Aragonese

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Aragonese (Aragonés) is a Romance language and is the co-official and national language of the Kingdom of Aragon, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Malta, Riu d'Archent (inc. the autonomous province of Uruguai), and Paraguai.

Aragonese originated around the 8th century as one of many Latin dialects developed in the Pyrenees on top of a strong Basque-like substratum. The original kingdom of Aragon (formed by the counties of Aragon, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza) was progressively expanded from the mountain ranges towards the South, pushing the Moors further South in the Reconquista and spreading the Aragonese language.

The union of the Aragonese Kingdom with Catalan Counties under the same king meant that these territories were linguistically heterogeneous, with Catalan spoken in the eastern region, and Aragonese in the west. Aragonese was the one to expand into the new territories conquered from the Moors: the Balearic Islands and the new kingdom of Valencia.

After the Aragonese Succession War, the Bourbons reiterated that the Aragonese language was the official language of the administration in Aragon and Murcia, outlawing Castilian. The state did however give Catalan official status in the traditionally Catalan-speaking regions. When the state made Barcelona the co-capital, hardly anyone spoke Aragonese there or anywhere in Catalonia for that matter. The Borbon decision to elevate Barcelona to the status of co-capital helped jumpstart a new and unique dialect of the language as court officials and militarymen moved to Barzelona from all over the Crown and aspiring bureaucrats pulled from Catalan-speaking regions now had to learn Aragonese in order to do their jobs and the urban proletariat had to also learn in in order to do business under the new dynasty.

As a result of rising nationalistic feelings in the 19th Century, 1849, Aragonese became the official and national language of the Crown, and all official documents across the kingdom had now to be written in Aragonese (Both in Aragonese and Catalan in Catalonia) Aragonese also snuffed out Catalan in Riu D'Archent, having always had a particular stronghold in the north of the country to use a springboard to settle the fate of the two languages in Aragon's sole colony in the New World. In addition, the city dialect of Barcelona came into its own, having been derived from the speech of government officials and aristocrats from Zaragoza intermingling with urban middle class and poor who brought with them influences from Catalan. In time Aragonese came to equal Catalan in number of speakers in Barcelona. This was quite a blow to Catalan nationalists and they never lived that down.

Today, Aragonese is the most prominent language in the Aragonese League.


Some historical traits of Aragonese language:

  • Open O,E from Romance result systematically into diphthongs [we], [je], e.g. VET'LA > viella (old woman, Cas. vêja, Cat. vella)
  • Loss of final unstressed -E, e.g. GRANDE > gran (big)
  • Unlike Castilian Romance initial F- is preserved, e.g. FILIU > fillo (son, Cas. hijo, Cat. fill)
  • Romance yod (GE-,GI-,I-) results in voiceless palatal affricate ch [ʧ], e.g. IUVEN > choben (young man), GELARE > chelá (to freeze, Cas. helar, Cat. gelar)
  • Like in Occitan Romance groups -ULT-, -CT- result in IPA|[jt], e.g. FACTU > feito (done, Cas. hecho, Cat. fet)
  • Romance groups -X-, -PS-, SCj- result into voiceless palatal fricative ix [ʃ], e.g. COXU > coixo (crippled, Cas. cojo, Cat. coix)
  • Unlike Castilian, Romance groups -Lj-, -C'L-, -T'L- result into palatal lateral ll [ʎ], e.g. MULIERE > mullé (woman, Cas. mujer, Cat. muller)), ACUT'LA > agulla (needdle, Cas. aguja, Cat. agulla)
  • Unlike Castilian, Latin -B- is maintained in past imperfect endings of verbs of the 2nd and 3rd conjugations: teniba (he had, Cas. tenía, Cat. tenia))
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