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Asturian language

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Asturian language

asturianu, bable
Native to Spain
Region Autonomous Community of Asturias
Native speakers
110,000  (2007)[1]
450,000 L2 speakers (1994)
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by Academia de la Llingua Asturiana
Language codes
ISO 639-2 ast
ISO 639-3 ast
Glottolog astu1245[3]
Linguasphere 51-AAA-ca
The linguistic area of Asturian

Asturian (;[4] autonym: asturianu ,[5] or bable ) is a Romance language of the West Iberian group, Astur-Leonese subgroup, spoken in Asturias (Spain). Asturian is also known as Astur-Leonese or Asturian-Leonese to refer to the language in its historical and current global expansion. The current number of speakers of Asturian is estimated at about 100,000 first-language speakers and 450,000 second-language speakers.[6] There are three predominant variants in the asturleonese linguistic domain (Western, Central and Eastern), although in the case of Asturias, for historical and demographics reasons, the standard is based on the Central Asturian. Asturian has a grammar, a dictionary of the Asturian language, and an orthography. It is regulated by the Academy of the Asturian Language, and even though it is not an official language,[7] it is protected under the autonomous statute legislation and is an optional language at schools.[8]


Kingdom of Asturias, circa 910 AD. King Alfonso III of Asturias, (848–910)

Asturian is the autochthonous language of Asturias (Spain) and some parts of the provinces of León and Zamora (Spain) and the area surrounding the city of Miranda do Douro (Portugal) (see '[1]).

Like other Romance languages in the Iberian peninsula, it developed out of the break-up of unified Latin in the early Middle Ages. In historical terms Asturian became closely linked with the ancient Kingdom of Asturias (718–910) and the ensuing Asturian-Leonese or Leonese kingdom.

The language developed from Vulgar Latin with contributions from the pre-Roman languages which were spoken in the territory of the Astures, an ancient Hispano-Celtic tribe of the Iberian peninsula, as well as from the post-Roman Germanic languages of the Visigoths and Suevi.

The passage from Latin to Asturian was slow and progressive, and for a long period both co-existed in a diglossic relationship, in the Kingdom of Asturias first and that of Asturias and Leon later. In the 12th, 13th and part of the 14th centuries, the language used in official documents of the kingdom was Asturian. Many examples can be found of agreements, donations, wills, commercial contracts, etc. written in the language from that period onwards. Although there are no extant literary works written in Asturian in this period, it is known that some books, such as the Llibru d'Alexandre, and also Fueru d'Avilés (1155)[9][10] had Asturian sources.

Castilian (Spanish) came to the area later, in the 14th century, when the central administration sent emissaries and functionaries to occupy political and ecclesiastical offices. Nowadays, Asturian codification of Astur-Leonese spoken in the Asturian Autonomous Community has become a modern language, after the birth of the Academy of the Asturian Language (Academia Asturiana de la Llingua) in 1980. Mirandese is very close to Asturian.

Status and legislation

Asturian areas in North West of Iberian Peninsule. (Ethnologue linguistic map based. See source:

Much effort has been made since 1974 to protect and promote Asturian.[11] In 1994, there were 100,000 first-language speakers, and 450,000[12] second-language speakers able to speak or understand Asturian.[13] However, the situation of Asturian is critical, with a large decline in the number of speakers in the last 100 years.

Law 1/93, of March 23, on the Use and Promotion of the Asturian Language
Article 4 of Asturias 'Statute of Autonomy' provides:[5] The Asturian language will enjoy protection. Its use, teaching and diffusion in the media will be furthered, whilst its local dialects and voluntary apprenticeship will always be respected.

Thus, Asturian has an anomalous situation from the legal point of view. The Spanish Constitution, as far as the official recognition of languages in the autonomous communities is concerned, has not been fully applied. The ambiguity of the Statute of Autonomy, which recognises the existence of Asturian, but does not put it on the same level as Spanish, leaves the door open to the de facto lack of protection of Asturian. However, since 1 August 2001, Asturian is covered under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages with the aim to "safeguard and promote" Asturian.[2]

In a research from 1983,[14] the figure of 100,000 speakers of Asturian appeared to be a reasonable estimate. In addition, about 250,000 people declared they were able to understand the language. However, a similar survey was repeated in 1991 and the results were rather different. While in 1983 only 12% of the Asturian population declared they spoke the language, in 1991 the number of speakers within the population was 44% (about 450,000 people). About 80,000 and 60,000 people declare being able to read and write it. In addition to this, another 24% of the Asturian population understand the language. Thus, at least 68% of the people understand Asturian (Source: Llera Ramo, F.: Los Asturianos y la Llengua Asturiana. Conseyería d'Educación, Uviéu, 1994).

At the end of the 20th century, the Academia de la Llingua Asturiana (Academy of the Asturian Language) made efforts to provide the language with most of the tools needed by a language to ensure its survival: a grammar, a dictionary, and periodicals. A new generation of Asturian writers have also championed the language. These developments give the Asturian language a greater hope of survival.

Historical, social and cultural aspects

History of the literature

Idealized portrait of Antón de Marirreguera (17th century).
Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, writer, jurist y politic neoclassical statesman (1744–1811), who projected the creation of an Academy of the Asturian Language.

Some documents appear from as early as the 10th century containing the clear linguistic features of Asturian. However, it is from the 13th century onwards that it becomes possible to speak of a wealth of documentation in Asturian: writing by [16] The importance of the Asturian language in the Middle Ages is revealed, for example, in the Fuero de Avilés (1085) (the oldest Romanic parchment preserved in Asturias)[17] and the Fuero de Oviedo, in the Leonese version of the Fueru Xulgu as well.

All of these 13th century documents were legal in nature and acted as the laws for towns and cities or for the population at large.[16] However, it is of note that by the second half of the 16th century documents were clearly coming to be written in the Castilian language, backed deliberately by the Trastámara Dynasty making the civil and ecclesiastical service of the Principality of Castilian origin. As a result, the Asturian language disappeared from written texts (sieglos escuros 'Dark centuries') but continued to survive orally by being handed down from generation to generation. The only reference in this time is a work of Hernán Núñez (1555) about Proverbs and adages, "[...] a large copy of rare languages, as Portuguese, Galician, Asturian, Catalan, Valencian, French, Tuscan..."[18]

Modern Asturian literature began in the 17th century with the clergyman Antón González Reguera (1605) and continued up until the 18th century when it produced, according to Ruiz de la Peña (1981), a literature that could stand up to the best written in Asturias in the same period in the Castilian language.[19]

In the 18th century, the erudite and intellectual Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos (1744), was conscious of the historical and cultural value of what he termed “our language” and expressed the urgency for the compilation of a dictionary and a grammar and for the creation of a Language Academy. It took more than a century for the efforts of Asturian politicians to turn this into reality.

Other important writers were: Francisco Bernaldo de Quirós Benavides (1675), Xosefa Xovellanos (1745), Xuan González Villar y Fuertes (1746), Xosé Caveda y Nava (1796), Xuan María Acebal (1815), Teodoro Cuesta (1829), Xosé Benigno García González, Marcos del Torniello (1853), Bernardo Acevedo y Huelves (1849), Pin de Pría (1864), Galo Fernández, Fernán Coronas (1884), etc...

In 1974, which was a symbolic year, a movement for acceptance and usage of the language surfaced once again in Asturias. Based on the ideas of the Asturian association named "Conceyu Bable", regarding Asturian language and culture, an argument was devised for the acceptance and modernization of the language that led to the development of an official institution for establishing Asturian language norms. In 1980 the Academy of the Asturian Language (1980), created with the approval of the Regional Council of Asturias (the transitory government body of Asturias).

Besides this, there was unprecedented literary activity, a production that breaks away from the system of subordination, of costumbrism and gender limitation: "El Surdimientu" (Awakening). Authors such as Manuel Asur (Cancios y poemes pa un riscar), Xuan Bello (El llibru vieyu), Adolfo Camilo Díaz (Añada pa un güeyu muertu), Pablo Antón Marín Estrada (Les hores), Xandru Fernández (Les ruines), Lourdes Álvarez, Martín López-Vega, Miguel Rojo, Lluis Antón González and dozens more writers appeared, amongst others who wrote in the language of these territories in line with contemporary trends and guidelines, breaking away from the Asturian-Leonese tradition of rural themes, moral messages and dialogue-style writing, to put Asturian language literature on the map.

Nowadays the Asturian language is a living reality within the territory of Asturias, with about 150 annual publications,[20] while small communities speaking Asturian can also be found in areas that do not belong administratively to the Principality.

Use and distribution

Geographical distribution

The geographical area of Asturian exceeds the administrative framework of the Autonomous Community of the Principality of Asturias so that the language known as Leonese in the Autonomous Community in Castile and León is basically the same as the one known as Asturian in Asturias. The fact that the geographical area is divided in two Spanish autonomous communities makes the recognition and promotion of this language in Asturias, although clearly insufficient, not to be regarded in Castile and León where the language in completely nonexistent in the official educative system, and lack measures of promotion by the autonomous administration.

The Asturian-Leonese linguistic domain covers nowadays approximately most of the principality of Asturias, the north and west of the province of León, the northeast of Zamora (both provinces in Castile and León), western Cantabria, and the region of Miranda do Douro in the east of the Portuguese district of Bragança. However, the main objective of this article is the autonomous community of Asturias.


Year 2011
  Conceyos (municipalities) whose traditional place names has been made official by law.
  Conceyos waiting for approval.
  Conceyos whose had been initiated the process.
  Conceyos without initiated process.

Traditional and popular place names of the towns of the Principality is enjoying significant progress in recent years, in the context of the "Ley de Uso" (law on usage of Asturian) and the "Principality’s 2003–07 plan for Establishment of the Language",[21] with the work of the Xunta Asesora de Toponimia,[22] which with its validation of, and research into, the names of those villages, towns, conceyos (municipalities) and cities that have requested it, has been able to achieve official status for them — of which there are 50 out of 78 conceyos at the moment (2012), with a further 28 conceyos at varied stages in the process—. In Leonese areas, there have been no officially recognized Asturian-Leonese names for the towns, and no research has been undertaken into this or any record of possible names has been made.

Dialectal variation

Linguistic varieties of Asturias, attending only to purely linguistic criteria: Western Asturian, Central Asturian and Eastern Asturian

Asturias has also its own dialectal variation. Asturian is regulated by Academy of the Asturian Language and is mostly spoken in the Principality of Asturias (except for the westernmost part where Galician-Asturian is spoken). The dialects in adjoining areas of Castile and León have continuity with the Asturian dialects; in that area they are referred to as Leonese. Attending only to purely linguistic criteria, the Asturian language is traditionally divided into three dialectal areas, which share their traits with the dialects spoken in León:[23] Western Asturian, Central Asturian, and Eastern Asturian. Intelligibility among the three dialects is adequate. Central Asturian has the most speakers (+80%) and has been taken as the basis for normative Asturian: the first Asturian grammar was published in 1998. The first normative dictionary was published in 2000.

Western Asturian

Western Asturian is a linguistic variety in Western Asturian lands between the rivers Navia and Nalón, and western provinces of León, where is called Leonese as endonym, Zamora and Salamanca. Its area is defined by the following traits:

– Feminine plurals ending in -as
– Maintenance of the falling diphthongs /ei/ and /ou/

Central Asturian

Area between the Sella river and a full line from the mouth of the Nalón river, in Asturias, and north of León. It has been taken as the model for the written language. Its area is defined by these traits:

– Feminine plurals ending in -es
– Monophthongization of /ou/ and /ei/ into /o/ and /e/.
– Presence of the neutral gender (neutro de materia 'neuter of matter')[24] in adjectives applied to uncountable nouns. Examples: lleche frío, carne tienro. This distinguishes it from the Western Asturian area.

Eastern Asturian

Eastern Asturian is a variant spoken between the Sella river and Llanes area, and the limit of Cabrales (Peñamellera Alta). This area is defined by the following traits:

Debuccalization of word-initial /f/ to [h] (represented in writing with ). Examples: ḥoguera, ḥacer, ḥigos, and ḥornu instead of foguera, facer, figos and fornu.
– Feminine plurals ending in -as. Examples: ḥabas, ḥormigas, ḥiyas. (except in the towns closest to the eastern bank Seya where -es is kept: ḥabes, ḥormigues, ḥiyes, etc.)
– Shifting of word-final -e to -i. Examples: xenti, tardi, ḥuenti.
– Retention of the neutral gender[24] in some areas, but with the ending -u instead of -o: agua friu, xenti güenu, ropa tendíu, carne guisáu, etc.
– Distinction between direct and indirect objects in first- and second-person singular pronouns (thus direct me and te vs. indirect mi and ti) in some municipalities (conceyos) bordering the Sella river. Examples: busquéte (a ti) y alcontréte/busquéti les llaves y alcontrétiles, llévame (a mi)/llévami la fesoria/h.osoria en carru.

Transitional varieties

The Asturian language forms a dialect continuum with Cantabrian to the east and with Eonavian to the west:

  • Cantabrian or Montañés: the dialect is spoken in Eastern Asturian and some zones of Cantabria: Valley of Pas and the Valley of Soba. Cantabrian was listed in the UNESCO Red Book of the World’s Languages in Danger in 2009, in the Astur-Leonese linguistic group as a definitely endangered language.[25]
  • Galician-Asturian or Eonavian: Controversy exists regarding the inclusion of Eonavian (spoken in the western end of Asturias, bordering Galicia) into the Galician language, as it has some traits in common with Western Asturian (spoken in the middle west of Asturias). There are those defending these linguistic varieties as dialects of transition to the Astur-Leonese group on the one hand, and those defending them as clearly Galician varieties on the other.

Linguistic description

Asturian belongs to Astur-Leonese linguistic group, which forms part of the Ibero-Romance languages, typologically and phylogenetically close to Galician-Portuguese, Castilian and less to Navarro-Aragonese. It's a typologically inflecting/Fusional language, head-initial and dependent-marking language and the basic order is SVO (declarative sentences without topicalization).


The transcript is consistent with the rules of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).


Asturian distinguishes five vowel phonemes according to three degrees of vowel openness (close, mid and open) and backness (front, central and back).

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d ʝ ɡ
Fricative f θ s ʃ
Nasal m n ɲ
Lateral l ʎ
Trill r
Tap ɾ


  • /b, d, ɡ/ may be lenited in certain environments.
  • /n/ is pronounced [ŋ] in coda position.
  • /ɡ/ is usually pronounced as a voiced fricative word-initially.


Since the earliest texts, the Latin alphabet was used in the Asturian language. In 1981, the Academia de la Llingua Asturiana (Academy of the Asturian Language) published its orthographic rules.[26] However, in the Terra de Miranda (Portugal) different spelling rules are used.

Asturian orthographic rules in reading and writing practice shows clearly the model pursued in the written language that can be summarized by saying that it is based on a five-vowel system units /a e i o u/ with three aperture degrees and double location. Similarly, it has the following consonant units: /p t tʃ k b d ʝ g f θ s ʃ m n ɲ l ʎ r ɾ/ . The model approaches to a written form where the phenomenon of -u metaphony is not frequent, nor the presence of decrescent diphthongs / ei, ou /, usually in the west area. Although they can be written, ḷḷ (che vaqueira, also represented formerly with spellings such as "ts") and the eastern aspiration (also represented as "h.") corresponding to ll and f don't appear in this model. Grammatically, the language offers triple gender distinction in the adjective, feminine plurals with -es, verb endings with -es, -en, -íes, íen, absence of compound tenses[26] (or periphrasis constructed with "tener", etc.).

The model is not arbitrary, since it is provided as a rather common possibility in former writers, although the focus on the central varieties is a fact, the written form does not considers any spoken dialect as a main model. In the same way, the development of any local variety is accepted. In addition, speech with which students are familiar is mindful in teaching, necessary condition to achieving a proper pedagogy.


Uppercase A B C D E F G H I L M N Ñ O P R S T U V X Y Z
Lowercase a b c d e f g h i l m n ñ o p r s t u v x y z
Name a be ce de e efe gue hache i ele eme ene eñe o pe erre ese te u uve xe ye zeta (*)
Phoneme /a/ /b/ /θ/, /k/ /d/ /e/ /f/ /ɡ/ /i/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /ɲ/ /o/ /p/ /r/, /ɾ/ /s/ /t/ /u/ /b/ /ʃ/, /ks/ /ʝ/ /θ/
  • (*) also zeda, ceda


Asturian also has several digraphs, some of which have their own names.
Digraph Name Phoneme
ch che /t͡ʃ/
gu (+ e, i) (gue u) /ɡ/
ll elle /ʎ/
qu (+ e, i) (cu u) /k/
rr erre doble /r/
ts (te ese) /t͡s/ (dialectal)
yy (ye doble) /ɟ͡ʝ/ (dialectal)

Dialectal spellings

Furthermore, the letter h and the digraph ll can have their sound changed to represent dialectal pronunciation by underdotting the letters, resulting and digraph ḷḷ
Normal Pronunciation Dotted Pronunciation Examples
ll /ʎ/ /t͡s/, /ɖʐ/, /ɖ/ and /ʈʂ/ ḷḷeite, ḷḷinu
h /h/, /x/ ḥou, ḥenu, ḥuera
  • The "" is commonly in the place names of Eastern Asturian, and in words that have the beginning in f in the rest of the linguistic domain,[27] while certain workarounds as h. and l.l were used in the past to solve the lack of the real characters for printing.


The grammar of Asturian resembles that of other Romance languages. Nouns have two genders (masculine and feminine), two numbers (singular and plural), and no cases. Adjectives can have a third gender (neuter), a grammatical phenomenon widely studied in the Asturian continuum and known as "matter-neutrality".[27] Verbs agree with their subjects in person (first, second, or third) and number, and additionally are conjugated to indicate mood (indicative, subjunctive, conditional, or imperative), tense (often present or past; different moods allow different possible tenses), and aspect (perfective or imperfective).[27]

Morphological features


Asturian is the only western Romance language that possesses three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.

  • 1. Masculine nouns usually end by -u and sometimes by -e or consonant: el tiempu ('the time, the weather'), l’home ('the man'), el pantalón ('the trousers'), el xeitu ('the way, the mode'), etc.
  • 2. Feminine nouns usually end by -a, but not always: la casa ('the house'), la xente ('the people'), la nueche ('the night').
  • 3. Neuter nouns can have any ending in the nouns. In fact, Asturian neuters are of three kinds:
    • Masculine neuters: they have a masculine form and take a masculine article: el fierro vieyo ('old iron').
    • Feminine neuters: they have a feminine form and take a feminine article: la lleche frío ('cold milk')
    • Pure neuters: they are not nouns but nominal groups with and adjective and neuters pronouns: lo guapo d’esti asuntu ye... ('the interesting [thing] of this issue is...')
Neuter is marked specially in the adjective. So most adjectives have three endings: -u (masc.), -a (fem.) and -o (neuter), which are respectively:
  • El vasu ta fríu ('the glass is cold'), tengo la mano fría ('my hand is cold'), l’agua ta frío ('the water is cold')

The use of neuter is rather complex in Asturian; anyway neuters nouns have no plural (except in some cases, where they are taken metaphorically, in which case the lose this gender, such as in les agües tán fríes (Waters are cold) or when you want to concretise an abstract noun:

  • Tien el pelo roxo ('his hair is red') is neuter but:
  • Tien un pelu roxu ('he’s got a red hair') is masculine. By the way, look at the change of ending in the noun). Neuters nouns refer to abstract, collective and uncountable nouns.

Singular and plural

The formation of plural is not simple at all. It is formed according to the following schedule:

  • Masculine nouns ending by -u-os: texu (yew) → texos
  • Feminine nouns ending by -a-es: vaca (cow) → vaques
  • Masculine or feminine nouns ending by consonant: zero → -es: animal (animal) → animales; xabón (soap) → xabones
  • Words end-ing in -z may take -os in masculine in order to distinguish the masculine plural from the feminine one: rapaz (boy) → rapazos; rapaza (girl) → rapaces.
  • Masculine nouns ending by -ín-inos: camín (way, path) → caminos. In this case the etymological vowel is re-established.
  • Feminine nouns ending by , -ada, -aes / -úes where the original etymo-logical vowel is re-established: ciudá (city) → ciudaes; cansada (tired fem.) → cansaes; virtú (virtue) → virtúes.


Its forms are:

Definite article
Singular Plural
masc. fem. neuter masc. fem.
Before cons el la lo los les
Before vowel l' la / l' *
Indefinite article
Singular Plural
masc. fem. masc. fem.
un una unos unes

*Only before words beginning by a-: l’aigla ('the eagle'), l’alma ('the soul'), but: la entrada ('the entry'), la islla ('the island').


The vast majority of the words of the Asturias, as the other Romance languages, come from the Latin:

ablana, agua, falar, güeyu, home, llibru, muyer, pesllar, pexe, prau, suañar.

To this Latin basis, we must add words that entered in the Asturian lexicon background, from languages spoken before the arrival of the Latin (Substratum) or after (superstratum). To the influence of substratum and superstratum are added subsequent loans from other languages.


There is very little information about the language of the ancient astures, although it is possible that it was related with two Indo-European languages: Celtic and Lusitanian. The words of the ancient astures or other pre–Indo-European languages spoken in this area, are grouped under the name of prelatinian substratum. Several examples are:
bedul, boroña, brincar, bruxa, cándanu, cantu, carrascu, comba, cuetu, güelga, llamuerga, llastra, llócara, matu, peñera, riega, tapín, zucar...
Also, many Celtic words were integrated into Latin, and later to the Asturian language.
bragues, camisa, carru, cerveza, sayu...


The languages that came after Latin, were very important in the development of the Asturian language. In this case, they were particularly important Germanisms and Arabisms:
  • Germanisms
The Germanic peoples who stood in the Iberian Peninsula, especially Goths and Suevi, added words to Asturian like:
blancu, esquila, estaca, mofu, serón, espetar, gadañu o tosquilar.
  • Arabisms
The Arabisms could reach Asturian language directly, through contacts between the Asturian domain speakers with Arabs, or Southern Peninsula. In other cases could reach through the Castilian language. Some examples:
acebache, alfaya, altafarra, bañal, ferre, galbana, mandil, safase, xabalín, zuna, zucre


The Asturian language also received much of its lexicon from languages as Castilian, French, Occitan or Galician. In order of importance, the Spanish forms are in the first place on the list of loans to the Asturian. However in some cases, due to the great closeness between Castilian and the Asturian is quite difficult to know if a word is borrowed from Castilian, a common result to both languages from Latin, or a loan of the same Asturian into Castilian. Some Castilian forms in Asturian are:
Castilian echar, antoxu, guerrilla, xamón, siesta, rexa, vainilla, xaréu...
Galician cachelos, chombada, quimada.
French arranchar, chalana, xófer, espáis, foina, galipote, malvís, pote, sable, somier, tolete, vagamar, xarré...
Occitan hostal, parrocha, tolla.
Evolution from Latin to Galician, Asturian, and Castilian
Latin[28] Galician[29] Asturian[30] Castilian
Diphthongation of Ŏ & Ĕ
PŎRTA(M) (door) porta puerta puerta
ŎCULU(M) (eye) ollo güeyu
TĔMPUS, TĔMPŎR- (time) tempo tiempu tiempo
TĔRRA(M) (land) terra tierra tierra
F- (initial position)
FACĔRE (to do) facer facer
FĔRRU(M) (iron) ferro fierru hierro
L- (initial position)
LĀRE(M) (home) lar llar
LŬPU(M) (wolf) lobo llobu
N- (initial position)
NATIVITĀTE(M) (Christmas) nadal nadal
Palatalization of PL-, CL-, FL-
PLĀNU(M) (plane) chan ḷḷanu
CLĀVE(M) (key) chave ḷḷave
FLĂMMA(M) (flame) chama ḷḷama
Rising diphthongs
CAUSA(M) (cause) cousa cousa
FERRARĬU(M) (smith) ferreiro ferreiru
Palatalization of -CT- y -LT-
FĂCTU(M) (fact) feito feitu
NŎCTE(M) (night) noite nueite
MŬLTU(M) (much) muito muncho mucho
AUSCULTĀRE (to listen) escoitar escuchar escuchar
Group -M'N-
HŎMINE(M) (man) home home hombre
FĂME(M) (hunger, famine) fame fame hambre
LŪMEN, LŪMĬN- (fire) lume llume
-L- intervocalic
GĚLU(M) (ice) xeo xelu hielo
FILICTU(M) (fern) fieito felechu helecho
CASTĚLLU(M) (castle) castelo castiellu
-N- intervocalic
RĀNA(M) (frog) ra rana rana
Group -LY-
MULĬERE(M) (woman) muller muyer mujer
Groups -C'L-, -T'L-, -G'L-
NOVACŬLA(M) (penknife) navalla navaya navaja
VETŬLU(M) (old) vello vieyu viejo
TEGŬLA(M) (tile) tella teya teja

Lexical comparison

Lord's Prayer

Asturian Galician Latin

Pá nuesu que tas nel cielu, santificáu seya'l to nome. Amiye'l to reinu, fágase la to voluntá, lo mesmo na tierra que'n cielu. El nuesu pan de tolos díes dánoslu güei ya perdónanos les nueses ofenses, lo mesmo que nós facemos colos que nos faltaron. Nun nos dexes cayer na tentación, ya llíbranos del mal. Amén.

Noso Pai que estás no ceo: santificado sexa o teu nome, veña a nós o teu reino e fágase a túa vontade aquí na terra coma no ceo. O noso pan de cada día dánolo hoxe; e perdóanos as nosas ofensas como tamén perdoamos nós a quen nos ten ofendido; e non nos deixes caer na tentación, mais líbranos do mal. Amén.

Pater noster, qui es in caelis, Sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, Sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem: Sed libera nos a malo. Amen


Primary and Secondary

Although Spanish (Castilian) is the official language used in all schools in Asturias, in many of them children are allowed to take Asturian language classes from the ages of 6 to 16. Optional classes are offered from ages 16 to 19. The Central area of Asturias (Nalón and Caudal comarcas), has the highest schooling in Asturian language, with almost 80% of students in primary, plus 30% in secondary.[31] Gijón/Xixón comarca, remains with percentages above 52% and 13% in Primary and Secondary zones are continuously growing as Oviedo/Uviéu, Eo-Navia and Oriente (Eastern comarca).

Development schooling in Asturian language.[32][33]


The current charter of the University of Oviedo expressly indicates in Article 6 that: “The University of Oviedo, due to its historical, social and economic links with the Principality of Asturias, will devote particular attention to the cultural aspects and collective interests of Asturias. The Asturian Language will be treated appropriately in accordance with legislation. Nobody will be discriminated against for using it”.[34]

In other words, Asturian can be used at the university in line with the Use of Asturian Act. However, practice shows that this is a minority activity and is preferred for subjects related to the philological study of Asturian (linguistic, socio-linguistic, educational, etc.). The Scientific Memoranda of the University show the increased presence of courses and scientific work that employ Asturian. In the courses based in the Department of Philology and Educational Sciences, there are distinct subjects[35] relating to the Asturian language that show an acceptance and demand among students.

Also, with the new Bologna process people will be able to study Asturian Philology in the same way as Spanish Philology [2], and school-teachers will be able to do a speciality in the Asturian language. But these two possibilities can only be studied in the University of Oviedo.


Many internet pages use the Asturian language; Government[36] the council's pages, blogs,[37] music groups' pages, Social networking services[38] and more.

There is also much Free Software in Asturian. For example, Ubuntu offers Asturian as a full operating system language.[39][40] Also Debian and Fedora are offered in asturian language. Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, VLC, GNOME, Chromium, KDE, are also offered in Asturian. (...see more [3])

Dictionaries and Translators

  • Diccionariu de la Academia de la Llingua Asturiana / Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Asturian Language
  • Diccionario General de la lengua asturiana (Asturian — Spanish)
  • Eslema, Asturian online translator

See also


  1. ^ Asturian at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ a b "Asturian in Asturias in Spain". Database for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Public Foundation for European Comparative Minority Research. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Asturian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ "Asturian". Unabridged. Random House, Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Art. 1 de la Ley 1/1998, de 23 de marzo, de uso y promoción del bable/asturiano/Law 1/93, of March 23, on the Use and Promotion of the Asturian Language.
  6. ^ Ethnologue report for Asturian
  7. ^
  8. ^ See: Euromosaic report
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Bauske 1995
  12. ^ PROEL Report
  13. ^ Llera Ramo 1994
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b page 16
  17. ^
  18. ^ Los refranes o proverbios en Romance, Hernán Nuñez, pag 12 This document has got a unique reference, supposedly in Asturian: "Quien passa por Ruycande y no bebe, o muere de hambre, o no ha sede" Who passes through Ruycande Village and do not drink, or starves or don not have thirst", Hernán Nunez, Refranes o Proverbios en romance que coligio y gloso el comenadador Hernán Nunez, professor de retorica y griego en la Universidad de Salamanca, Lerida, año 1621, p. 81.
  19. ^ About the character of this literature the Swedish philologist Åke W:son Munthe on 1868 notes the following: "it seems to subsist in this literature an arbitrary mixture of Castilian language elements. This literary production -after a long century of copy and paste and finally because of the editor's final review- seems to be shown in nowadays in a very confusing way. For that reason, we must appoint to Reguera as the author of this literature, that I could call 'bable'. All the later authors, at least from a linguistic point of view, all of them come from his literature archaizing. Naturally, some of these authors take elements of their respective local dialects, and often, also, with others languages, that in some way or another, could have got in contact, as well as of a Spanish language mixture, affected by the 'bable' or not. This literature in 'bable' cannot be considered as a literary language, because have not got any unified body, at least from a linguistic point of view... what in any case, as in whatever other dialects, seems doomed to extinction". Ake W:son Munthe, Anotaciones sobre el habla popular del occidente de AsturiasUpsala 1887, reedition, Publisher Service of the Oviedo University, 1987, p. 3.
  20. ^ Catalog of publications in 2011
  21. ^ Decretu 98/2002, de 18 de xunetu pel que s'establez el procedimientu de recuperación y afitamientu de la toponimia asturiana
  22. ^ Xunta asesora de Toponimia. 38/2002, de 4 d'abril, pel que se regula la Xunta Asesora de Toponimia del Principau d'Asturies
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b Xulio Viejo Fdz. Univerdad de Oviedo Based on a work of ANDRÉS DIAZ, R. 1993: "Emplegu del neutru n'asturianu", Lletres Asturianes 49, págs.49–84, IDEM 1994: "Aspeutos morfolóxicos del neutru n'asturianu", Editorial Complutense, Madrid, págs. 9–30, IDEM 1998: "Concordancias y referencias neutras en asturiano", Atti del XX/Congresso Internaziomale di Linguistica e Filologia Romanza (Palermo 18–24 settembre 1995), Max Niemeyer, Tübingen, v.II, págs. 39–47.
  25. ^ UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, where Cantabrian is listed in the Astur-Leonese linguistic group.
  26. ^ a b Normes ortográfiques de la Llingua Asturiana
  27. ^ a b c Academia de la Llingua Asturiana, Gramática de la Llingua Asturiana, tercera edición, Oviedo: Academia de la Llingua Asturiana (2001), ISBN 84-8168-310-8,
  28. ^ Segura Munguía, Santiago (2001). Nuevo diccionario etimológico latín-español y de las voces derivadas. Universidad de Deusto.  
  29. ^ Seminario de Lexicografía (1990). Diccionario da lingua galega. Real Academia Gallega.  
  30. ^ Diccionariu de la llingua asturiana. Academia de la Lengua Asturiana. 2000.  
  31. ^ (2006)
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ - Estatutos Universidades
  35. ^ Conocimiento global de la realidad la lengua asturiana, de su unidad e independencia al margen de los fenómenos de variación interna y de su integración en el marco hispano-románico, a partir de un enfoque esencialmente histórico y diacrónico.
  36. ^ Government of the Principality of Asturias – Official Website
  37. ^ Blog Channel in Asturian language
  38. ^ Social networking service in Asturian
  39. ^
  40. ^ Stats of Translations in Ubuntu 12.10


  • (Spanish) Llera Ramo, F. (1994) Los Asturianos y la Lengua Asturiana: Estudio Sociolingüístico para Asturias-1991. Oviedo: Consejería de Educación y Cultura del Principado de Asturias ISBN 84-7847-297-5.
  • Wurm, Stephen A. (ed) (2001) Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing. Unesco ISBN 92-3-103798-6.
  • (English) M.Teresa Turell (2001). Multilingualism in Spain: Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Aspects of Linguistic Minority Groups. ISBN 1-85359-491-1
  • (English) Mercator-Education (2002): European Network for Regional or Minority Languages and Education. "The Asturian language in education in Spain" ISSN 1570-1239

External links

  • Academia de la Llingua Asturiana – the official Asturian language academy
  • Dirección Xeneral de Política Llingüística del Gobiernu del Principáu d'Asturies – Bureau of Asturian Linguistic Politics (Government of the Principality of Asturias)
  • Asturian grammar in English
  • Asturian–English dictionary
  • Xunta pola Defensa de la Llingua Asturiana
  • Real Instituto de Estudios Asturianos – Royal Institute of Asturian Studies (RIDEA or IDEA), founded 1945.
  • A short Asturian–English–Japanese phrasebook incl. sound file
  • Aconceyamientu de Xuristes pol Asturianu The Advisory Council of Lawyers for Asturian
  • II Estudiu Sociollingüísticu d'Asturies (2002)
  • Diccionariu de la Academia de la Llingua Asturiana / Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Asturian Language
  • Diccionario General de la lengua asturiana (Asturian — Spanish)
  • Eslema, Asturian online translator
  • «Asturiano» en PROEL
  • Dirección Xeneral de Política Llingüística del Gobiernu del Principáu d'Asturies.
  • Proyecto Eslema, "Eslema" Project for the creation of corpus Asturian language domain
  • Conferencia sobre socioligüística asturiana impartida por el profesor de la Universidad de Oviedo Ramón d'Andrés en el Instituto Cervantes (Madrid. 2010)
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