Mirandese language

Native to Portugal
Region Northeast (Miranda do Douro, Sendim, Vimioso and Mogadouro)
Native speakers
15,000 (2000)[1]
(10,000 use it regularly, 5,000 when they return to the area. 2,000 Sendinese in Sendim Vila.)[2]
Official status
Official language in
Co-official recognition. Special protection status in Miranda do Douro, Portugal. Statutory language of provincial identity in 4 municipalities, northeast Portugal (1999, Law No. 7-99 of 29 January).[3]
Regulated by Anstituto de la Lhéngua Mirandesa
Language codes
ISO 639-2 mwl
ISO 639-3 mwl
Glottolog mira1251[4]
Linguasphere 51-AAA-cb

Locator map of the Miranda do Douro municipality, which harbors the vast majority of Mirandese speakers.
Street sign, at Genísio village, with the street name in Mirandese and in Portuguese

The Mirandese language (autonym: mirandés or lhéngua mirandesa; Portuguese: mirandês or língua mirandesa) is a Romance language belonging to the Astur-Leonese linguistic group, sparsely spoken in a small area of northeastern Portugal, in the municipalities of Miranda do Douro, Mogadouro and Vimioso. The Portuguese Parliament granted it co-official recognition (along with the Portuguese language) for local matters on 17 September 1998 with the law 7/99 of 29 January 1999.

Mirandese has a distinct phonology, morphology and syntax, and has been distinct at least since the formation of Portugal in the 12th century. It has its roots in the spoken Latin of the north of the Iberian Peninsula (Portuguese developed in the northwest).

It is a descendant of the ancient Astur-Leonese language spoken in the northern part of the Iberia, in the Kingdom of León, and is a variety of modern Astur-Leonese, which is mostly spoken in Spain. However, Mirandese has preserved some linguistic phenomena from ancient Astur-Leonese that the modern varieties of Astur-Leonese spoken in Spain have lost. It has also created some linguistic innovations after being isolated in Portugal that did not develop in Astur-Leonese on the Spanish side of the border. In recognition of these differences, and due to its political isolation from the rest of the Astur-Leonese speaking territory, Mirandese has adopted a different written norm than the one used in Spain for Astur-Leonese. Lexically, it shares a lot of vocabulary with Portuguese.


In the 19th century, José Leite de Vasconcelos described it as "the language of the farms, of work, home, and love between the Mirandese". Since 1986–1987 it has been taught to students between the ages of 10 and 11, and so it is recovering.

Today Mirandese retains fewer than 5,000 speakers (but the number can be up to 15,000 if counting second-language speakers) in the villages of the Municipality of Miranda do Douro and in some eastern villages (such as Vilar Seco and Angueira; in Caçarelhos, it is considered recently extinct) of the Municipality of Vimioso, and some linguistic influence can be observed at other villages of the municipality of Vimioso and the municipalities of Mogadouro, Macedo de Cavaleiros and Bragança.


Three variants of the Mirandese language exist: Border Mirandese (Mirandés Raiano), Central Mirandese (Mirandés Central) and Sendinese (Sendinés). Most speakers of Mirandese also speak Portuguese.

The main differences between Mirandese in Portugal and the Astur-Leonese languages in Spain are caused by the dominant languages in each region. Mirandese has been influenced phonetically and in lexicon by Portuguese and the Astur-Leonese languages in Spain by Spanish (Castilian). All have distinctive orthography that phonetically reflects the respective main national languages. Another difference is that Mirandese and Leonese remain very conservative, while Asturian has undergone a greater amount of change.



Some historical developments in Mirandese are:

Ibero-Romance Mirandese European
Castilian Spanish
/tʃ/ /tʃ/
/ʃ/ /ʃ/
/ʒ/ /ʒ/
g / j
g / j
g / j
/s̻/ /s̻/
c / ç
c / ç
/z̻/ /z̻/
/s̺/ /s̺/
s / -ss-
/ -ss-
/z̺/ /z̺/

The /s̺/ and /z̺/ indicate apico-alveolar sibilants (as in modern Catalan, northern/central peninsular Spanish, and coastal northern European Portuguese), while /s̻/ and /z̻/ are dentalized laminal alveolar sibilants (as in most modern Portuguese and French).

Portuguese spelling still distinguishes all seven, and is identical to Mirandese spelling in this respect, but in pronunciation has reduced them to four /s, z, ʃ, ʒ/, except in northern hinterland European Portuguese dialects, including those of the area where Mirandese is located. Northern/central Peninsular Spanish has also reduced them to four but in a quite different way: /tʃ, θ, s̺, x/. Andalusian Spanish and Latin American Spanish have further reduced them to three: /tʃ, s̻, h/.


As in conservative Portuguese, Mirandese still uses the following synthetic tenses:

Sample text

The following is a sample text of the Mirandese language, written by Amadeu Ferreira, and published in the newspaper Público, on 24 July 2007.

Mirandese Portuguese English

Muitas lhénguas ténen proua de ls sous pergaminos antigos, de la lhiteratura screbida hai cientos d'anhos i de scritores hai muito afamados, hoije bandeiras dessas lhénguas. Mas outras hai que nun puoden tener proua de nada desso, cumo ye l causo de la lhéngua mirandesa.

Muitas línguas têm orgulho dos seus pergaminhos antigos, da literatura escrita há centenas de anos e de escritores muito famosos, hoje bandeiras dessas línguas. Mas há outras que não podem ter orgulho de nada disso, como é o caso da língua mirandesa.

Many languages are proud of their ancient scrolls, of the literature written hundreds of years ago and of famous writers, today flags of those languages. But others can't be proud of that, as is the case of the Mirandese language.

Then a comparison of the previous text in three modern languages of the Asturo-leonese group:

Mirandese Leonese Asturian

Muitas lhénguas ténen proua de ls sous pergaminos antigos, de la lhiteratura screbida hai cientos d'anhos i de scritores hai muito afamados, hoije bandeiras dessas lhénguas. Mas outras hai que nun puoden tener proua de nada desso, cumo ye l causo de la lhéngua mirandesa.

Muitas llinguas tien arguyu de los sous pergaminos antiguos, de la lliteratura escrita van cientos d'annos y d'escritores bien famosos; guei bandeiras d'eisas llinguas. Peru hai outras que nun pueden tener arguyu de nada d'eisu, cumu ye'l casu de la llingua mirandesa.

Munches llingües tienen arguyu de los sos pergaminos antiguos, de la lliteratura escrita hai cientos d'años y d'escritores enforma famosos, güei banderes d'eses llingües. Pero hai otres que nun pueden tener arguyu de nada d'eso, como ye'l casu de la llingua mirandesa.

National attention

Public sign with the history of the Cathedral of Miranda do Douro, written in Mirandese.

Mirandese, given its status as second official language in Portugal after Portuguese, has been the subject in recent years of some publicity and attention in other parts of Portugal. A monthly chronicle in Mirandese, by researcher and writer Amadeu Ferreira, appears in the daily Portuguese national newspaper Público. The first volume of the The Adventures of Asterix, named Asterix, L Goulés (Asterix the Gaul), was published in a Mirandese translation by Amadeu Ferreira in 2005, and sold throughout Portugal. Amadeu Ferreira also translated into Mirandese the epic poem by Camões, Os Lusíadas (Ls Lusíadas), under his pseudonym Francisco Niebro and published it in 2009.[5] In 2011, the four Gospels of the Bible's New Testament were translated into Mirandese, and in 2013 the entire Bible was translated into the language by Domingos Augusto Ferreira.[6]

See also


  1. Mirandese at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. "Mirandese". Ethnologue.com. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  3. "Mirandese". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  4. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mirandese". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. "Oito anos para traduzir "Os Lusíadas" em língua mirandesa - Cartaz - DN". Dn.pt. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  6. Galvan, Virginia. "Exposição "Bíblia Sagrada" traduzida em mirandês em Miranda do Douro". Local.Pt. Retrieved 2014-08-21.

Further reading

Mirandese edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mirandese language.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/18/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.