Galician-Portuguese (Galician: galego-portugués or
galaico-portugués, Portuguese: galego-português or
galaico-português), also known as Old Portuguese or Medieval
Galician, was a West Iberian Romance language spoken in the Middle
Ages, in the northwest area of the Iberian Peninsula. Alternatively,
it can be considered a historical period of the Galician and
Galician-Portuguese was first spoken in the area bounded in the north
and west by the Atlantic Ocean, and by the
Douro River in the south,
comprising Galicia and northern Portugal, but it was later extended
south of the Douro by the Reconquista.
It is the common ancestor of modern Portuguese, Galician,
Fala varieties, all of which maintain a very high level of mutual
intelligibility. The term "Galician-Portuguese" also designates the
subdivision of the modern West Iberian group of Romance languages.
1.1 Origins and history
2.1 A stanza of
3 Oral traditions
4 See also
7 External links
Origins and history
See also: History of Portuguese
Map showing the historical retreat and expansion of Galician
(Galician-Portuguese) within the context of its linguistic neighbours
between the year 1000 and 2000.
Galician-Portuguese developed in the region of the former Roman
province of Gallaecia, from the
Vulgar Latin (common Latin) that had
been introduced by Roman soldiers, colonists and magistrates during
the time of the Roman Empire. Although the process may have been
slower than in other regions, the centuries of contact with Vulgar
Latin, after a period of bilingualism, completely extinguished the
native languages, leading to the evolution of a new variety of Latin
with a few Gallaecian features.
Gallaecian and Lusitanian influences were absorbed into the local
Vulgar Latin dialect, which can be detected in some
Galician-Portuguese words as well as in placenames of Celtic and
Iberian origin like Bolso. In general, the more cultivated variety
of Latin spoken by the Hispano-Roman elites in Roman
Hispania had a
peculiar regional accent, referred to as Hispano ore and agrestius
pronuntians. The more cultivated variety of Latin coexisted with
the popular variety. It is assumed that the Pre-Roman languages spoken
by the native people, each used in a different region of Roman
Hispania, contributed to the development of several different dialects
Vulgar Latin and that these diverged increasingly over time,
eventually evolving into the early Romance Languages of Iberia.
It is believed that by 600,
Vulgar Latin was no longer spoken in the
Iberian Peninsula. An early form of
Galician-Portuguese was already
spoken in the
Kingdom of the Suebi
Kingdom of the Suebi and by the year 800
Galician-Portuguese had already become the vernacular of northwestern
Iberia. The first known phonetic changes in Vulgar Latin, which
began the evolution to Galician-Portuguese, took place during the rule
of the Germanic groups, the
Suebi (411–585) and Visigoths
(585–711). And the
Galician-Portuguese "inflected infinitive" (or
"personal infinitive") and the nasal vowels may have evolved under
the influence of local Celtic languages (as in Old French). The
nasal vowels would thus be a phonologic characteristic of the Vulgar
Latin spoken in Roman Gallaecia, but they are not attested in writing
until after the 6th and 7th centuries.
The oldest known document to contain
Galician-Portuguese words, found
in northern Portugal, is called the Doação à Igreja de Sozello and
dated to 870 but otherwise composed in Late/Medieval Latin.
Another document, from 882, also containing some Galician-Portuguese
words is the Carta de dotação e fundação da Igreja de S. Miguel de
Lardosa. In fact, many Latin documents written in Portuguese
territory contain Romance forms. The Notícia de fiadores, written
in 1175, is thought by some to be the oldest known document written in
The Pacto dos irmãos Pais, recently discovered (and possibly dating
from before 1173), has been said to be even older, but despite the
enthusiasm of some scholars, it has been shown that the documents are
not really written in
Galician-Portuguese but are in fact a mixture of
Late Latin and
Galician-Portuguese phonology, morphology and
syntax. The Noticia de Torto, of uncertain date (c. 1214?), and
the Testamento de D. Afonso II (27 June 1214) are most certainly
Galician-Portuguese. The earliest poetic texts (but not the
manuscripts in which they are found) date from c. 1195 to c. 1225.
Thus, by the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th
there are documents in prose and verse written in the local Romance
Galician-Portuguese had a special cultural role in the literature of
the Christian kingdoms of
Crown of Castile
Crown of Castile (Kingdoms of Castile, Leon
and Galicia,part of the medieval NW Iberian Peninsula) comparable to
Language of the
Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon (Principality of Catalonia
and Kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia and Majorca, NE medieval Iberian
Peninsula), or that of Occitan in France and Italy during the same
historical period. The main extant sources of Galician-Portuguese
lyric poetry are these:
The four extant manuscripts of the
Cantigas de Santa Maria
Cantigas de Santa Maria (written by
Alfonso X the Wise, king of Castile, Leon and Galicia from
Cancioneiro da Ajuda
Cancioneiro da Vaticana
Cancioneiro Colocci-Brancuti, also known as Cancioneiro da Biblioteca
Cancioneiro dun Grande de Espanha
Os 5 lais de Bretanha
Tenzón entre Afonso Sánchez e Vasco Martíns de Resende
The language was used for literary purposes from the final years of
the 12th century to roughly the middle of the 14th century in what are
now Spain and Portugal and was, almost without exception, the only
language used for the composition of lyric poetry. Over 160 poets are
recorded, among them Bernal de Bonaval, Pero da Ponte, Johan Garcia de
Guilhade, Johan Airas de Santiago, and Pedr' Amigo de Sevilha. The
main secular poetic genres were the cantigas d'amor (male-voiced love
lyric), the cantigas d'amigo (female-voiced love lyric) and the
cantigas d'escarnho e de mal dizer (including a variety of genres from
personal invective to social satire, poetic parody and literary
All told, nearly 1,700 poems survive in these three genres, and there
is a corpus of over 400 cantigas de Santa Maria (narrative poems about
miracles and hymns in honor of the Holy Virgin). The Castilian king
Alfonso X composed his cantigas de Santa Maria and his cantigas de
escárnio e maldizer in Galician-Portuguese, even though he used
Castilian for prose.
King Dinis of Portugal, who also contributed (with 137 extant texts,
more than any other author) to the secular poetic genres, made the
language official in Portugal in 1290. Until then, Latin had been the
official (written) language for royal documents; the spoken language
did not have a name and was simply known as lingua vulgar ("ordinary
language", that is Vulgar Latin) until it was named "Portuguese" in
King Dinis' reign. "Galician-Portuguese" and português arcaico ("Old
Portuguese") are modern terms for the common ancestor of modern
Portuguese and modern Galician. Compared to the differences in Ancient
Greek dialects, the alleged differences between 13th-century
Portuguese and Galician are trivial.
As a result of political division,
Galician-Portuguese lost its unity
County of Portugal
County of Portugal separated from the
Kingdom of Galicia
Kingdom of Galicia in
1128 (a dependent kingdom of Leon) to establish the Kingdom of
Portugal. The Galician and Portuguese versions of the language then
diverged over time as they followed independent evolutionary paths.
As Portugal's territory was extended southward during the Reconquista,
the increasingly distinctive
Portuguese language was adopted by the
people in those regions, supplanting the earlier
Arabic and other
Romance/Latin languages that were spoken in these conquered areas
during the Moorish era. Meanwhile, Galician was influenced by the
neighboring Leonese language, especially during the time of kingdoms
of Leon and Leon-Castile, and in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries it has been influenced by Castilian. Two cities at the time
Braga and Porto, were within the
County of Portugal
County of Portugal and
have remained within Portugal. Further north, the cities of Lugo, A
Coruña and the great medieval centre of Santiago de Compostela
remained within Galicia.
Galician was preserved in Galicia in the modern era because those who
spoke it were the majority rural or "uneducated" population living in
the villages and towns, and Castilian was taught as the "correct"
language to the bilingual educated elite in the cities. Because until
comparatively recently most Galicians lived in many small towns and
villages in a remote and mountainous land, the language changed very
slowly and was only very slightly influenced from outside the region.
That situation made Galician remain the vernacular of Galicia until
the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries and is still widely
spoken; most Galicians today are bilingual. Modern Galician was only
officially recognized by the Second Spanish Republic in the 1930s as a
co-official language with Castilian within Galicia. The recognition
was revoked by the regime of
Francisco Franco but was restored after
The linguistic classification of Galician and Portuguese is still
discussed today. There are those among Galician independence groups
who demand their reunification as well as Portuguese and Galician
philologists who argue that both are dialects of a common language
rather than two separate ones.
The Fala language, spoken in a small region of the Spanish autonomous
community of Extremadura, underwent a similar development as Galician.
Galician is the regional language of Galicia (sharing co-officiality
with Spanish), and it is spoken by the majority of its population.
Portuguese continues to grow and, today, is the sixth most spoken
language in the world.
Consonant phonemes of Galician-Portuguese
1 /β/ eventually shifted to /v/ in central and southern Portugal (and
hence in Brazil) and merged with /b/ in northern Portugal and Galicia.
2 [ʒ] and [dʒ] probably occurred in complementary distribution.
/s/ and /z/ were apico-alveolar while /ts/ and /dz/ were
lamino-alveolar. Later in the history of Portuguese, all the affricate
sibilants became fricatives, with the apico-alveolar and
lamino-alveolar sibilants remaining distinct for a time but eventually
merging in most dialects. See
History of Portuguese for more
A stanza of
Proençaes soen mui ben trobar
e dizen eles que é con amor,
mays os que troban no tempo da frol
e non en outro, sei eu ben que non
an tan gran coita no seu coraçon
qual m' eu por mha senhor vejo levar
Dinis of Portugal
Dinis of Portugal (1271–1325)
Provençal poets know how to compose very well
and they say it is out of love,
but those who compose when flowers bloom
and at no other time, I know well that they don't
have in their hearts so great a yearning
as I must carry for my Lady in mine.
There has been a sharing of folklore in the
going back to prehistoric times. As the
spread south with the Reconquista, supplanting Mozarabic, this ancient
sharing of folklore intensified. In 2005 the governments of Portugal
and Spain jointly proposed that
Galician-Portuguese oral traditions be
made part of the Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of
Humanity. The work of documenting and transmitting that common culture
involves several universities and other organizations.
Galician-Portuguese folklore is rich in oral traditions. These include
the cantigas ao desafio or regueifas, duels of improvised songs, many
legends, stories, poems, romances, folk songs, sayings and riddles,
and ways of speech that still retain a lexical, phonetic,
morphological and syntactic similarity.
Also part of the common heritage of oral traditions are the markets
and festivals of patron saints and processions, religious celebrations
such as the magosto, entroido or Corpus Christi, with ancient dances
and tradition – like the one where Coca the dragon fights with Saint
George; and also traditional clothing and adornments, crafts and
skills, work-tools, carved vegetable lanterns, superstitions,
traditional knowledge about plants and animals. All these are part of
a common heritage considered in danger of extinction as the
traditional way of living is replaced by modern life, and the jargon
of fisherman, the names of tools in traditional crafts, and the oral
traditions which form part of celebrations are slowly forgotten.
Galician-Portuguese "baixo-limiao" lect is spoken in several
villages. In Galicia it is spoken in
Lobios and in
northern Portugal in
Terras de Bouro
Terras de Bouro (lands of the Buri) and Castro
Laboreiro including the mountain town (county seat) of Soajo and
Cantiga de amigo
History of Portuguese
Culture of Portugal
MultiTree on the Linguist List
^ Luján Martínez, Eugenio R. (3 May 2006). "The Language(s) of the
Callaeci" (PDF). e-Keltoi: Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic
Studies. 6: 715–748. ISSN 1540-4889.
^ Piel, Joseph-Maria (1989). "Origens e estruturação histórica do
léxico português". Estudos de Linguística Histórica
Galego-Portuguesa (PDF). Lisboa: IN-CM. pp. 9–16.
^ A Toponímia Céltica e os vestígios de cultura material da
Proto-História de Portugal. Freire, José. Revista de Guimarães,
Volume Especial, I, Guimarães, 1999, pp. 265–275. (PDF) . Retrieved
on 14 November 2011.
^ Adams, J. N. (2003). Bilingualism and the Latin language (PDF).
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81771-4. Retrieved 14
^ a b c "As origens do romance galego-português". Instituto Luis de
^ Alinei, Mario; Benozzo, Francesco (2008). "Alguns aspectos da Teoria
da Continuidade Paleolítica aplicada à região galega" (PDF).
Retrieved 14 November 2011.
^ Comparative Grammar of Latin 34 Archived 27 September 2007 at the
^ Ethnologic Map of Pre-Roman Iberia (circa 200 B.C.).
Arkeotavira.com. Retrieved on 14 November 2011.
^ Fonética histórica Archived 22 September 2007 at the Wayback
^ The oldest document containing traces of Galician-Portuguese, a.D.
870. Novomilenio.inf.br. Retrieved on 14 November 2011.
^ Charter of the Foundation of the Church of S. Miguel de Lardosa,
a.D. 882. Fcsh.unl.pt. Retrieved on 14 November 2011.
^ Norman P. Sacks, The Latinity of Dated Documents in the Portuguese
Territory, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1941
^ a b The oldest texts written in
Galician-Portuguese Archived 17
December 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Ivo Castro, Introdução à História do Português. Geografia da
Língua. Português Antigo. [Lisbon: Colibri, 2004], pp. 121–125,
and by A. Emiliano, cited by Castro
^ Many of these texts correspond to the Greek psogoi mentioned by
Aristotle [Poetics 1448b27] and exemplified in the verses of
iambographers such as
Archilochus and Hipponax.
^ Ribeira, José Manuel. "A Fala Galego-Portuguesa da Baixa Limia e
Castro Laboreiro: Integrado no Projecto para a declaraçom de
Património da Humanidade da Cultura Imaterial Galego-Portuguesa"
(PDF). Retrieved 14 November 2011.
Galician-Portuguese ('secular') lyric (cited
from Cohen 2003 [see below under critical editions]):
A = "Cancioneiro da Ajuda", Palácio Real da Ajuda (Lisbon).
B = Biblioteca Nacional (Lisbon), cod. 10991.
Ba = Bancroft Library (University of California, Berkeley) 2 MS DP3 F3
(MS UCB 143)
N = Pierpont Morgan Library (New York), MS 979 (= PV).
S = Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (Lisbon), Capa do Cart. Not. de
Lisboa, N.º 7-A, Caixa 1, Maço 1, Livro 3.
V = Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, cod. lat. 4803.
Va = Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, cod. lat. 7182, ff. 276rº –
Manuscripts containing the Cantigas de Santa Maria:
E = Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo (El Escorial), MS B. I. 2.
F = Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale (Florence), Banco Rari 20.
T = Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo (El Escorial), MS T. I. 1.
To = Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid), cod. 10.069 ("El Toledano")
Critical editions of individual genres of
(note that the cantigas d'amor are split between Michaëlis 1904 and
Cohen, Rip. (2003). 500 Cantigas d' Amigo: Edição Crítica /
Critical Edition (Porto: Campo das Letras).
Lapa, Manuel Rodrigues (1970). Cantigas d'escarnho e de mal dizer dos
cancioneiros medievais galego-portugueses. Edição crítica pelo
prof. –. 2nd ed. Vigo: Editorial Galaxia [1st. ed. Coimbra,
Editorial Galaxia, 1965] with "Vocabulário").
Mettmann, Walter. (1959–1972). Afonso X, o Sabio. Cantigas de Santa
Maria. 4 vols ["Glossário", in vol. 4]. Coimbra: Por ordem da
Universidade (republished in 2 vols. ["Glossário" in vol. 2] Vigo:
Edicións Xerais de Galicia, 1981; 2nd ed.: Alfonso X, el Sabio,
Cantigas de Santa Maria, Edición, introducción y notas de –. 3
vols. Madrid: Clásicos Castália, 1986–1989).
Michaëlis de Vasconcellos, Carolina. (1904). Cancioneiro da Ajuda.
Edição critica e commentada por –. 2 vols. Halle a.S., Max
Niemeyer (republished Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional – Casa de Moeda,
Nunes, José Joaquim. (1932). Cantigas d'amor dos trovadores
galego-portugueses. Edição crítica acompanhada de introdução,
comentário, variantes, e glossário por –. Coimbra: Imprensa da
Universidade (Biblioteca de escritores portugueses) (republished by
Lisboa: Centro do Livro Brasileiro, 1972).
On the biography and chronology of the poets and the courts they
frequented, the relation of these matters to the internal structure of
the manuscript tradition, and myriad relevant questions in the field,
Oliveira, António Resende de (1987). "A cultura trovadoresca no
ocidente peninsular: trovadores e jograis galegos", Biblos LXIII:
——— (1988). "Do
Cancioneiro da Ajuda
Cancioneiro da Ajuda ao Livro das
Cantigas do Conde D. Pedro. Análise do acrescento à secção das
cantigas de amigo de O", Revista de História das Ideias 10:
——— (1989). "A Galiza e a cultura trovadoresca
peninsular", Revista de História das Ideias 11: 7–36.
——— (1993). "A caminho de Galiza. Sobre as primeiras
composições em galego-português", in O Cantar dos Trobadores.
Santiago de Compostela: Xunta de Galicia, pp. 249–260
(republished in Oliveira 2001b: 65–78).
——— (1994). Depois do Espectáculo Trovadoresco. a
estrutura dos cancioneiros peninsulares e as recolhas dos séculos
XIII e XIV. Lisboa: Edições Colibri (Colecção: Autores
——— (1995). Trobadores e Xograres. Contexto
histórico. (tr. Valentín Arias) Vigo: Edicións Xerais de Galicia
(Universitaria / Historia crítica da literatura medieval).
——— (1997a). "Arqueologia do mecenato trovadoresco
em Portugal", in Actas do 2º Congresso Histórico de Guimarães,
319–327 (republished in Oliveira 2001b: 51–62).
——— (1997b). "História de uma despossessão. A
nobreza e os primeiros textos em galego-português", in Revista de
História das Ideias 19: 105–136.
——— (1998a). "Le surgissement de la culture
troubadouresque dans l'occident de la Péninsule Ibérique (I).
Compositeurs et cours", in (Anton Touber, ed.) Le Rayonnement des
Troubadours, Amsterdam, pp. 85–95 (Internationale Forschungen
zur allgemeinen und vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft) (Port.
version in Oliveira 2001b: 141–170).
——— (1998b). "Galicia trobadoresca", in Anuario de
Estudios Literarios Galegos 1998: 207–229 (Port. Version in Oliveira
——— (2001a). Aventures i Desventures del Joglar
Gallegoportouguès (tr. Jordi Cerdà). Barcelona: Columna (La Flor
——— (2001b). O Trovador galego-português e o seu
mundo. Lisboa: Notícias Editorial (Colecção Poliedro da História).
Galician-Portuguese prose, the reader might begin with:
Cintra, Luís F. Lindley. (1951–1990). Crónica Geral de Espanha de
1344. Edição crítica do texto português pelo –. Lisboa: Imprensa
Nacional-Casa de Moeda (vol. I 1951 [1952; reprint 1983]; vol II 1954
[republished 1984]; vol. III 1961 [republished 1984], vol. IV 1990)
(Academia Portuguesa da História. Fontes Narrativas da História
Lorenzo, Ramón. (1977). La traduccion gallego de la Cronica General y
de la Cronica de Castilla. Edición crítica anotada, con
introduccion, índice onomástico e glosario. 2 vols. Orense:
Instituto de Estudios Orensanos 'Padre Feijoo'.
There is no up-to-date historical grammar of medieval
Galician-Portuguese. But see:
Huber, Joseph. (1933). Altportugiesisches Elementarbuch. Heidelberg:
Carl Winter (Sammlung romanischer Elementar- und Händbucher, I, 8)
(Port tr. [by Maria Manuela Gouveia Delille] Gramática do Português
Antigo. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 1986).
A recent work centered on Galician containing information on medieval
Ferreiro, Manuel. (2001). Gramática Histórica Galega, 2 vols. [2nd
ed.], Santiago de Compostela: Laiovento.
An old reference work centered on Portuguese is:
Williams, Edwin B. (1962). From Latin to Portuguese. 2nd ed.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (1st ed. Philadelphia,
Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus. Lexique Latin
Médiévale-Francais/Anglais. A Medieval Latin-French/English
Dictionary. composuit J. F. Niermeyer, perficiendum curavit C. van de
Kieft. Abbreviationes et index fontium composuit C. van de Kieft,
adiuvante G. S. M. M. Lake-Schoonebeek. Leiden – New York – Köln:
E. J. Brill 1993 (1st ed. 1976).
Oxford Latin Dictionary. ed. P. G. W. Glare. Oxford: Clarendon Press
Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin:
Weiss, Michael. (2009). Outline of the Historical and Comparative
Grammar of Latin. Ann Arbor, MI: Beechstave Press.
On the early documents cited from the late 12th century, please see
Ivo Castro, Introdução à História do Português. Geografia da
Língua. Português Antigo. (Lisbon: Colibri, 2004),
pp. 121–125 (with references).
Latin – Portuguese document, a.D. 1008
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