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Did you know this about... Aragonese?

01Aragonese is a Romance language spoken only in Northern Aragon and is considered by the UNESCO Interactive Atlas of Endangered Languages in the World as a definitely endangered language. Incidentally, it is the only Spanish language spoken only in Spanish territory.

02Within Aragon, Aragonese is recognized by different legal instruments, such as the Statute of Autonomy or the current Law on Languages of Aragon. However, it does not enjoy a co-official status.

03From the philological point of view, Aragonese is a dialect of Latin, and therefore emerged in the Pyrenees some 1000 years ago. During the second millennium, Aragonese expanded to the South following advances made during Reconquest: the people who came from the North were repopulating the new territories that the Christians recovered.

04We can find the first literary works in Aragonese Romance by the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th. It is worth highlighting the work of Johan Ferrández d'Heredia who, in the 14th century, translated the Greek classics into Aragonese before any other romance language.

05Throughout the 20th century, the process of disintegration of Aragonese was accentuated, first by the Spanish Civil War and, later, by the phenomenon of rural depopulation. Aragonese became a rustic and improper way of speaking in most people’s eyes.

06Currently, the Aragonese language includes several dialects and is conserved, depleted and impoverished, in the north of Aragon. According to official data Aragonese is only spoken by some 25.000 people, although the figure rises to over 50.000 if we include those who understand it.

07In recent decades there has been evident progress, both in terms of the study and knowledge of Aragonese, as well as in terms of its literary cultivation, teaching, dissemination and social consideration. In addition, it has been cultivated much more literarily, both narrative and poetry. Also, music in this language has increased notably in recent years, with more than twenty musical groups that sing totally or partially in Aragonese. On the contrary, its use in the media and in official bodies is still scarce.

08In the world of education, it should be noted that the teaching of Aragonese has been absent for many years in primary and secondary education in Northern Aragon. However, in recent years there have been notable advances, so that Aragonese is currently taught to nearly a thousand students spread over some 30 centres, mainly primary schools. Since 2013 there is an official normative body called Aragonese Language Academy (Academia Aragonesa de la Lengua).

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What does Aragonese sound like? Listen to an Aragonese TV programme.