Check Out Asturian

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIHhlxhvv8w]
This is a clip of a Spanish comedian doing a skit in a comedy club. The skit is completely in the Asturian language, which is a separate language and not a dialect of Spanish. However, it is close to Spanish. I speak Spanish pretty well, and I could catch some of this, but not all by any means.
Spanish nationalists like to say that this is just a dialect of Spanish, but that is not the case at all Asturian is a full-fledged Romance language. Intelligibility with Spanish is probably about 80%. That’s not enough for good communication.
Listening to the video, it sounds like some strange cross-breed between Spanish and Portuguese. In some ways, that is what it is.
It is spoken in Asturias in the northwest of Spain, east of Galicia. To the west is a Galician dialect called Eonavian which is said to be transitional between Asturian and Galician. However, in general, Asturian and Galician do not appear to be intelligible. To the east is a dialect called Cantabrian which is transitional between Asturian and Spanish. Whether or not Eonavian and Cantabrian are separate languages is much in dispute.
To the south, Asturian is part of a dialect chain involving Leonese and Extremaduran. Extremaduran is in my opinion a separate language and not a Spanish dialect. Leonese is said to be one language with Asturian, but I believe that they are not intelligible with each other.
The language is not recognized by the Spanish state for some fascist reason, probably because they fear independentists.
There are many Asturians in the US, and quite a few of them still speak the language. They seem to have migrated due to poor economic conditions. They have some websites. I can read Spanish fairly well, but I can barely make sense of written Asturian.
Asturias has always been a poor part of Spain, and many young Asturians leave the area to go make money. When they do so, they usually quit speaking Asturian. There is mining, but that is does not generate a lot of income. It’s traditionally regarded as a backwards part of the country.
During the Spanish Civil War, it was a hotbed of Leftism, and the fascists committed many atrocities there, which continue to haunt the population. Evidence of this is that even 80 years after the fact, many locals seem afraid to discuss politics.
There is indeed an Asturian independence movement, but it is not really going anywhere. Asturians regularly bemoan the decline of their language, but this young women and her audience speak fluently, so that seems to be an exaggeration. The pure Asturian seems to be getting contaminated with an Asturian Spanish, which is just a Spanish dialect.
Asturian probably has about 550,000 speakers. It’s promoted by the local government, but they seem to be chronically short of funds. Education is all in Spanish, a source of contention. The number of speakers has declined dramatically in the past century. Judging from the number of young fluent speakers, I do not think that Asturian is going to die out anytime soon.

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