Aranese area in the Occitan-speaking territory
Aranese (Occitan: Aranés) is a standardized form of the Pyrenean Gascon variety of the Occitan language spoken in the Val d'Aran, in northwestern Catalonia close to the Spanish border with France, where it is one of the three official languages beside Catalan and Spanish. In 2010, it was named the third official language of the whole of Catalonia by Parliament of Catalonia.
The official spellings of towns in Val d'Aran are Aranese; for example, the Aranese spelling Vielha is used on maps and road signs instead of the Catalan and Spanish Viella.
According to a 2001 linguistic census by the Aranese government, about 90% of the inhabitants of Val d'Aran can understand the language, with those between 25 and 34 years old having the lowest rate, at around 80% (excluding those under the age of 4). Between 60 and 65% of the population can speak it; however, only 26% reported being able to write in Aranese.
In 2008, the Generalitat of Catalonia surveyed the population (15 years old or older) in the Val d'Aran. The survey reported that 78.2% of the population could understand Aranese, 56.8% could speak it, 59.4% could read it, and 34.8% could write the language.
Once considered to be an endangered language spoken mainly by older people, it is now experiencing a renaissance; it enjoys co-official status with Catalan and Spanish within Val d'Aran, and since 1984 has been taught bilingually alongside Castilian in schools. Students in the Val d'Aran are required to have 2 hours of each Spanish, Catalan, and Aranese each week. At some levels of education, a foreign language is added to the three official languages—usually French due to proximity—and sometimes even 2 additional hours of English.
General Gascon characteristics:
- Latin F > H:
- focus /ˈfokus/ (hearth) > huec /hwek/ (fire)
- ferrum /ˈferːum/ > hèr /heɾ/
- Latin LL > TH (internal or final) or R (in intervocalic position):
- vitellu > vedèth /beˈdɛt(ʃ)/ (egg yolk)
- ille > eth /et(ʃ)/ (sing. masc. definite article)
- ille > er /eɾ/ (sing. masc. definite article; used before words that start with a vowel sound)
- illa > era /eɾa/ (sing. fem. definite article)
- Vocalisation of L to U in final position: malum > mau /maw/ (bad)
- Loss of N in intervocalic position:
- Latin luna > lua (moon)
- Latin farīna > haria (flour)
- Metathesis of -R:
- Latin ventrum > vrente (stomach)
- Latin vesper > vrèspe (evening)
- Prosthetic A- before initial R-, doubling the R:
- Latin recognōscō > arreconéisher (to recognize)
- Latin rīdēre > arríder (to laugh)
Specific Aranese characteristics:
- Deaspiration of Gascon /h/ > Aranese ∅ (except in Bausen and Canejan, where it remains [h])
- Gascon huec /hwek/ (fire) > Aranese huec /wek/
- Gascon -AS pronounced and written -ES:
- Gascon hemnas > hemnes /ˈennes/ (women)
- Gascon parlas > parles /ˈpaɾles/ (you speak)
- Plurals of nouns ending in -A become -ES: era pèira → es pèires (the stones)
- Intervocalic /b/ written U and pronounced [w]:
- Gascon: cantava /kanˈtaba/ (he/she was singing)
- Aranese: cantaua /kanˈtawa/ (he/she was singing)
- Reduction of plural definite articles:
- Gascon: eths, eras
- Aranese: es /es/
- The voiced stops /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ are devoiced to /p/, /t/, /k/, respectively, in word-final position.
- /h/ is only pronounced in the towns of Bausen and Canejan. Foreign words which have not been adopted into Aranese also retain /h/: hardware, maharajah.
- /ɾ/ is pronounced [ɾ], except at the end of a word, where it is generally silent, regardless of what follows.
- In practice, stressed ei tends to be pronounced [e]: trueita pronounced as trueta.
- Word-final èi is often pronounced [ɛ] instead of [ɛj]: cantèi pronounced as cantè. Similarly, speakers tend to say òu as ò [ɔ]: auriòu is pronounced like auriò
- iu can be pronounced as [iw] or [jew]: Diu [diw ~ djew]
- Orthographic ui historically was a diphthong, but is currently produced as [y].
Aranese orthography denotes where two consecutive vowels do not diphthongize, but rather form a hiatus.
- A diaereses mark over unstressed i or u: ï, ü
- flaüta /flaˈy.ta/
- cocaïna /ku.kaˈi.na/
- coïncidir /ku.in.siˈdi(ɾ)/
- An acute accent, which marks lexical stress, on i or u: í, ú
- país /paˈis/
Comparison to other Romance languages
| ella ~ lei
/ˈelːa/ ~ /lɛːi/
|lh||[ʎ]||hilh||pronounced [l] before s: hilhs [ils]|
|nh||[ɲ]||nhèu||n·h, with interpunct, is pronounced [n(h)]: en·hornar|
| * following a vowel, sh must be written ish|
* s·h, with interpunct, is pronounced [s(h)]: des·hèir
| * before a, o, u|
* before e, i
| vedèth, eth
|the [tʃ] pronunciation only occurs in Bausen and Canejan|
|ts||[ts]||dits|| word-final ts is only used for plurals of words|
ending in -t, otherwise it becomes written tz
| * between vowels |
|unstressed||[ɑ ~ ɔ]||phrase-final|
|ò||[ɔ]||sometimes pronounced [o]|
Hispanicization of Aranese
Since the Val d'Aran is located within Spanish and Catalan territory, Aranese is subject to certain influences from Castilian Spanish and Catalan. As such, Aranese has adopted several neologisms from them, such as:
- actuar (vs. agir)
- empresa (vs. entrepresa)
- increment (vs. aumentacion)
- laborau (vs. professionau)
- matrícula (vs. inscripcion)
- oficina (vs. burèu, which is a Gallicism)
Spanish and Catalan have also created deformations of words such as abans > abantes or dempús > despuès. Some Hispanicisms are directly adopted into Aranese; for example: hasta.
Aranese is regulated under classic unifying standards of Occitan, defined initially by Loís Alibèrt. These standards of the Conselh de la Lenga Occitana (Occitan Language Council) have officially been recognized by the Conselh Generau d'Aran (General Council of Aran) since 1999.
In practice, several details standards diverge due to the popular or preferred usage of Aranese, in relation to other Gascon varieties. For instance:
- the form of the feminine plural -AS in general Gascon is replaced with -ES in Aranese. Ex: hemnes araneses (Aranese women) in place of general Gascon hemnas aranesas
- the use of U in place of V. Ex: auer instead of aver
Written publications in Aranese
A reference on usage and conjugation of Aranese verbs entitled Es Vèrbs conjugadi : morfologia verbau aranesa was written by Verònica Barés Moga and published in 2003. A descriptive and normative reference grammar book, written in Aranese by Aitor Carrera, was published in March 2007. This grammar includes detailed breakdown of phonological and grammatical differences between varieties of Aranese in different villages in the valley.
A dictionary of Aranese was written by the Catalan linguist Joan Coromines as his doctoral thesis.
A simple four-language Spanish–Aranese–Catalan–French dictionary exists, written by Frederic Vergés Bartau (see Bibliography).
An Aranese-English and English–Aranese dictionary was published in 2006. It was written by Ryan Furness, a young man from Minnesota, after he became curious about the language when he traveled to Val d'Aran.
A detailed one-volume Catalan–Occitan and Occitan–Catalan dictionary was published under the auspices of the governments of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) and Val d'Aran (Conselh Generau d'Aran). Although it calls the language "Occitan", it uses Aranese spelling and its preface says that special attention is given to the Aranese variety.
Periodicals and commercial publications
A local monthly magazine Toti and local newspapers are published partly in the language.
- Conselh Generau d'Aran. "Cens lingüistic del aranès de 2001". 2001. Retrieved on 22 August 2014. (Catalan)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Aranese". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- "El aranés se convierte en la tercera lengua oficial de Cataluña", El País, Barcelona, 22 September 2010. Retrieved on 22 August 2014. (Spanish)
- Enquesta d'usos lingüístics de la població 2008 (EULP 2008), Generalitat de Catalunya, 29 June 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2014. (Catalan)
- "Aranese language becomes the 3rd co-official language in Catalonia", Catalan News Agency, 2010. Retrieved on 22 August 2014.
- "Curriculum der Aranés", "Conselh Generau d'Aran", 12 February 1998. Retrieved on 24 August 2014. (Aranese)
- Conselh Generau d'Aran. "Normes Ortografiques der Aranés", 1999. Retrieved on 23 August 2014 (Aranese)
- "Presenten el primer diccionari aranès-anglès", Agència Catalana de Notícies, 05 April 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2014. (Catalan)
- "Un jove de Minnesota prepara el primer diccionari aranès-anglès", 324, Vielha, 09 November 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2014. (Catalan)
- Barés Moga, Verònica (2003). Es vèrbs conjugadi: morfologia verbau aranesa. Barcelona: Llibres de l'Index. ISBN 84-95317-47-8.
- Carrera, Aitor (2007). Gramatica Aranesa (in Occitan). Lleida: Pagès Editors. ISBN 978-84-9779-484-8.
- Furness, Ryan C. (2006). Diccionari Occitan (aranés) - Anglés/English-Occitan (Aranese) Dictionary. Pages Editors. ISBN 978-84-9779-362-9.
- Leclerc, Jean-Marc (2004). Le Gascon de poche (in French). France: Assimil. ISBN 2-7005-0345-7.
- Vergés Bartau, Frederic (1991). Petit diccionari: castelhan-aranés (occitan)-catalan-francés, aranés (occitan)-castelhan-catalan-francés. Vielha, Vall dʾAran, Lhèida : Conselh Comarcau dera Val DʾAran. ISBN 84-606-0175-7.
- Aranese in Catalonia, Spain—Database for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
- Aranese Training with the Conselh generau d'Aran (English) (Spanish) (Catalan) (Occitan)
- Es vèrbs der aranés—Aranese verb conjugation guide (Occitan)
- Lectures basiques—Manuel Naranjo i Teixido and Frederic Vergés i Bartau (Occitan)
- A University Phrasebook (English-Catalan-Aranese)—University of Barcelona (with recordings) (English) (Catalan) (Occitan)
- Rebrembes d'ua garia—a story in Aranese (Occitan)
- Stories in Aranese (Catalan) (Occitan)
- Vocabulari basic