The Aragonese Dialect (Aragonés)
The Northern area of Aragón was largely dominated by pre-Roman division such as the Basques, the ‘cerretanos’ and other tribes although further to the South there was less linguistic diversity and more interaction between valleys and villages etc. In 1076, it annexed Navarra. In 1118 the Pyreneen Reino was invaded by the Francos who brought with them their own dialect and were clearly to have a considerable impact on the habla of the region. However in 1137, marriage Aragón united with Castile, and it went on to incorporate (12th-15th centuries) areas like Valencia and Majorca as well as several French fiefdoms, thus introducing a wide variety of linguistic influences. At that time Latin was the only ‘official’, written language and the people spoke a wide variety of local dialects called ‘Latin vulgar’.
It is not until the 12th Century that any texts are written entirely in romance and between then and the 13th Century, Menéndez Pidal and Lapesa maintain that there was a "propensión espontánea del dialecto". This was strengthened by Catalán and other outside influences.
It left several distinct dialectical traits:
eg. ‘caballeru’ not ‘caballero’
eg. ‘arrigo’ (río)
eg. ‘spuanna’ pronounced ‘sponda’
In the 11th and 12th Centuries these were constantly shifting trends, especially in the case of the apocope of the final vowel. In around 1436, records began to kept of tolls paid to the kingdom which provide considerable linguistic information.
Can identify several features of language at that time:
After this stage ‘castellanización’ of the region was rapid although influences from Catalan and France were still present.
Specific linguistic differences between Standard Spanish and the Aragonese dialect
-cáñamo ("hemp") in Spanish becomes cañámo
-hígado ("liver") becomes higádo.
-tejedor becomes tisidor
-madeja becomes madesa
"S" can also replace the "g" sound:
-gente becomes sen.
The "j" or "g" sounds can also be commonly replaced by the sound "ch":
(See Alvar pg. 278 and Zamora Vicente, pg. 223).
Alvar also states that UA is very scarce:
The dipthong IA is heard where one would normally hear an "e":
However, the dipthong IE is still frequently seen, mainly in the suffix –iello/a:
There is, according to Alvar, survival of the dipthongation of the short vowel "o" into "ue":
There is also dipthongation of "e" in its own into "ie", examples seen in the verb forms:
-tiengo, retienga, devienga etc (see Zamora Vicente, pg. 218).
Examples of the removal of "o" after the consonant "l":
Examples of the removal of "o" after the consonant "n":
In Ribagorza, pl, cl and fl can become pll, cll and fll; for example the verb "plloure" seen in the east of Huesca.
Indeed, "p" appears to replace the Castilian "b"- cabeza-capeza, "t" replaces "d"- ayudar-ayutar, and "c" replaces "g"-murciélago-murciacálo.
Ll can also replace "ch": -cuchara-cullar.
When a word ends in "t" and would be "ts" in the plural, the dialect changes this to a "z" instead:
The variants esa, eso are used further in the south. In Benasque in the North, there is also astó, asó and alló, and in Bielsa there is ise, ises, isa, isas.
The Aragonese Language
It is principally an oral language and is largely confined to the high valleys of the Pyrenees, as shown in the map below. The only towns to have over 1,000 speakers are Sabiñánigo and Graus.
There are 11,000 active speakers – of whom 500 are elderly monolinguals
20,000 people use it as a second language
(Based on 1989 survey ‘El aragonés hoy’)
It is protected indirectly in the Estatuto de Autonomía de Aragón, artículo 7:
"las diversas modalidades lingüísticas de Aragón gozarán de protección
como elementos integrantes de su patrimonio cultural e histórico".
This refers not only to the Aragonés of the high Pyreness but also to the Catalán of the Franja (the border area between Cataluña and Aragón) which is spoken by around 40,000 people.
Attempts were made in the 1960s to revitalise the language and normalise its written use but they were met with scant support or interest. However in 1976 the ‘Consell da Fabla Aragonesa’ was established (in Huesca) which has managed to make some progress in improving awareness and has organised courses for ‘alphabetización’. The normalised written standard is only slowly being accepted.
There are 5 magazines and 6 local organisations which operate in and around Huesca but there is little presence elsewhere and only a small amount of information available on the internet. Road signs are in Aragonés in the high Pyrenees around Huesca. However Aragonés has not been adopted as a cause by any political party.
There are four variants of Aragonés spoken in Aragón, as well as Catalán and Castilian. The map below shows the six main zones. The Eastern and Central varieties form the basis for the written standard that has been developed.
Below is a guide to some of the differences between the varieties of the language:
Zone 1 = Western Aragonés the articles used are ‘o’ and ‘a’ / ‘lo’ and ‘la’
the participles are ‘–au’ and ‘–iu’
Zone 2 = Central Aragonés the articles used are ‘o’ and ‘a’ / ‘lo’ and ‘la’
the l is pronounced with an ‘/r/ simple’ – for example:
'lo' pronounced 'ro' and 'la' as 'ra'
the participles are ‘-ato’ and ‘-ito’
Zone 3 = Eastern Aragonés the articles are ‘el’, ‘la’, ‘es’ and ‘las’
the participles are ‘-au’ and ‘-iu’
the final ‘r’ is lost in pronunciation – for example:
'fe' instead of 'fer'
the initial ‘l’ is palatized - ‘pl’, ‘fl’ and ‘cl’ for example:
‘plorar’ is pronounced ‘pljorá’ (NB: loss of final ‘r’)
Zone 4 = Meridian Aragonés the articles are ‘o’ and ‘a’
the participles are ‘-au’ and ‘-iu’
the most castilianised version of all the variants
Zone 5 = Catalán speaking Franja Zone 6 = Castilian speaking area