Castilian (Spanish), the Castilian origin of the Trastámara dynasty, and the similarity between Castilian (Spanish) and Aragonese facilitated the recession of the latter. A turning point was the 15th-century coronation of the Castilian Ferdinand I of Aragon, also known as Ferdinand of Antequera.

    In the early 18th century, after the defeat of the allies of Aragon in the War of the Spanish Succession, Philip V ordered the prohibition of the Aragonese language in the schools and the establishment of Castilian (Spanish) as the only official language in Aragon. This was ordered in the Aragonese Nueva Planta decrees of 1707.

    In recent times, Aragonese was mostly regarded as a group of rural dialects of Spanish. Compulsory education undermined its already weak position; for example, pupils were punished for using it. However, the 1978 Spanish transition to democracy heralded literary works and studies of the language.

    Modern Aragonese

    Multicolored map of Aragon
    Aragonese dialect map

    Aragonese is the native language of the Aragonese mountain ranges of the Pyrenees, in the comarcas of Somontano, Jacetania, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza. Cities and towns in which Aragonese is spoken are Huesca, Graus, Monzón, Barbastro, Bielsa, Chistén, Fonz, Echo, Estadilla, Benasque, Campo, Sabiñánigo, Jaca, Plan, Ansó, Ayerbe, Broto, and El Grado.

    It is

    The union of the Catalan counties and the Kingdom of Aragon which formed the 12th-century Crown of Aragon did not merge the languages of the two territories; Catalan continued to be spoken in the east and Navarro-Aragonese in the west, with the boundaries blurred by dialectal continuity. The Aragonese Reconquista in the south ended with the cession of Murcia by James I of Aragon to the Kingdom of Castile as dowry for an Aragonese princess.

    The best-known proponent of the Aragonese language was Johan Ferrandez d'Heredia, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller in Rhodes at the end of the 14th century. He wrote an extensive catalog of works in Aragonese and translated several works from Greek into Aragonese (the first in medieval Europe).

    The spread of Castilian (Spanish), the Castilian origin of the Trastámara dynasty, and the similarity between Castilian (Spanish) and Aragonese facilitated the recession of the latter. A turning point was the 15th-century coronation of the Castilian Ferdinand I of Aragon, also known as Ferdinand of Antequera.

    In the early 18th century, after the defeat of the allies of Aragon in the War of the Spanish Succession, Philip V ordered the prohibition of the Aragonese language in the schools and the establishment of Castilian (Spanish) as the only official language in Aragon. This was ordered in the Aragonese Nueva Planta decrees of 1707.

    In recent times, Aragonese was mostly regarded as a group of rural dialects of Spanish. Compulsory education undermined its already weak position; for example, pupils were punished for using it. However, the 1978 Spanish transition to democracy heralded literary works and studies of the language.

    Aragonese is the native language of the Aragonese mountain ranges of the Pyrenees, in the comarcas of Somontano, Jacetania, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza. Cities and towns in which Aragonese is spoken are Huesca, Graus, Monzón, Barbastro, Bielsa, Chistén, Fonz, Echo, Estadilla, Benasque, Campo, Sabiñánigo, Jaca, Plan, Ansó, Ayerbe, Broto, and El Grado.

    It is spoken as a second language by inhabitants of Zaragoza, Huesca, Ejea de los Caballeros, or Teruel. According to recent polls, there are about 25,500 speakers (2011) [3] including speakers living outside the native area. In 2017, the Dirección General de Política Lingüística de Aragón estimated there were 10,000 to 12,000 active speakers of Aragonese.[1]

    In 2009, the Languages Act of Aragon (Law 10/2009) recognized the "native language, original and historic" of Aragon. The language received several linguistic rights, including its use in public administration.It is spoken as a second language by inhabitants of Zaragoza, Huesca, Ejea de los Caballeros, or Teruel. According to recent polls, there are about 25,500 speakers (2011) [3] including speakers living outside the native area. In 2017, the Dirección General de Política Lingüística de Aragón estimated there were 10,000 to 12,000 active speakers of Aragonese.[1]

    In 2009, the Languages Act of Aragon (Law 10/2009) recognized the "native language, original and historic" of Aragon. The language received several linguistic rights, including its use in public administration.[4][5] This legislation was repealed by a new law in 2013 (Law 3/2013).[6]

    Aragonese has many historical traits in common with Catalan. Some are conservative features that are also shared with the Astur-Leonese languages and Galician-Portuguese, where Spanish innovated in ways that did not spread to nearby languages.

    Shared with Catalan

    • Romance initial F- is preserved, e.g. FILIUM > fillo ("son", Sp. hijo, Cat. fill, Pt. filho).
    • Romance palatal approximant (GE-, GI-, I-) consistently became medieval [dʒ], as in medieval Catalan and Portuguese. This becomes modern ch [tʃ], as a result of the devoicing of sibilants (see below). In Spanish, the medieval result was either [dʒ]/[ʒ], (modern [x]), [ʝ], or nothing, depending on the context. E.g. IUVENEM > choven ("young man", Sp. joven /ˈxoβen/, Cat. jove /ˈʒoβə/), GELARE > chelar ("to freeze", Sp. helar /eˈlaɾ/, Cat. gelar /ʒəˈla/).
    • Romance groups -LT-, -CT- result in [jt], e.g. FACTUM > feito ("done", Sp. hecho, Cat. fet, Gal./Port. feito), MULTUM > muito ("many"/"much", Sp. mucho, Cat. molt, Gal. moito, Port. muito).
    • Romance groups -X-, -PS-, SCj- result in voiceless palatal fricative ix [ʃ], e.g. COXU > coixo ("crippled", Sp. cojo, Cat. coix).
    • Romance groups -Lj-, -C'L-, -T'L- result in palatal lateral ll [ʎ], e.g. MULIERE > muller ("woman", Sp. In 2010, the Academia de l'Aragonés (founded in 2006) established an orthographic standard to modernize medieval orthography and to make it more etymological. The new orthography is used by the Aragonese Wikipedia.[10]

      Aragonese had two orthographic standards:

      • The grafía de Uesca, codified in 1987 by the Consello d'a Fabla Aragonesa (CFA) at a convention in Huesca, is used by most Aragonese writers. It has a more uniform system of assigning letters to phonemes, with less regard for etymology; words traditionally written with ⟨v⟩ and ⟨b⟩ are uniformly written with ⟨b⟩ in the Uesca system. Similarly, ⟨ch⟩, ⟨j⟩, and ⟨g⟩ before ⟨e⟩ and ⟨i⟩ are all written ⟨ch⟩. It uses letters associated with Spanish, such as ⟨ñ⟩.[11]
      • The grafia SLA, devised in 2004 by the Sociedat de Lingüistica Aragonesa (SLA), is used by some Aragonese writers. It uses etymological forms which are closer to Catalan, Occitan, and medieval Aragonese sources; trying to come closer to the original Aragonese and the other Occitano-Romance languages. In the SLA system ⟨v⟩, ⟨b⟩,⟨ch⟩, ⟨j⟩, and ⟨g⟩ before ⟨e⟩ and ⟨i⟩ are distinct, and the digraphny⟩ replaces ⟨ñ⟩.

      During the 16th century, Aragonese Moriscos wrote aljamiado texts (Romance texts in Arabic writing), possibly because of their inability to write in Arabic. The language in these texts has a mixture of Aragonese and Castilian traits, and they are among the last known written examples of the Aragonese formerly spoken in central and southern Aragon.[12]

      Comparison of Aragonese orthographies[13]
      Sounds and features Academia de l'Aragonés Grafía de Uesca (1987) Grafía SLA
      /a/ a a a
      /b/ b, v according to Latin etymology
      Ex: bien, servicio, val, activo, cantaba, debant
      b
      Ex: bien, serbizio, bal, autibo, cantaba, debán
      b, v according to Medieval etymology, as in Catalan and Occitan
      Ex: bien, servício, val, activo, cantava, devant
      /k/
      • c
      • qu before e, i
      • c
      • qu before e, i
      • c
      • qu before e, i
      /kw/ If there is an etymological q, as in Catalan and a bit in Occitan:
      • qu before a, o
      • before e, i
        Ex: quan, qüestión
      cu as in Spanish
      Ex: cuan, cuestión
      If there is an etymological q, as in Catalan and a bit in Occitan:
      • qu before a, o
      • before e, i
        Ex: quan, qüestion
      /tʃ/ ch
      Ex: chaminera, minchar, chusticia, cheografía
      ch
      Ex: chaminera, minchar, chustizia, cheografía
      • ch
      • j (g before e, i) according to etymology, as in Catalan and Occitan
        Ex: chaminera, minjar, justícia, geografia
      /d/ d d d
      /e/ e e e
      /f/ f f f
      /ɡ/
      • g
      • gu before e, i
      • g
      • gu before e, i
      • g
      • gu before e, i
      /ɡw/
      • gu before a, o
      • before e, i
      • gu before a, o
      • before e, i
      • gu before a, o
      • before e, i
      Etymological h
      (rendered silent after Latin)
      Written according to Latin etymology
      Ex: historia, hibierno
      Not written
      Ex: istoria, ibierno
      Written as in Medieval Aragonese and Catalan
      Ex: história, hivierno
      /i/ i i i
      /l/ l l l
      /ʎ/ ll ll ll
      /m/ m m m
      /n/ n n n
      /ɲ/ ny as in Medieval Aragonese and Catalan
      Ex: anyada
      ñ as in Spanish
      Ex: añada
      ny as in Medieval Aragonese and Catalan
      Ex: anyada
      /o/ o o o
      /p/ p p p
      /ɾ/ r r r
      /r/
      • rr
      • r- (word-initially)
      • rr
      • r- (word-initially)
      • rr
      • r- (word-initially)
      /s/ s (also between two vowels, never *ss) s (also between two vowels, never *ss) s (also between two vowels, never *ss)
      /t/ t t t
      Etymological final -t
      (silent in Modern Aragonese)
      Written as in Medieval Aragonese, Catalan and Occitan
      Ex: sociedat, debant, chent
      Not written
      Ex: soziedá, debán, chen
      Written as in Medieval Aragonese, Catalan and Occitan
      Ex: sociedat, devant, gent
      /u, w/ u u u
      /jʃ/ (Eastern dialects)
      /ʃ/ (Western dialects)
      ix as unifying grapheme for all dialects
      Ex: baixo
      x
      Ex: baxo
      • ix (Eastern dialects)
      • x (Western dialects)
        Ex: baixo (Eastern) = baxo (Western)
      /j/
      • y initial and between vowels
      • i in other cases
      • y initial and between vowels
      • i in other cases
      • y initial and between vowels
      • i in other cases
      /θ/
      • z before a, o, u
      • c before e, i (in non-international words[clarification needed] and in certain words of Greek or Arabic origin)
      • z in final position (but tz as a grapheme reflecting the t+s that became ts in Benasquese in various plurals and verb forms)


      Ex: zona, Provenza, fetz, centro, servicio, realizar, verdatz

      z
      Ex: zona, Probenza, fez, zentro, serbizio, realizar, berdaz
      • z before a, o, u, in initial position
      • ç before a, o, u, in inner position
      • z in final position
      • c before e, i
      • z in international formations (learned Greek words and loans that have z in their etyma)
        Ex: zona, Provença, fez, centro, servício, realizar, verdaz
      Learned Greco-Roman words Assimilatory tendencies not written
      Ex: dialecto, extension, and lexico
      Assimilatory tendencies written
      Ex: dialeuto, estensión, but lecsico
      Not all assimilatory tendencies written
      Ex: dialecto, extension, and lexico
      Accent mark for stress
      (accented vowel in bold)
      Spanish model, but with the possibility for oxytones to not be accented
      Ex:
      • historia, gracia, servicio
      • mitolochía, cheografía, María, río
      • atención
      • choven, cantaban
      Spanish model
      Ex:
      • istoria, grazia, serbizio
      • mitolochía, cheografía, María, río
      • atenzión
      • choben, cantaban
      Portuguese, Catalan and Occitan model
      Ex:
      • história, grácia, servício
      • mitologia, geografia, Maria, rio
      • atencion
      • joven, cantavan

      Grammar

      Aragonese grammar has a lot in common with Occitan and Catalan,[14] but also Spanish.

      Articles

      The definite article in Aragonese has undergone dialect-related changes,[clarification needed] with definite articles in Old Aragonese similar to their present Spanish equivalents. There are two main forms:

      Masculine Feminine
      Singular el la
      Plural els/es las/les

      These forms are used in the eastern and some central dialects.

      Masculine Feminine
      Singular lo/ro/o la/ra/a
      Plural los/ros/os las/ras/as

      These forms are used in the western and some central dialects.[15]

      Lexicology