Romance languages.

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All modern Ibero-Romance (rather geographical than linguistic term) idioms originated in the north of the Iberian peninsula. There existed in the early Middle Ages a continuum beginning from the westernmost Galician through Asturian (Leonese), Castilian, Navarro-Aragonese to Catalan. The latter is actually transitional to its northern neighbour, Occitan and wider to all Gallo-Romance. The rest idioms are close enough to each other and can be collectively referred to as Hispano-Romance.

The southern and central part of the Peninsula was from 8th century till 15th occupied by Arabs. The local Romance varieties, known under name Mozarabic (from Arabian "mozarab" ="arabized"), developed their own specific features, largely distinguished them from North-Iberian varieties. But they lacked their common standard language because of the dominance of Arabian in all functionally important spheres.

But during the Reconquista Mozarabic was easily submerged by northern idioms, which developed their own southern varieties (certainly with some Mozarabic influence): Galician -> Portuguese, Asturian -> Leonese and Extremaduran, Castilian -> Andaluzian and Catalon -> Valencian and Balearic. But soon the eastern and western neighbours of new Castilian territory initially reconquered by speakers of Aragonese and Leonese loose their specific feateres and castilized. And today Extremaduran and Lower Aragonese are rather dialects within Spanish, whereas Leonese-Asturian and Aragonese are spoken only in their origin territories in the north.

Thus, there are now following Hispano-Romance languages:

Portuguese+Galician outer language with quite distinct Galician (galego) inner language and group of Portuguese-based ils: Portuguese-N. and Portuguese-G. (português) ils in Europe, and Brasilian (brasileiro), Madeiran (madeirense) and Azorian (açoriano) ils in the rest of the world. In the northwest corner of the autonomous region of Extremadura (Spain) a small community speak (a fala de xálima), which is related to Portuguese-N.

Astur+Leonese ol: Asturian-W., Asturian-C. (or bable)and Asturian-E. (asturianu) ils in Asturia and part of Cantabria (NW Spain), and Leonese-W. (lleonés) il in the western part of Leon (NW Spain) and in the north-eastern corner of Portugal (mirandés).

Spanish (Español, or Castellano) ol: language of former Castilla county submerged local varieties of the most part of Iberian peninsula. Currently, there are español-F., español-G., andaluziano, ehtremeñu ils in Europe, and American (americano), Canarian* and Guinean ils in America and Africa.

Aragonese (Aragonés) ol, formerly widely spoken in regions of Aragon and Navarra (navarro-aragonés-L.) but now stricted to Upper Aragon (Uesca province, altoaragonés), where one could distinguish strongly castilized aragones-S. and a range of montane dialects that could be united in aragonés-N. and transitional to Catalon aragonés-E.

Judeo-Spanish (Sephardic) ol, the language of the Sephardic Jewish commuities (with specific literary form ladino from 1350) who fled or were expelled from Spain during the 15th century. Widely scattered, it have been saved by the beginning of 20th century in the Balkans (but almost extinct since WW II, djudezmo or djidió), Turkey (spanyol) and Northern Africa (hakitia in Morocco, tetauni in Algeria and Tunisia), with subsequent migration to Israel and USA.

Catalon (Català) ol is rather transitional between Hispano-Romance and Galo-Romance (sometimes included in so called Pyrenean Romance group with Occitan and Gascon). There are two ils: català-W., including dialects of western Catalonia, Andorra and Valencia; and català-E., including dialects of Roussillon (France), eastern Catalonia, Balearic islands and Alghero town in Sardinia (Italy).

To be continued...

© Yuri B. Koryakov, maps and texts

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