Languages of Spain
Ignasi riera1111
Xosé Luís Méndez Ferrín, Bernardo Atxago and Ignasi Riera write in Galician, Basque and Castillan, and Catalan respectively.

Shortly after the demise of the Franco regime, the constitution of Spain created a number of autonomous regions within the state, the administrations of which have, in most cases, offered a measure of official recognition and support to their respective minority languages (albeit to varying degrees) after the repression which occurred under Franco.

Today, as has been the case for many centuries, the linguistic varieties spoken in Spain include Aragonese, Aranese (Occitan), Asturian, Basque, Castilian ('Spanish'), Galician, Catalan and Valencian.

Valencian is linguistically very close to Catalan and is often considered a dialect of it. Some Valencians, however, object to this and insist on the status of Valencian as a language in its own right.


Basque is a non-Indo-European language spoken in part of northern Spain as well as over the border in part of southern France. Within Spain it is spoken in the autonomous communities of the Basque Country and Navarre. Approximately a quarter of the population of the Basque Autonomous Community can speak Basque with a significant number of others having some passive knowledge of the language. The percentage in Navarre is much lower. Likewise, the degree of official recognition and public use of the language is significantly greater in the Basque Autonomous Community than in Navarre.


Catalan is a Romance language, which is spoken by some 6.500.000 people in the Catalan territories. Not all of these territories, however, fall within the Spanish state, the language being found also in southern France, Andorra and Sardinia. However, the great majority of the language's speakers are found within Spain. In the Catalan autonomous region, a little over 5 500 000 people understand Catalan (94% of the total), 4 065 000 can speak it (68%), 4 019 000 can read it (68%) and 2 376 000 can write it (40%). The language has official status in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia and is extensively used in public life.


The percentage of the population able to speak Valencian in Valencia is somewhat lower than with Catalan in Catalonia (a little over half).


Galicia is located in the north-west of Spain adjacent to northern Portugal. The Galician language is a Romance language and linguistically close to Portuguese, sharing historic roots with it. Indeed, some concerned with the Galician language regard it as a dialect of Portuguese and seek its 'reintegration' as a part of the Portuguese-speaking world. This position is, however, controversial. The population of Galicia is approximately two and three quarter million and the great majority of these (over 90 per cent) can speak Galician. The number of native speakers, however, is rather lower, at a little over half the population. The Galician statute of autonomy gives Galician co-official status with Castilian, as with Basque and Catalan.

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