Translation policies from/into the official languages in Spain

Authored by: Montserrat Bacardí , Timothy Barton

The Routledge Handbook of Spanish Translation Studies

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138698017
eBook ISBN: 9781315520131
Adobe ISBN:


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In Spain, in addition to Spanish, three other languages are officially recognized in the areas where they developed, referred to in the Spanish Constitution as “historic nationalities”. Two of those languages – Catalan and Galician – belong to the same language group as Spanish. They are Romance languages that evolved from Latin. The other official language is Basque, a pre-Indo-European language whose origins remain controversial. Two other Romance languages – Asturian and Aragonese – are also spoken in parts of Spain, but do not have official status. The linguistic affiliation of Galician is the subject of a tug of war between the ‘isolationist’ regulations put forward by the Royal Galician Academy, which considers Galician to be an independent language, and the ‘reintegrationist’ regulations, which treat Galician as a variety of Galician-Portuguese. Galician is spoken by around three million speakers. On the other hand, the Catalan language is spoken by some eleven million people, including regions beyond the boundaries of modern-day Catalonia: in Spain, in addition to Catalonia, it is official in the autonomous regions of Valencia and the Balearic Islands and is also spoken in parts of Aragon; in France, it is spoken in the historical country of Roussillon, roughly identical to the present-day Pyrénées-Orientales département; in Italy, it is spoken in the Sardinian town of Alghero, and it is the official language of Andorra. The Basque language, which was standardized in 1968, also stretches across the French-Spanish border and is estimated to be spoken by fewer than one million people.

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