Aragonese language

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Aragonese (pronounced /ˌærəɡɒˈniːz/ in English, aɾaɡo'nes in Aragonese) is a Romance language now spoken in a number of local varieties by between 10,000 and 30,000 people over the valleys of the Aragón River, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza in Aragon. It is also colloquially known as fabla (literally, "speech") and is the only remaining speech form derived from medieval Navarro-Aragonese languages.

Contents

History

Aragonese originated around the eighth century, as one of many Latin dialects developed in the Pyrenees on top of a strong Basque-like substratum. The original Kingdom of Aragon (formed by the counties of Aragon, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza) was progressively expanded from the mountain ranges towards the South, pushing the Moors farther south in the Reconquista and spreading the Aragonese language.

The dynastic union of the Catalan Counties and the Kingdom of Aragon—which formed the Aragonese Crown in the twelfth century—did not result in a merging of the language forms of the two territories into a single form; Catalan continued to be spoken in the east, and Navarro-Aragonese in the west. The Aragonese reconquista to the south ended in the kingdom of Murcia, which was ceded by James I of Aragon to the Kingdom of Castile as a dowry for an Aragonese princess.

The spread of Castilian, now more commonly known as Spanish, and the Castilian origin of the Trastamara dynasty and a strong similarity between Castilian and Aragonese, meant that further recession was to follow. One of the key moments in the history of Aragonese was when a king of Castilian origin was appointed in the fifteenth century: Ferdinand I of Aragon, also known as Ferdinand of Antequera.

The mutual union of the crowns of Aragon and Castile and the progressive suspension of all capacity of self-rule from the sixteenth century meant that Aragonese, while still widely spoken, was limited to a rural and colloquial use, as the nobility chose Spanish as their symbol of power.

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