We've already discussed the most widely spoken languages in the world, but do you actually know which are the co-official languages in Spain? Do you know all the places they’re spoken? In this article, we’ll give you some interesting facts about Spain’s official languages and tell you some things you probably didn't know about them.
A brief history of Spain’s co-official languages
Before the Romans arrived, the Iberian Peninsula was inhabited by diverse groups of people: the Iberians in the eastern area, the Celtic-influenced peoples in the north, the west and the inland part of the peninsula, and the Turdetani and Tartessians in the southwest.
Each of these groups was divided into several tribes, and some of them, especially those near the border, shared cultural and linguistic influences. And on top of all that, there was the influence of the Greeks, Phoenicians and Carthaginians.
With the arrival of the Roman Empire, all the territories were unified and Latin was established as the official language throughout the peninsula.
Centuries later, following the fall of the Roman empire, each territory developed a different language that stemmed from Latin over time and shaped under the different influences of each region. Some of these languages became officially recognized languages and others were classified as dialects.
What are Spain’s co-official languages?
Now that we've reviewed some of the historical background, we can focus on the present: Spain’s official language is Spanish, although in certain autonomous communities it’s co-official with the local language.
Article 3 of the Spanish Constitution declares Castilian Spanish to be the official national language of Spain and establishes that the other languages are official languages of Spain in the respective autonomous communities, in accordance with their respective statutes.
The co-official languages in Spain, together with Castilian Spanish, in their corresponding territories, are Catalan, Galician and Basque.
In 2006, a fourth co-official Spanish language, Aranese, was added.
How many languages are spoken in Spain?
In view of the above, the quick answer to the question of how many languages are spoken in Spain would be five. However, the reality is that many more are actually spoken. Let’s lay out some facts:
- Catalan is spoken by more than 11 million people in Catalonia, and with its variants, in the Balearic Islands and the Community of Valencia.
- Three official languages are recognized in Catalonia. Since 2006, Aranese, the language spoken in the Aran Valley region in Lérida, has been co-official along with Catalan and Spanish.
- Aranese is spoken by only about 2,800 people.
- The Valencian language is considered to be its own language according to the statute of autonomy of the Community of Valencia. But did you know that this language is also spoken in Sierra Del Carche, in the Region of Murcia?
- Galician is the second-largest co-official language in terms of number of speakers. This language arose from the influence of various Celtic languages on Latin.
- Basque is the co-official language of the Basque Country and the Basque-speaking areas of the Chartered Community of Navarre.
- Euskara Batua is the official Basque language and the one taught in schools. However, there are many dialects, called euskalkiak, which are geographical variants of Basque.
- In addition to the official languages, there are other languages spoken in Spain, although they are not officially recognized and are considered dialects. These are Aragonese, Leonese, Bable or Asturian, Andalusian, Canarian, Extremaduran and Murcian.
Spain's linguistic richness is a reflection of the rich cultural diversity of our country. Here at Linguaserve, we offer you our diverse translation services in Spain’s co-official languages.