Leonese language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

León , Zamora ( Spain )
speaker 20,000–50,000 (2008)
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Linguistic map Southwestern Europe-II.gif

The Leonese language ( Leonese llionés ) is a language of the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family and forms the Ibero- Romance language branch with Spanish , Portuguese , Catalan and other languages ​​of the Iberian Peninsula . Together with Asturian, it belongs to the Asturleonese dialect continuum; the Mirandesische can be considered part of the Leonese.

Leonese is spoken in the Spanish provinces of León and Zamora. In the new statute of autonomy of the autonomous community of Castile-León , to which the aforementioned provinces belong, Leonese is recognized as a cultural asset that is particularly worthy of protection, without attaining the status of an official language. According to UNESCO , the Leonese is critically endangered.

Internal language history

As a derivative of Vulgar Latin , the Leonese language has undergone fewer changes compared to the neighboring languages ​​Spanish and Asturian.

Among the phenomena by which the vulgar Latin hereditary vocabulary became Leonese words are the following sound developments:

  • Palatalization of lat. [N] and [l]:
    • lupus> llobu 'wolf'
    • nubes> ñube 'cloud'
  • Sonorisation (change in voicing):
    • lacus> llagu 'lake'
  • Diphthongization of Latin [o] and [e] under certain conditions:
    • morior> muerru '(I) die'
    • centum> cientu 'hundred'
    • februarius> febreiru 'February'
  • Latin group / pl- /, / cl- /, / fl- / gives [ʃ]:
    • plovere> chovere (rain)
    • clamare> chamare (to call)
    • flamma> chama (flame)

External language history

The Leonese language developed in the west of the Iberian Peninsula from Vulgar Latin, which was spoken by the Romanized Asturians who settled near the garrison town of the Seventh Roman Legion ( Legio VII Gemina ). The separation from the other Ibero-Romance languages began after the collapse of the Roman Empire and with the founding of the Christian Kingdom of León and under the influence of südasturischen substrates and subsequent Suebian , Visigoth and Mozarabic superstrate .

The " Nodicia de Kesos ", the first document in an Iberoromanic forerunner of Leonese, dates to the year 959. The Leonese language became literary and court language from the 10th century. The law books of most Leonese cities such as León , Zamora , Toro , Castelo Rodrigo , Ledesma or Salamanca as well as the city and notary documents of the Leonese Middle Ages are written in this relatively uniform language. In the 14th century, Leonese was the lingua franca along the Vía de la Plata, which stretched for hundreds of kilometers in a north-south direction. Modern Leonese developed from the medieval chancellery and court language, Old Leonese.

From the 15th century, and especially after the unification of the kingdoms of León and Castile , Leonese lost its function as a linguistic and court language in favor of Castilian. However, the language was able to persist for a long time among the peasant population of the Leonese cities, as a document from the 17th century from the area around Salamanca shows.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Leonese-speaking area comprised the western and northern rural areas of today's provinces of León and Zamora. Nowadays, Leonese is spoken in the north, west and center of the province of León and in the west of the Zamora province.

The sociolinguistic situation of Leonese has improved in recent years: since 2006, Leonese courses have been held in the provincial capitals and in numerous cities in the province of León, supported by the municipalities and provincial administrations. Music is being played in Leonese again, and Leonese has been introduced into the state school curriculum in the city of León.


In the Leonese language there are only three vowels that can be found at the end of the word (a, e, u).

Sound shifts to other Romance languages

Latin Leonese Spanish Portuguese Italian German
fumus fumu humo fumo fumo smoke
filius fiyu hijo filho figlio son
oculus gueyu ojo olho occhio eye
vetulus vieyu viejo velho vecchio old


  • Emil Gessner: The Old Leonese: A contribution to the knowledge of Old Spanish . Starcke, Berlin 1867.
  • Friedrich Ludwig Christian Hanssen: Estudios sobre la conjugación Leonesa. Impr. Cervantes, 1896.
  • Friedrich Ludwig Christian Hanssen: Los infinitivos leoneses del Poema de Alexandre ( Bulletin Hispanique. 12). 1910.
  • Günter Holtus , Michael Metzeltin , Christian Schmitt (Hrsg.): Lexicon of Romance Linguistics . 12 volumes. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1988-2005; Volume VI, 1: Aragonese / Navarre, Spanish, Asturian / Leonese , 1992.
  • Fritz Krüger: El dialecto de San Ciprián de Sanabria. Anejo IV de la RFE. Madrid.
  • R. Menéndez Pidal: El dialecto Leonés. Revista de Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos, 14. 1906.
  • Hector García Gil ': El asturiano-leonés: aspectos lingüísticos, sociolingüísticos y legislación. Working Papers Collection. Mercator Legislation, Dret i legislació lingüístics. 25, 2010, ISSN  2013-102X .
  • Normes ortográfiques. Academia de la Lengua Asturiana, 2005, ISBN 978-84-8168-394-3 .
  • García Arias, Xosé Lluis: Gramática histórica de la lengua asturiana: Fonética, fonología e introducción a la morfosintaxis histórica. Academia de la Llingua Asturiana. 2003, ISBN 978-84-8168-341-7 .
  • González Riaño, Xosé Antón; García Arias, Xosé Lluis: II Estudiu sociollingüísticu de Lleón (Identidá, conciencia d'usu y actitúes llingüístiques de la población lleonesa). Academia de la Llingua Asturiana. 2008, ISBN 978-84-8168-448-3 .
  • Galmés de Fuentes, Álvaro; Catalán, Diego: Trabajos sobre el dominio románico leonés. Editorial Gredos. 1960, ISBN 978-84-249-3436-1 .
  • Linguasphere Register. 1999/2000 edition. 1999, p. 392.
  • H. López-Morales: Elementos leoneses en la lengua del teatro pastoril de los siglos XV y XVI. Actas del II Congreso Internacional de Hispanistas. Instituto Español de la Universidad de Nimega. Holanda 1967.
  • E. Staff: Étude sur l'ancien dialecte léonnais d'après les chartes du XIIIÈ siècle. Uppsala 1907.
  • Morala Rodríguez, Jose Ramón; Roberto González-Quevedo; José Carlos Herreras; Julio Borrego; María Cristina Egido: El Leonés en el Siglo XXI. Un Romance Milenario ante el Reto de su Normalización. Instituto De La Lengua Castellano Y Leones, 2009, ISBN 978-84-936383-8-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. González Riaño, Xosé Antón; García Arias, Xosé Lluis. II Estudiu Sociollingüísticu De Lleón: Identidá, conciencia d'usu y actitúes llingüístiques de la población lleonesa . Academia de la Llingua Asturiana, 2008. ISBN 978-84-8168-448-3
  2. Sánchez Prieto, R. (2008): “La elaboración y aceptación de una norma lingüística en comunidades dialectalmente divididas: el caso del leonés y del frisio del norte”. In: Sánchez Prieto, R. / Veith, D. / Martínez Areta, M. (ed.): Mikroglottika Yearbook 2008. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
  3. Tapani Salminen: UNESCO red book on endagered language . Unesco, 1999
  4. “El leonés será objeto de protección específica por parte de las instituciones por su particular valor dentro del patrimonio lingüístico de la Comunidad.” Quoted from: New Statute of Autonomy of the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León, Titulo Preliminar, Art. 5/2.
  5. R. Morala: Norma y usos graficos en la documentacion leonesa . (PDF; 134 kB) In: Aemilianese , I, 2004, pp. 405-429.
  6. J. Ingelmo: El Leonés en Salamanca cien años después . ( Memento of the original from April 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / web.usal.es
  7. Hector García Gil: El asturiano-leonés: aspectos lingüísticos, sociolingüísticos y legislación . Working Papers Collection. Mercator Legislation, Dret i legislació lingüístics, 2010, 25, ISSN  2013-102X .