Extremaduran language

"Extremeño" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Estremenho, a dialect of Portuguese.
Native to Spain
Region Autonomous community of Extremadura
Ethnicity 1.1 million (no date)[1]
Native speakers
200,000 (1994)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ext
Glottolog extr1243[3]

Extremaduran (autonym: estremeñu, IPA: [eʰtːɾeˈmeɲʊ]) is a Romance language, spoken by several hundred 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.[4][5] It is difficult to establish the exact boundary between Extremaduran and the Spanish dialects spoken in most of Extremadura.


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).[5] The northern one is usually considered to be the language proper,[6] 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 not different enough from standard Spanish to be considered anything but dialects of it, since at least the 18th century.

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, were people conscious of speaking a language different from Castilian, but even there only some authors used it in their writings.

It was probably the cultural upheaval of Spanish-speaking Salamanca's University that was the cause of the rapid Castilianisation of the eastern parts of this province, thus 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, until then an oral language,[7] 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 of dialectal remains, but always with an eye on Spanish usage.

After that, localisms are the pattern in the attempts to defend the Extremaduran language to the extent that today only a few people are trying to revive the language and make northern Extremadura a bilingual region,[8] whereas the government and official institutions seem to think the best solution is for northwestern Extremadurans to speak a Castilian dialect without any kind of protection.[9] There are also attempts to transform the southern Castilian dialects ("castúo", as some people named them using the word which appeared in Luis Chamizo Trigueros's poems) into a language, which makes it even harder to defend High Extremaduran, considered more frequently a "real" language and makes it easier for the administration to reject co-officiality and the normalisation of Extremaduran.[10] 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 its own speakers, regard it as a poorly spoken Spanish.[11]

In 2013, the people of Serradilla created the first feature film in Extremaduran, Territoriu de bandolerus.




Comparative tables

Latin Italian Romanian Catalan Spanish Portuguese Extremaduran Leonese English
altus alto inalt alt alto alto artu [12] altu high/tall
prope quasi aproape quasi casi quase cuasi, abati cuasi almost
dicere dire a zice dir decir [deˈθir] dizer izil [iˈðil] dicire to say
facere fare a face fer hacer [aˈθer] fazer hazel [haˈðel] facere to do
focus fuoco foc foc fuego fogo hueu fueu fire
flamma fiamma flamă flama llama chama flama chama flame
legere leggere a citi llegir leer ler leel lliere to read
lingua lingua limbă llengua lengua língua luenga/léngua llingua language
lumbum lombo (zona) lombară llom lomo lombo lombu llombu loin
mater madre mamă mare madre mãe mairi mai mother
merula merlo mierlă merla mirlo melro mielru mielru blackbird
monstrare mostrare demonstrare mostrar mostrar mostrar muestral amuesare to show
noster nostro nostru nostra nuestro nosso muestru/nuestru nuesu ours
tussis tosse tuse tos tos tosse tossi tose cough

* The words in this table refer only to High Extremaduran.

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


There exists a regional organisation in Extremadura, APLEx,[13] that tries to defend the language (and also the Spanish dialects of Extremadura), one journal (Belsana) and one cultural newspaper, Iventia,[14] 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. L'estremennu yía una llingua falada nel noruesti la comunidá autónoma Estremadura. L'estremeñu ye una llingua falada nel noroeste de la comunidá autónoma d'Estremadura. 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


Extremaduran edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  1. Extremaduran at Ethnologue (13th ed., 1996).
  2. Extremaduran at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Extremaduran". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. Ethnologue
  5. 1 2 Proel
  6. Españolsinfronteras
  7. Congrese about the Extremaduran language
  8. Spanish journal Hoy
  9. Interview to Antonio Viudas
  10. 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. Archived from the original on 2003-04-18.
  11. Congrese about the Extremaduran in Serradilla
  12. 1 2 Ismael Carmona García's dictionary 2005 Izionariu castellanu-estremeñu
  13. Aplex
  14. Inventia

External links

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