Extremaduran language

Native toSpain
Castile and León (southern Salamanca province)
EthnicityExtremadurans (1.1 million)[1]
Native speakers
(200,000 cited 1994)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ext
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An Extremaduran speaker, recorded in the Netherlands.

Extremaduran (Extremaduran: estremeñu [eʰtːɾeˈmeɲʊ], Spanish: extremeño) is a group of vernacular Romance dialects, related to the Asturleonese language, spoken in Extremadura and adjoining areas in the province of Salamanca.[3][4] It is difficult to establish the exact boundary between Extremaduran and the Spanish varieties spoken in most of Extremadura.


The linguistic varieties of Extremadura are usually classified in three main branches: Northern or "High" (artu estremeñu), Central or "Middle" (meyu estremeñu), and Southern or "Low" (baju estremeñu).[4] The northern branch is usually considered to be the language proper,[5] and is spoken in the north-west of the autonomous region of Extremadura, and the south-west of Salamanca, a province of the autonomous region of Castile and León. The central and southern branches are spoken in the rest of Extremadura, and are not different enough from standard Spanish to be considered anything but dialects of the language, since at least the 18th century.

Northern Extremaduran is also spoken in a few villages of southern Salamanca, being known there as the "palra d'El Rebollal", which is now almost extinct.


The late 19th century saw the first serious attempt to write in Extremaduran, until then an oral language,[6] with the poet José María Gabriel y Galán. Born in Salamanca, he lived most of his life in the north of Cáceres, Extremadura. He wrote in a local variant of Extremaduran, full of dialectal remains, but always with an eye on Spanish usage.

After that, localisms are the pattern in the attempts to defend the Extremaduran language to the extent that today only a few people are trying to revive the language and make northern Extremadura a bilingual region,[7] whereas the government and official institutions seem to think the best solution is for northwestern Extremadurans to speak a Castilian dialect without any kind of protection.[8]

There are also attempts to transform the southern Castilian dialects ("castúo", as some people named them using the word which appeared in Luis Chamizo Trigueros's poems) into a language, which makes it even harder to defend High Extremaduran, considered more frequently a "real" language and makes it easier for the administration to reject co-officiality and the normalisation of Extremaduran.[9] It is in serious danger of extinction, with only the oldest people speaking it at present, while most of the Extremaduran population ignores the language, since the majority of Extremadurans, and even its own speakers, regard it as a poorly spoken Spanish.[10]

In 2013, the people of Serradilla created the first feature film in Extremaduran, Territoriu de bandolerus.


  • Features related to Astur-Leonese:
    • Post-tonic o becomes u, e.g. oru [ˈoɾu] 'gold'.
    • Post-tonic e becomes i, e.g. calli [ˈkaʎi] or [ˈkaʝi] 'street'.
    • Latin word-final e, chiefly after d, is not lost, e.g. redi [ˈreði] 'net'.
    • Some cases of palatalization of word-initial n, e.g. ñíu [ˈɲiu] 'nest'.
    • Conservation of the consonantic group mb in intermediate position, e.g. lambel [lamˈbel] 'to lick'.
    • Frequent conservation of word-initial [h] derived from a Latin f-. This consonant is lost in most Spanish varieties, but is common with much of Andalusia, e.g. higu [ˈhiɣu] 'fig'.
    • Occasional conservation of word-initial f, e.g. fogal [foˈɣal] 'home, hearth'.
  • Features related to southern peninsular Spanish:
    • General loss of intervocalic d, e.g. mieu [ˈmjeu] 'fear'.
    • Debuccalization of post-vocalic /s/, /ks/ and /θ/ into [ʰ] (s-aspiration), e.g. estal [ɛʰtˈtal] 'to be'.
  • Other features:
    • Infinitives in -l, e.g. dil [ˈdil] 'to go'.
    • Metathesis of the consonant cluster rl into lr, e.g. chalral [tʃalˈral] 'to talk'.
    • Occasional interchange of the liquid consonants l/r, e.g. craru [ˈkɾaɾu] 'clear'.[11]
    • Preservation of some old voiced fricatives, such as some instances of [ð] corresponding to [z] in Portuguese or [θ] corresponding to [s] in Portuguese (both corresponding to /θ/ in Spanish). This feature is an archaism preserved from Old Spanish or Old Astur-Leonese, as it happens only when it is etymologically justified. When a voiced fricative appears, one also does in languages such as Catalan or Portuguese: Extremaduran tristeza [triʰtˈteða] 'sadness' (still voiced in Portuguese tristeza [tɾiʃˈtezɐ], voice lost in Spanish tristeza [trisˈteθa]), but Extremaduran cabeça [kaˈβeθa] 'head' (voiceless also in Portuguese cabeça [kɐˈβesɐ], Spanish cabeza [kaˈβeθa]). The feature is dying out quite fast but is found all over the High Extremaduran speaking area.


  • Anteposition of the article before the possessive pronoun, as in Old Spanish or in many Romance languages such as Leonese, Portuguese, Catalan or Italian.
  • Anteposition of the particle lu (or lo), in some interrogative sentences.
  • Use of diminutives inu and ina, as heritage from Leonese (as in Portuguese).
  • Occasional formation of gerund, derived from a form of the verb in past tense.
  • Usage of a vocative-exclamative case. When nouns are in the vocative, the closing of post-tonic vowels (e into i and o into u) disappears and those vowels open. El Ramiru quíi venil (Ramiro wants to come), but Ramiro, ven pacá (Ramiro, come here!). Sé quién lo vidu, Pepi (I know who saw it, Pepe did), but Sé quién lo vidu, Pepe (I know who saw it, Pepe). This is a characteristic shared with the Fala language. Extremaduran and the Fala language are actually the only western Romance languages with a distinct form of vocative case for nouns formed with a change in the ending.
  • Usage of the preposition a with the verbs andal and estal indicating static temporal location, contrasting with the usage of en. Está a Caçris "He's in Cáceres (for a few days)", Está en Caçris "He's in Cáceres", Está pa Caçris "He's around Cáceres".
  • A very frequent usage of deictic forms to which enclitic pronouns can be added at the end. They can be used in the middle of a sentence: Velaquí la mi casa (Here is my house), velallilu (there he is), Paquí se curtivan velaquí lechugas, millu... (Look, lettuce, corn and so on is grown here).
  • Usage of reduplicated forms of plural pronouns with a reciprocal sense (ellus y ellus, vujotrus y vujotrus...): Estaban brucheandu ellus y ellus: They were wrestling with each other.


  • Usage of terms considered in Spanish as archaisms: ludia (Spanish levadura, "yeast").
  • Presence of common terms from Andalusian Arabic: zagal (from Andalusian Arabic zaḡál, "boy").

Comparative tables

Latin Italian Romanian Catalan Gascon Spanish Judezmo Portuguese Galician Extremaduran Leonese English
altus alto (în)alt alt haut alto alto alto alto artu [11] altu high/tall
quasi quasi (aproape) quasi quasi casi kaji quase case cuasi, abati cuasi almost
dicere dire zice dir díser decir [deˈθir] dizir dizer dicir izil [iˈðil] dicire to say
facere fare face fer har hacer


(f)azer fazer facer hazel [haˈðel] facere to do
focus fuoco foc foc huec fuego fuego,huego fogo fogo hueu fueu fire
flamma fiamma (flamă) flama ehlama llama yama chama chama flama chama flame
legere leggere (citi) llegir léger leer meldar ler ler leel lliere to read
lingua lingua limbă llengua lengua lengua elguenga língua lingua luenga/léngua llingua tongue
lumbum lombo ((zona) lombară) llom lom lomo lombo lombo lombo lombu llombu loin
mater madre (mamă) mare mair madre madre mãe nai mairi mai mother
merula merlo mierlă merla mèrlo mirlo melro merlo mielru mielru blackbird
monstrare mostrare mustra mostrar muishar mostrar amostrar mostrar mostrar muestral amuesare to show
noster nostro nostru nostre noste nuestro muestro,muesho nosso noso muestru/nuestru nuesu ours
tussis tosse tuse tos tos tos toz tosse tose tossi tose cough

* The words in this table refer only to High Extremaduran.

** Extremaduran words in this table are spelled according to Ismael Carmona García's orthography.


There is a regional organization in Extremadura, OSCEC Estremaúra,[12] that tries to defend the language, one journal (Belsana) and one cultural newspaper, Iventia,[13] written in the new unified Extremaduran and the old dialect "palra d'El Rebollal".

Textual example

Extremaduran Leonese Asturian Galician Andalusian dialect Spanish English
El estremeñu es una luenga palrá nel noroesti de la comuniá autónoma d'Estremaúra. L'estremennu yía una llingua falada nel noruesti la comunidá autónoma Estremadura. L'estremeñu ye una llingua falada nel noroeste de la comunidá autónoma d'Estremadura. O estremeño é unha lingua falada no noroeste da comunidade autónoma de Estremadura. El êttremeño êh una lengua ablá en er noroêtte de la comunidá autónoma de Êttremadura. El extremeño es una lengua hablada en el noroeste de la comunidad autónoma de Extremadura. Extremaduran is a language spoken in the northwest of the autonomous community of Extremadura.


See also


  1. ^ Extremaduran at Ethnologue (13th ed., 1996).
  2. ^ Extremaduran at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  3. ^ Extremaduran language at Ethnologue (20th ed., 2017)
  4. ^ a b "Lengua Extremeña". Proel.
  5. ^ Españolsinfronteras
  6. ^ Congrese about the Extremaduran language[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Gutierro Rodriguez, Bienvenido (2008-03-17), "En defensa del habla extremeña", Hoy (in Spanish)
  8. ^ Viudas Camarasa, Antonio (2008). "Agenda de APLEX" (Interview). Interviewed by Concha Llamazares.
  9. ^ González Salgado, José Antonio (2003). "La conciencia lingüística de los hablantes extremeños". In C. Alemany Bay (ed.). Actas del Congreso Internacional "La lengua, la Academia, lo popular, los clásicos, los contemporáneos...". 2. pp. 725–735. ISBN 84-7908-731-5. Archived from the original on 2003-04-18.
  10. ^ Congrese about the Extremaduran in Serradilla
  11. ^ a b Ismael Carmona García's dictionary 2005 Izionariu castellanu-estremeñu
  12. ^ see "OSCEC Estremaúra".
  13. ^ see "Inventia".

External links

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