The Languages of Northeastern Spain: Aragonese, Catalan, and Occitan

Gus Love: No, the Aragonese language looks different. I might put up a sample sometime. This is Catalan. Occitan looks different but I’m not sure how different or in what way. I’ve seen quite a bit of Occitan writing but that was a while back.

This is Catalan. Occitan looks different but I’m not sure how different or in what way. I’ve seen quite a bit of Occitan writing but that was a while back. There is a type of Occitan, the western half of which is nothing but Catalan. The eastern half of that Occitan language is not fully intelligible with Catalan. This is the Occitan language that is spoken across the border from Catalonia. I am not talking about Northern Catalan or French Catalan. That’s also spoken across the border but that’s more over by the coast.

No, the Aragonese language looks different. Aragonese looks much more Castillian and it’s not nearly as Frenchified as Catalan. The Kingdom of Aragon never came under the influence of France. Aragonese is spoken in the Pyrenees on the west side of those mountains. On the French side it’s not even French. It’s Occitan. For instance, Aranese Occitan is intelligible with Comminghese Occitan across the border in France. The Pyrenees are very high mountains, and they probably served as a barrier to French influence.

There were different lects of Macro-Spanish spoken in the various kingdoms in France. Aragonese was spoken in the Kingdom of Aragon. Asturian was spoken in the Kingdom of Asturias. Castillian split away from all of them around 1100 and started expanding south from its homeland in Cantabria on the north coast. It was a crapshoot fora while which kingdom would come to rule Spain and supplant the others. It turns out that the kingdom of Castille and Leon won the contest but it could just as easily have been the kingdoms of Aragon or Asturias.

Asturian-Leonese has been split from Castillian for 900 years. Aragonese split off much later around 1600. It used to be spoken in all of Aragon but Castillian took over Southern and Central Aragon, and Aragonese was relegated to the hinterlands of the inaccessible Pyrenees Mountains where it still holds out. There are children coming to school as Aragonese monolinguals in one town to this very day.

 

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