How many people speak Asturian

Asturian language

The Asturian or Asturian language (astur. asturianu or bable, span. asturiano or bable) is a language that belongs to the Asturleonese subgroup of the Ibero-Romance languages ​​and is spoken in most of the Asturias region of northern Spain.

Language names

In Asturias, the language is generally called Asturian (astur. asturianu, span. asturiano) or as bable The latter term is widely used in colloquial language, but is perceived by some as pejorative and therefore rejected. In circles calling for the official recognition of the language in Asturias, the name is almost exclusively used Asturian common.

The designation Asturleonese or Asturian-Leonese (astur. asturllionés, span. asturleonés) comes from Romance linguistics and is used in scientific publications as an overarching term for the entirety of the related varieties of Asturian, Leonesian and Mirandesian, but is not used as a self-term.


Asturian-Leonese is part of a dialect continuum that encompasses all Ibero-Romance varieties in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. The Asturleonese varieties pass into the Castilian (Spanish) ones in the east and south-east and the Galician and Portuguese ones in the west. Overall, the similarities with Spanish are greater than those with Galician-Portuguese.

Due to these numerous similarities with Spanish on the one hand and the fact that for a long time there was no standardized written Asturian-Leonese language, but instead Spanish was used in this function, Asturian-Leonese was generally regarded as a dialect of the Spanish language in the older Romance languages. The classification as a Spanish dialect also corresponded to the previously widespread self-perception of the speakers of their language as somehow "corrupted" Spanish.

The finding of historical-comparative Romance linguistics that Asturian-Leonese, like the other varieties in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, arose directly from the local Vulgar Latin - in contrast to the varieties spoken in the south of the peninsula, from the forms brought there by the Reconquista of Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan - led to the fact that Asturian-Leonese is now regarded in comparative Romance linguistics as one of the 5 Romance dialect groups of the Iberian Peninsula that still exist today (alongside Galician-Portuguese, Castilian, Aragonese and Catalan) and thus in this context is placed on the same level as Spanish / Castilian.

Representatives of Asturian regionalism, who are working on the codification of the written language norms of Asturian and who are demanding its official recognition, emphasize the independence of the Asturian language and classify it as a "Spanish dialect" - also referring to this knowledge of Romance linguistics. regarded as a consequence of the marginalization of the language by the long-standing political and cultural centralism of the Spanish state.


Asturian is spoken in most of the Asturias region; The exception is the area on the border with Galicia, where transitional dialects between Asturian and Galician are spoken. Especially in the larger cities, however, Castilian (Spanish) has recently spread not only as a second but also as a first language, so that part of the population there no longer speaks Asturian. In total, around 450,000 people (44.4% of the total population) speak Asturian in Asturias.

For some varieties in the west of Asturias it is disputed whether they can be assigned to the Asturian or the Galician.


The native speakers of Asturian generally speak their local variety.

Since the 1970s and 1980s, a written language standard for Asturian based on the dialects of Central Asturias has been developed in the Asturias region.

The requirement for official recognition of the language has so far only been met to a limited extent (in the school system and at the local level in some municipalities). However, the official language of the Asturias region is only Spanish.

Some preschool and elementary schools use the language as a medium of instruction. In the primary and secondary level, Asturian is offered as an elective.

There are no television programs in Asturian. Radio programs are more common. There is a weekly newspaper in Asturian, "Les Noticies". Other newspapers publish extracts in Asturian. A few magazines are published in Asturian.


There are three main dialects with numerous subdivisions. The Western Asturian (asturiano occidental) shares traits with Galician-Portuguese and is the most conservative. The Central Asturian (asturiano central; spoken in the area of ​​Oviedo and Gijón in Asturias) has the most speakers and is the basis for the current attempt at standardization in Asturias. The Ostasturian (asturiano oriental) has many features in common with Castilian and, through gradual assimilation in many places, is on the point of becoming a Castilian dialect in the narrower sense.


  • The final -e and -o are (often) closed to -i and -u (este >> esti, mundo >> mundiu)
  • The initial is further palatalized and further affected in the asturiano occidental)
    • lat. luna, German moon
      • asturiano oriental: lluna
      • asturiano central: lluna
      • asturiano occidental: l.luna
  • Metaphony: The ending -i and -u influence the tone vowel, so that e> i and o> u. (leche >> llechi >> llichi; pelo >> pelu >> pilu; negro >> negru >> nigru; fresnu >> frisnu)
  • The final -e is omitted after r, n, l, s (quiere >> quier; sale >> sal; cose >> cues / cos; conoce >> conoz)
  • Final -as, -ais, -an change to -es, -eis, -en (factual omission of the subjuntivo)
  • Final -ino, -ito change to -ín (Juanito >> Xuanín; camino >> camín)
  • In the case of the final -ado / -edo / -ido the intervocal -d- (Oviedo >> Uviéu; todo >> todu >> tou) is omitted
  • Intervowel -g- can be omitted (fuego >> fueu / fou, lago >> llau)
  • Latin l- and intervowel -ll- can be realized in different ways
    1. lluna, castiellu
    2. l.luna,
  • Latin initial n- and intervowel -nn- can be used in different ways
    1. ñavaya (cast. navaja), cabaña (cast. cabaña) (from Latin novaculum and capannam)
    2. navaya, cabana
  • In the case of a secondary consonant sequence, the first consonant changes to (Latin dubitam >> dubda >> dulda; Latin cubitum >> cobdo >> coldu / culdu; Latin septimana >> setmana >> selmana)
  • lat. ge, ie- becomes
    • lat. gelum (acc.), German ice
      • asturiano oriental: xelu
      • asturiano central: xelu
      • asturiano occidental: xelu
      • castellano: hielo
    • lat. iactare >> iaitar >> ieitar, German to throw
      • asturiano oriental: xetar (monophthongization)
      • asturiano central: xetar (monophthongization)
      • asturiano central: xeitar
  • neutro de materia: Adjectives can take a neutral form (-o) for neutrals or collectives. The nouns remain in their masculine or feminine gender
    • el mozu ricu, la moza rica, la xente / xenti rico
    • el vasu fríu, la carra fría, el maíz guapo or la fueya seco
  • Diphthongization and monophthongization: Starting from spoken Latin, diphthongization and monophthongization take place. Diphthongization and monophthongization are typical of the asturiano central (Central Asturian) and asturiano oriental (East Asturian). In the asturiano occidental (Western Asturian), on the other hand, the Latin vowel is retained.
    • Latin ferrum (acc.), German iron
      • asturiano oriental: here
      • asturiano central: fierru
      • asturiano occidental: ferru
      • castellano: hierro
    • lat. ovum (acc.), German egg
      • asturiano oriental: güevu
      • asturiano central: güevu
      • asturiano occidental: ovu
      • castellano: huevo
      • Remarks:
        1. For the asturiano or. & c. The orthographic rule applies: at the beginning of the word is replaced by the prosthesis
        2. The orthographic rule applies to Castilian: is prefixed with at the beginning of the word
    • lat. est, dt. he / she / it is
      • asturiano orienal: yes
      • asturiano central: yes
      • asturiano occidental: it
      • Remarks:
        1. The castellano usually diphthongs the accented Latin. makes an exception here. Asturiano or. & c. diphthong consistently (orthographic rule: the diphthong at the beginning of a word is orthographically expressed as ), asturiano occidental consistently does not diphthong.
    • Latin hodie, German today
      • asturiano oriental: hoi
      • asturiano central: hoi
      • asturiano occidental: güei
      • castellano: hoy

Language examples

As a language comparison that Our Father in the three varieties and Spanish:

Asturian (western dialect): Pai nuesu que tás en cielu, sentificáu seya'l tou nome. Amiye'l tou reinu, fáigase la túa voluntá lu mesmu na tierra comu'n cielu. El nuesu pan de tolus días dánuslu guoi ya perdónamus las nuesas ofensas lu mesmu que nós facemus conus que mus faltoren. Ya nun mus deixes cayere na tentación ya llíbramus del mal. Amen.

Asturian (central dialect):

Padre nuesu que tas en cielu, santificáu seya'l to nome. Amiye'l to reinu, fáigase la to voluntá lo mesmo na tierra qu'en cielu. El nuesu pan de tolos díes dánoslo güei y perdónamos les nueses ofenses lo mesmo que nós facemos colos que mos faltaren. Y now mos dexes cayer na tentación, y llíbramos del mal. Amen.

Asturian (Eastern dialect):

Padre nuestru que tas en cielu, santificáu seya'l tu nome. Amiye'l tu reinu, h.ágase la tu voluntá lu mesmu ena tierra qu'en cielu. El nuestru pan de tolus días dánuslu güei y perdónanus las nuestras tentaciones lu mesmu que nosotros h.acemus colus que nus faltaren. Y now nus dexes cayer ena tentación, y líbranus del mal. Amen.


Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga do Reino. Hágase tu voluntad, así en la tierra como en el cielo. El pan nuestro de cada día, dánosle hoy y perdónanos nuestras deudas, así como nosotros perdonamos a nuestros deudores. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, mas líbranos del mal. Amen.


  • Bernd Bauske: Asturian language planning: the standardization and normalization of a small Romance language in the field of tension between linguistics, literature and politics. - 1st edition - Berlin: Köster, 1995 (Scientific publication series Romance Studies; Vol. 1). - Zugl .: Mainz, Univ., Diss., 1994. ISBN 3-89574-057-8
  • Günter Holtus, Michael Metzeltin, Christian Schmitt (edd.): Dictionary of Romance Linguistics (LRL), Tübingen, Niemeyer, 1988-2005 (12 volumes); Volume VI, 1: Aragonese / Navarre, Spanish, Asturian / Leonese, 1992.

Web links

Sister projects in Asturian
Wikipedia- the free encyclopedia in Asturian
Wiktionary- the free Asturian dictionary
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