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Valencian

From Academic Kids

This page deals with language. For other uses of Valencian, see Valencia (disambiguation).

Valencian (Valencià)
Spoken in: Spain
Region: Valencia
Total speakers:
Ranking: Not in top 100
Genetic classification: Indo-European

 Italic
  Romance
   Italo-Western
    Western
     Gallo-Iberian
      Ibero-Romance
       East Iberian
        Catalan-Valencian-Balear

Official status
Official language of: Valencia in Spain
Regulated by: Institut d'Estudis Catalans
Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
Language codes
ISO 639-1ca
ISO 639-2cat
SILCLN
See also: LanguageList of languages

There is consensus amongst linguists that Valencian is the name for the Catalan language which is spoken in the Autonomous Community of Valencia, Spain. It is thus the official name for one of two co-official languages declared in the Valencian Statute of Autonomy: Valencian (Catalan) and Castilian (Spanish).

The word is also used to refer to the dialect of this territory to differentiate it from Catalan language as a whole, or from the Catalan of Barcelona. In this sense it can be considered a sub-dialect of the Western Catalan variety, which also includes the varieties of the Aragonese Fringe, Andorra, Lleida province and most of Tarragona province.

Note that, for many in the Valencian Community, the use of the term is a statement of belief in the idea that there is a language called Valencian which is quite separate from Catalan. This belief, which is not supported by linguistic fact, derives from political viewpoints that rightly or wrongly see Catalonia as an overbearing or even imperialistic force.

Contents

History and status of Valencian

Missing image
Tirant.jpg
One of the first few pages of Tirant lo Blanch, by Joanot Martorell

Catalan was brought to the territories that became the Kingdom of Valencia during the Reconquista. Whilst Castile moved south conquering New Castile and Andalusia, the Aragonese and Catalan settlers from the Crown of Aragon came and conquered Valencia. Most of these settlers came from South-West Catalonia, and to this day Valencian is almost indistinguishable from the dialect of these people.

Since Valencian is the same language as Catalan, both names can be used almost interchangeably, with "Catalan" emphasising the pan-Catalan nature of the language, and "Valencian" emphasising local features. The choice to use one name or the other is more a matter of politics than anything else. Maria Josep Cuenca, lecturer at the Department of Catalan Language Studies (note the name) of the University of Valencia, in her book El valencià és una llengua diferent? (ISBN 84-8131-452-8), notes that the number of people identifying with their Autonomous Community rather than with Spain is actually greater in Castile-La Mancha than in the Valencian Community. This is perhaps surprising in a region that is supposed to be one of the països catalans or Catalan countries. There is obviously a complicated mixture of feelings of belonging due to various historical events, and the result is that Catalan in Valencia is normally called "Valencian" and is often held to be a separate language, whereas in the Balearic Islands, Aragonese Fringe, Andorra, Alghero and Roussillon the local dialects are at least as different from the speech of Barcelona as Valencian is, and yet it does not occur to these speakers to call their language anything but Catalan.

There is no mention of Valencian or Catalan or any language other than Spanish in the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The Autonomy Statute (http://www.gva.es/cidaj/cas/c-normas/5-1982.htm#8) refers to the vernacular language as valencià, a name used traditionally since the fifteenth century. There is a private institution called Lo Rat Penat (http://www.loratpenat.org/) that campaigns for Valencian as a separate language with a different written norm and has firmly supported the motivated attempts of a minority of Valencian sectors (often related to right-wing political parties) to split Valencian and Catalan norms apart. However, their theories are not supported by universities or Romance-language experts. Officially, the rules for Valencian are decided by the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, which follows the same rules as for the rest of the Catalan language, set by the Institut d'Estudis Catalans.

The latest political controversy regarding Valencian occurred on the occasion of the approval of the European Constitution in 2004. The Spanish government supplied the EU with translations of the text into Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian, but the Catalan and Valencian versions were identical. While professing the unity of the Catalan language, the Spanish government claimed to be constitutionally bound to produce distinct Catalan and Valencian versions because the Statute of the Autonomous Community of Valencia calls the regional language "Valencian", while those of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands call its regional language "Catalan", even though in the case of the lattest people tend to call the language they speak "mallorquí", "eivissenc", "formenterer" or "menorquí".

Valencian was the home language of the Borgia family.

Features of Valencian

Template:IPA notice Note that this is a list of features of the main forms of Valencian (Catalan spoken in the Valencian Community) that differ from those of other Catalan dialects, particularly from the Central or literary varieties of the language. For more general information on the features of the Valencian language, see Catalan language. Note also that there is a great deal of variety within the Valencian Community, and the features below do not apply to every speaker at all.

  • A system of 7 stressed vowels /a, e, ɛ, i, o, ɔ, u/, reduced to 5 in unstressed position (/e, ɛ/ > [e], /o, ɔ/ > [o]) (a feature shared with North-Western Catalan and Ribagorçan)
  • In general, use of modern forms of the determinate article (el, els) and the 3rd person unstressed object pronouns (el, els), though some sub-dialects (for instance the one spoken in Vinaròs area) have lo, los as in Lleida. For the other unstressed object pronouns, etymological old forms (me, te, se, ne, mos, vos...) can be found, depending on places, in conjunction with the more modern ones (em, et, es, en)
  • Valencian has preserved mediaeval prepalatal afficates [dʒ],[tʃ] in contexts where other modern dialects have developed fricatives [ʒ] or [jʒ] (feature shared with modern Ribagorçan)
  • Valencian preserves the final stop in the groups [mp, nt, ŋk, lt] (feature shared with modern Balearic). The sub-dialect spoken in Benifaio and Almussafes area, some 20 Km south from the city of Valencia, remarks these final consonants.
  • Valencian is the only modern Catalan variant that articulates etymological final [r] in all contexts, although this cannot be generalized since there are valencian sub-dialects which do not articulate the final [r]
  • Valencian preserves the mediaeval system of demonstratives with three different levels of demonstrative precision (este or aquest/açò/ací, eixe or aqueix/això/aquí, aquell/allò/allí or allà) (feature shared with modern Ribagorçan)
  • Valencian has -i- as theme vowel for incoative verbs of the 3rd conjugation este servix (this one serves) (like North-Western Catalan), although, again, this cannot be generalized since there are valencian sub-dialects which pronnounce an -ie- (aquest serveix)
  • An exclusive feature of Valencian is the subjunctive imperfect morpheme /ra/: que ell vinguera (that he might come).
  • Several variations for nosaltres, vosaltres (we, you):mosatros, moatros, natros, vosatros, voatros, valtros.
  • Numbers: Huit, deneu, xixantahuit, doscentes, milló, quint, sext, vigesim for vuit, dinou, seixanta-vuit, dues-centes, milió, cinqué, sisé, vinté.
  • En for amb.
  • Meua, teua, seua for meva, teva, seva.
  • Hui for avui.
  • Gemination of D in some contexts

Some other features, such as the use of molt de or the lack of hom or geminate L, are often given as examples of differences between Valencian and other forms of Catalan. However, these are in reality differences between colloquial and literary language, and, again, are particular of concrete geographical areas. In fact, northern and southern variants of Valencian share more features with Eastern Catalan than with central Valencian and for this reason most of the features listed previously do not apply to them. As we have seen, the central / capital city area of Valencian suffers from the biggest Castilian interferences and are one of the causes of these differences.

Sub-varieties of Valencian

  • Northern or transition Valencian: spoken only in the northern part of the province of Castelló, and the area of Matarranya in the province of Teruel, in towns like Benicarlo or Vinaros. Northern Valencian is very similar to the Catalan of the Tortosa area, in the province of Tarragona. Final "r" isn't pronounced in infinitive ("kan'ta" instead of "kan'tar" is pronounced) and old articles "lo, los" are used instead of "el, els" (lo xic, los hòmens).
  • Castellonenc: spoken in Castello. Main feature easy to recognise is the use of "e" sound instead of standard "a" (Als matins ell "cante" en la dutxa" instead of ell canta - He sings in the shower in the morning).
  • Central or apitxat, spoken in Valencia city and its area. This is not taken as standard by the Valencian TV or radio. Apitxat has two distinct features:
    • All voiced sibillants get unvoiced (that is, apitxat pronounces ['tʃove] ['kasa] (young man, house), where other Valencians would pronounce ['dʒove], ['kaza]) (feature shared with Ribagorçan)
    • It preserves the strong simple past, which has been substituted by an analytic past with VADERE + infinitive in the rest of modern Catalan variants (the simple past is still preserved incomplete in Eivissa). For example "ahir aní a passejar" instead of "ahir vaig anar a passejar" (I went for a walk yesterday).
  • Southern: spoken in the counties between the province of Valencia and the province of Alacant. Main feature is the "harmonia vocàl.lica". Two syllable words with an open E or O ending in A are pronounced with an open E or O in the end position. Examples are "terra" (earth), "porta" (door) or "dona" (woman).
  • Alacantí: spoken in most of the province of Alacant, and the area of Carxe in the province of Murcia, shares many features with oriental Catalan.

External links

Template:InterWiki

de:Valencianische Sprache es:Idioma valenciano pl:Język walencki sv:Valenciano

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