Galician language

RegionGalicia and adjacent areas in Asturias and Castile and León
Native speakers
2.4 million (2012)[1]
58% of the population of Galicia (c. 1.56 million) are L1 speakers (2007)[2]
Early forms
Latin (Galician alphabet)
Galician Braille
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byRoyal Galician Academy
Language codes
ISO 639-1gl
ISO 639-2glg
ISO 639-3glg
Distribution of the various dialects of Galician in Spain and the extreme north of Portugal[image reference needed]
Galician is classified as Vulnerable by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger [3]
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Galician (/ɡəˈlɪʃən/,[4] /ɡəˈlɪsiən/;[5] endonym: galego), also known as Galego, is a Western Ibero-Romance language. Around 2.4 million people have at least some degree of competence in the language, mainly in Galicia, an autonomous community located in northwestern Spain, where it has official status along with Spanish. The language is also spoken in some border zones of the neighbouring Spanish regions of Asturias and Castile and León, as well as by Galician migrant communities in the rest of Spain, in Latin America including Puerto Rico, the United States, Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe.

Modern Galician is classified as part of the West Iberian languages group, a family of Romance languages. Galician evolved locally from Vulgar Latin and developed from what modern scholars have called Galician-Portuguese. The earliest document written integrally in the local Galician variety dates back to 1230, although the subjacent Romance permeates most written Latin local charters since the High Middle Ages, being specially noteworthy in personal and place names recorded in those documents, as well as in terms originated in languages other than Latin. The earliest reference to Galician-Portuguese as an international language of culture dates to 1290, in the Regles de Trobar by Catalan author Jofre de Foixà, where it is simply called Galician (gallego).[6]

Dialectal divergences are observable between the northern and southern forms of Galician-Portuguese in 13th-century texts but the two dialects were similar enough to maintain a high level of cultural unity until the middle of the 14th century, producing the medieval Galician-Portuguese lyric. The divergence has continued to this day, most frequently due to innovations in Portuguese,[7] producing the modern languages of Galician and Portuguese.[8] The lexicon of Galician is predominantly of Latin extraction, although it also contains a moderate number of words of Germanic and Celtic origin, among other substrates and adstrates, having also received, mainly via Spanish, a number of nouns from Andalusian Arabic.

The language is officially regulated in Galicia by the Royal Galician Academy. Other organizations without institutional support, such as the Galician Association of Language consider Galician and Portuguese two forms of the Galician-Portuguese language,[9] and other minoritary organizations such as Galician Academy of the Portuguese Language believe that Galician should be considered part of the Portuguese language for a wider international usage and level of 'normalization'.

  1. ^ Galician at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Observatorio da Lingua Galega". Observatorio da Lingua Galega. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Galician". UNESCO WAL. Archived from the original on 25 February 2024. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  4. ^ "galicia". Merriam-Webster. 29 December 2023.
  5. ^ "Galician". Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017.
  6. ^ Mariño Paz 1998, p. 142.
  7. ^ Valls Alecha, Esteve; González González, Manuel (2016). "Variación e distancia lingüística na Romania Antiqua: unha contribución dialectométrica ao debate sobre o grao de individuación da lingua galega" [Linguistic variation and distance in the Romania Antiqua: A dialectometric contribution to the debate about the degree of individuality of the Galician language]. Estudos de Lingüística Galega (in Galician). 8: 229–246. doi:10.15304/elg.8.3175. hdl:20.500.12328/1532.
  8. ^ de Azevedo Maia, Clarinda (1997). História do galego-português: estado linguístico da Galiza e do noroeste de Portugal desde o século XIII ao século XVI [History of Galician-Portuguese: linguistic state of Galicia and northwestern Portugal from the 13th to the 16th centuries] (in Portuguese) (Reprint of the INIC 1986 ed.). Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. pp. 883–891. ISBN 9789723107463.
  9. ^ "Reintegracionismo e Reintegracionistas". Associaçom Galega da Língua (in Galician). {{cite news}}: Check |url= value (help)

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