Aragonese

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Aragonese (Aragonés) is a Romance language and is the co-official and national language of the Kingdom of Aragon, Riu de L'Argent, Uruguay (alongside Portuguese and Catalan), and Paraguay.

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. Moreover, Catalan was the language that expanded into the new territories conquered to the Moors: the Balearic Islands and the new kingdom of Valencia. The Aragonese reconquista to the south ended in the kingdom of Murcia, that was ceded by James I of Aragon to the Kingdom of Castile as a dowry for an Aragonese princess.

The spread of Castilian, as the common language in the peninsula, together with the protective effect from it that Aragonese played for the Catalan language, meant that further recession was to follow. One of the key moments in the history of Aragonese was when a king of Castilian origin was appointed in the 15th century: Ferdinand I of Aragon, (a.k.a. Ferdinand of Antequera).

When the Capital of the kingdom was moved to Barcelona in the 17th century, Aragonese was barely spoken in some rural areas in Upper Aragon, Particularly in Uesca, while in most Upper Aragon and Murzia Castilian was spoken, and in Catalonia, Valencia, the Balear Islands and the overseas colonies Catalan was the most common language.

After the Aragonese Succession War, the Bourbons promoted again the Aragonese language as the official language of the administration in Aragon and Murcia, replacing the Castilian, while Catalan gained official status in Catalan-speaking regions.

In 1849, Aragonese became the official and national language, and all official documents across the kingdom should be written in Aragonese (Both in Aragonese and Catalan in Catalonia, Valencia, parts of Murcia and the Balears.) Aragonese also spread in Riu de L'Argent, finding a particular stronghold in the north of the country. In addition, a city dialect sprung up in Barcelona, derived from the speech of government officials and aristocrats from Zaragoza. It eventually about equaled Catalan in the number of speakers, with one having slightly more speakers than the other at various different times.

Today, Aragonese is one of the most prominent languages 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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