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Extremaduran edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spoken in  Spain
Region Autonomous community of Extremadura
Total speakers 200,000 (500,000 total)[1]
Language family Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 roa
ISO 639-3 ext

Extremaduran (estremeñu) is a Romance language, spoken by several thousand people in Spain, in an area covering the north-western part of the autonomous community of Extremadura and adjoining areas in the province of Salamanca.[1][2] It should not be confused with the Spanish dialects spoken in most of Extremadura, though it is difficult to establish the boundary between the two languages.



The linguistic varieties of Extremadura are usually classified in three main branches: Northern or "High" (artu estremeñu), Central or "Middle" (meyu estremeñu), and Southern or "Low" (baju estremeñu).[2] The northern one is usually considered to be the language proper [3], and is spoken in the north-west of the autonomous region of Extremadura, and the south-west of Salamanca, a province of the autonomous region of Castile and León. The central and southern ones are spoken in the rest of Extremadura, and are all of them at least since the 18th century Castilian dialects. In the Portuguese town of Barrancos (at the border between Extremadura, Andalusia and Portugal), a dialect heavily influenced by Extremaduran is spoken, known as "barranquenho", the Barranquian dialect. Northern Extremaduran is also spoken in a few villages of southern Salamanca, being known there as the "palra d'El Rebollal", which is now almost extinct.


After the union of the kingdoms of León and Castile (into the "Crown of Castile and León"), the Castilian language slowly replaced Latin as the official language of the institutions, thus relegating Old Leonese to a sign of poverty and ignorance of those who spoke it. Only in Asturias, where the language was born, people were conscious of speaking a language different from Castilian; but even there only some authors used it in their writings.

Probably the cultural upheaval of Spanish-speaking Salamanca's University was the cause of the quick Castilianisation of the eastern parts of this province, so dividing the Astur-Leonese domain between Asturian, Leonese and the Extremaduran in the south of the old Leonese kingdom..

The late 19th century saw the first serious attempt to write in Extremaduran, up to then an oral language,[4] with the poet José María Gabriel y Galán. Born in Salamanca, he lived most of his life in the north of Cáceres, Extremadura. He wrote in a local variant of Extremaduran, full with dialectal remains, but always with an eye on Spanish usage.

After that, localismes are the pattern in the attempts to defend the Extremaduran language, to the extent that today only a few people try to revive the language and make northern Extremadura a bilingual region,[5] whereas the government and official institutions think the best solution is for the northwestern Extremadurans to speak a Castilian dialect without any kind of protection.[6] There are also attempts to transform the southern Castilian dialects ("castúo", as some people named them using the word which appeared in Luis Chamizo's poems) into a language, which makes even harder to defend the High Extremaduran, considered more frequently as a "real" language, and makes it easier for the administration to reject co-officiality and normalisation of Extremaduran.[7] It is in serious danger of extinction, with only the oldest people speaking it at present, while most of the Extremaduran population ignores the language, since the majority of Extremadurans, and even own speakers regard it a poorly spoken Spanish.[8].

Phonological characteristics

In High Exremaduran
  • General loss of intervocalic d. Ex: mieu
  • Substitution of the o, in post-tonical position, for u. Ex: oru
  • Substitution of the e, in post-tonical position, for i. Ex: calli
  • Frequently aspiration of the f, in initial position. Ex: huendu
  • Verbal terminations in l. Ex: dil.
  • Occasional replacement of the consonants l/r or r/l. Ex: craru [9]
  • Conservation of e, from Latin, in final position. Ex: redi
  • Vocalic change from a, into e. Ex: trebajal
  • Occasional maintenance of spirations lost in Spanish, in initial position. Ex: gelmanu
  • Metathesis from the consonantic group rl, into lr. Ex: chalral
  • Some cases of palatization of n in initial position. Ex: ñíu
  • Occasional conservation of f, in initial position. Ex: fogarera
  • Conservation of the consonantic group mb, in intermediate position. Ex: lambel
  • Frequently conservation of the spiration of h, in initial position, coming from a latin f-. This feature is lost in Spanish. Ex: higu ['hiɣu]
  • Preservation of old voiced sounds, such as some [ð] sounds where there is [θ] in Spanish or a [z] sound where there is a [s] sound in Spanish. This feature could be an archaism preserved from Old Spanish or Old Asturleonese, as it only happens when it could be expected from etymology. When that feature is well preserved, its appearance coincides with the presence of voiced sibilants in languages such as Catalan or Portuguese: Extremaduran tristeza [trih'teða] (Portuguese "tristeza"), Spanish tristeza [tris'teθa], but Extremaduran cabeça [ka'beθa] or [ka'βeθa] (Portuguese "cabeça"), Spanish cabeza [ka'βeθa] (the same as in Extremaduran). This feature is dying out quite fast, but it is found all over the High Extremaduran speaking area.

Grammar characteristics

In High Extremaduran
  • Occasional formation of gerund, derived from a form of the verb in past tense.
  • Usage of a vocative-exclamative case. When nouns are in the vocative, the closing of post-tonic vowels (e into i and o into u) disappears and those vowels open. El Ramiru quíi venil (Ramiro wants to come), but Ramiro, ven pacá (Ramiro, come here!). Sé quién lo vidu, Pepi (I know who saw it, Pepe did), but Sé quién lo vidu, Pepe (I know who saw it, Pepe). This is a charasteristic shared with the Fala language. Extremaduran and the Fala language are actually the only western Romance languages with a distinct form of vocative case for nouns formed with a change in the ending.
  • Usage of the preposition a with the verbs andal and estal indicating static temporal location, contrasting with the usage of en. Está a Caçris "He's in Cáceres (for a few days), está en Caçris "He's in Cáceres", Está pa Caçris "He's around Cáceres".
  • A very frequent usage of deictic forms to which enclitic pronouns can be added at the end. They can be used in the middle of a sentence: Velaquí la mi casa (Here is my house), velallilu (there he is), Paquí se curtivan velaquí lechugas, millu... (Look, lettuce, corn and so on is grown here).
  • Usage of reduplicated forms of plural pronouns with a reciprocal sense (ellus y ellus, vujotrus y vujotrus...): Estaban brucheandu ellus y ellus: They were wrestling with each other.

Lexical characteristics

In High Extremaduran
  • Usage of terms considered in Spanish as archaismes. Ex: ludia (Spanish levadura, "yeast").
  • Presence of therms, used commonly, that they proceed from Andalusian Arabic. Ex: zagal (from Andalusian Arabic zaḡál, "boy").

Comparative tables

Latin Italian French Spanish Portuguese Extremaduran English
altum alto haut alto alto artu [9] high
quasi quasi presque casi quase cuasi, abati almost
dicere dire dire decir [de'θir] dizer izil [i'ðil] to say
facere fare faire hacer [a'θer] fazer hazel [ha'ðel] to do
focum fuoco feu fuego fogo huegu fire
flammam fiamma flamme llama chama flama flame
legere leggere lire leer ler leyel to read
linguam lingua langue lengua língua luenga language
lumbum lombo lombe lomo lombo lombu loin
matrem madre mère madre mãe mairi mother
mirulum merlo merle mirlo melro mielra blackbird
monstrare mostrare montrer mostrar mostrar muestral to show
nostrum nostro notre nuestro nosso muestru/nuestru ours
tussem tosse toux tos tosse tossi cough

* The words in this table refer only to High Extremaduran

** Extremaduran words in this table are spelled according to Ismael Carmona García's ortography

Organizations and media

There exists a regional organization in Extremadura, APLEx,[10] which tries to defend the Extremaduran language (and also the Spanish dialects of Extremadura), one journal (Belsana) and one cultural newspaper, Iventia,[11] written in the new unified Extremaduran and the old dialect "palra d'El Rebollal".

Textual example

El estremeñu es una luenga palrá nel noroesti de la comuniá autónoma d'Estremaúra.
El extremeño es una lengua hablada en el noroeste de la comunidad autónoma de Extremadura.
Extremaduran is a language spoken in the northwest of the autonomous community of Extremadura.

See also


  1. ^ a b Ethnologue
  2. ^ a b Proel
  3. ^ Españolsinfronteras
  4. ^ Congrese about the Extremaduran language
  5. ^ Spanish journal Hoy
  6. ^ Interview to Antonio Viudas
  7. ^ González Salgado, José Antonio (2003). "La conciencia lingüística de los hablantes extremeños". in C. Alemany Bay. Actas del Congreso Internacional "La lengua, la Academia, lo popular, los clásicos, los contemporáneos...". 2. pp. 725-735. ISBN 84-7908-731-5.  
  8. ^ Congrese about the Extremaduran in Serradilla
  9. ^ a b Ismael Carmona García's dictionary 2005 Izionariu castellanu-estremeñu
  10. ^ Aplex
  11. ^ Inventia

External links



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