Spain’s Many Languages, A Key to It’s Cultural Identity

Image of Spanish flags.

Image of Spanish flags. Credit: nito/

Spain’s linguistic diversity is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage, but not many are aware of all the languages that are spoken up and down the country.

While Spanish (Castilian) is the official language, several regional languages enjoy co-official status, and many other dialects and minority languages are spoken throughout the country,  according to Wikipedia: Languages of Spain.

Spain: Official and Co-Official Languages

  • Spanish (Castilian): Official throughout Spain and spoken by about 99 per cent of the population.
  • Catalan / Valencian: Co-official in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community. Also spoken in parts of the Aragon region.
  • Galego (Galician): Co-official and spoken in Galicia, as well as in nearby areas of Asturias and Castile and León.
  • Basque (Euskara): Co-official in the Basque Country and northern Navarre. Unique as a non-Romance and non-Indo-European language.
  • Aranese: A standardized variety of Gascon (Occitan), co-official in Catalonia, spoken in the Aran Valley.

Regional and Protected Languages

Asturian (Bable): Protected in Asturias, spoken by about 25 per cent of the population there. According to the BBC, Asturian is considered a language ‘in danger’ and has been a subject of ongoing political debate.

Aragonese: Spoken in the north of the Aragon region, enjoys legal protection.

Fala: A Romance language spoken by about 6,000 people in the Jálama Valley.

Portuguese: Traditionally spoken in border areas like Cedillo and Herrera de Alcántara.

Darija Arabic: Spoken in Ceuta, lacks government protection.

Riffian: Spoken in Melilla, lacks government protection.

Spain’s linguistic landscape is a vibrant mosaic, with each language contributing to the nation’s unique identity. From the widely spoken Spanish to the regional and protected languages like Galego and Basque, the country’s linguistic heritage is a testament to its diverse history and culture.

The efforts to protect and promote these languages, as seen with the protection of Asturian, ensure that Spain’s linguistic diversity continues to thrive. The integration of various languages into the educational system and media presence further emphasizes the importance of linguistic diversity in modern Spain.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.