How many languages exist in Spain?
Spain is a country with several co-official languages. In this blog we will tell you all about the different languages and dialects that you may come across in this country. Maybe you will leran something new about this multicultural country today.
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Therefore there a total of six languages coexisting in Spain: Castilian, Catalan, Valencian, Galician, Basque and Aranese. In terms of the number of people who speak each of them, 98.9 % of the population speak Spanish either as a first or second language. Catalan with 17.5 % od speakers of the population is second, Galician with 6.2 % third, Valencian with 5.8 % fourth and Basque with 1.26 % fifth.
Spanish is also known as Castilian, a term that originates from Castile, where the language first emerged as a dialect in Cantabria. Curiously, it is a language with around 4,000 words of Arabic origin.
Catalan is spoken in Catalonia, being one of the three co-official languages in this autonomous community, together with Spanish and Aranese. This language, with certain variants is present in the Balearic Islands, in the eastern part of the province of Aragon, in south France, in Alghero and in Sardinia, Italy.
2.6 million people in Galicia speak this language. Galician is very similar to Portuguese, as they share the same etymological roots. The result is two languages with very similar vocabulary and grammar, but completely different pronunciation.
Valencian is an official language in the Community of Valencia. In this region around 50 % of the population speak it, while practically 95 % of its inhabitants are able to understand Valencian.
Basque is only spoken in the Basque Country. One of the characteristics of this language is that it has no relation with any other Indo-European-Language, nor any other language in the world. 1.26 % of the Spanish population speak this language.
Aranese is spoken in the Val d'Aran area, as well as in South France, among other places. It is a language that is very similar to Catalan. However, although it is an official language in Spain, the truth is that only 3,000 people speak Aranese in Spain, while in the rest of Europe there are around 1.5 million speakers.
In addition to the official languages, there are other dialects or minority languages in Spain. On the one hand, there is Aragonese, with around 50,000 speakers. Another dialect is Asturian, a Romance language spoken or understood by some 450 000 speakers. It is quite present in the region, since children and adolescents learn in Asturian schools from the age of 6 to 18.
In addition, you can find the so-called Patués, a dialect spoken in Huesca, Cantabrian with about 3,000 speakers, and Extremaduran with about 6,000 speakers. And Leonese also as a Romance dialect spoken in León by around 50,000 speakers.
Undoubtedly, all this info shows that Spain is linguistically and culturally an extremely rich country, where several languages and cultures coexist.
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Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.