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3. Spanish Among the Ibero-Romance Languages


Subject Linguistics » Historical Linguistics
Sociolinguistics » Language Variation and Change

Key-Topics contact, variation

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00005.x


In this chapter, “Ibero-Romance” is purely geographically defined and will be understood as referring to the Romance languages of Spain and Portugal and their former empires. From the linguistic point of view, this is an arbitrary subdivision of the Romance-speaking world, since some of the Romance varieties of the Peninsula have features in common with varieties spoken north of the Pyrenees. Thus, Catalan exhibits many lexical parallels with the Romance of southeastern France ( Colón 1976 : 39–52) and Castilian shares some phonetic changes with Gascon, notably the weakening of Latin initial/f/and the merger of Latin/b/and/w/. On such grounds it has been strenuously argued that Catalan in particular is not an ‘Ibero-Romance’ language at all ( Rohlfs 1979 : 255–260; for a more balanced view see Badia i Margarit 1975 [1964] : 31–51), a conclusion which resonates with Catalans’ resentment of the historic encroachment and dominance of Castilian. It is also important to state that the terms “language,” “dialect,” and “variety” will be used almost interchangeably. The only objectively definable distinction that can be drawn is between, on the one hand, languages, etc., which have Ausbau status ( Kloss 1967 ), that is to say, have been “elaborated” for administrative, legal, and literary purposes and have typically been established as official languages of particular states, and on ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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