|Region||Autonomous community of Cantabria and Asturian municipalities of Peñamellera Alta, Peñamellera Baja and Ribadedeva|
|3,000 (2011)|
Cantabrian (cántabru, in Cantabrian) is a group of dialects belonging to Astur-Leonese. It is indigenous to the territories in and surrounding the Autonomous Community of Cantabria, in Northern Spain.
Traditionally, some dialects of this group have been further grouped by the name Montañés ('from the Mountain'), La Montaña ('the Mountain') being a traditional name for Cantabria due to its mountainous topography.
These dialects belong to the Northwestern Iberian dialect continuum and have been classified as belonging to the Astur-Leonese domain by successive research works carried out through the 20th century, the first of them, the famous work El dialecto Leonés, by Ramón Menéndez Pidal.
This dialect group spans the whole territory of Cantabria. In addition, there is historical evidence of traits (such as toponyms, or certain constructions) linking the speech of some nearby areas to the Cantabrian Astur-Leonese group:
Some of this areas had historically been linked to Cantabria before the 1833 territorial division of Spain, and the creation of the Province of Santander (with the same territory as the modern-day Autonomous Community).
Based on the location where dialects are spoken, we find a traditional dialectal division of Cantabria, which normally corresponds to the different valleys or territories:
|Autoglottonym||Area of usage||Meaning of name|
|Montañés||La Montaña, i.e. Coastal and Western parts of Cantabria||of or pertaining to the people of La Montaña|
|Pasiegu||Pas, Pisueña and upper Miera valleys||of or pertaining to the people of Pas|
|Pejín||Western coastal villages||from peje "fish".|
|Pejinu||Eastern coastal villages||from peji "fish".|
|Tudancu||Tudanca||of or pertaining to the people of Tudanca|
However, based on linguistic evidence, R. Molleda proposed what is today the usual division of dialectal areas in Cantabria. Molleda proposed to take the isogloss of the masculine plural gender morphology, which seems to surround a large portion of Eastern Cantabria, running from the mouth of the Besaya River in the North, and along the Pas-Besaya watershed. He then proceeded to name the resulting areas Western and Eastern, depending on the location to the West or East of the isogloss. This division has gained support due to the fact that, although masculine morphology by itself is not a very important difference, many other isoglosses draw the same line.
There are many features in common with Spanish. Cantabrian's set of consonants is nearly identical to that of Northern Iberian Spanish. In the Valles Pasiegos, /s/ becomes [ɾ] before voiced consonants. This has also occurred in the names of the rivers Arlanza and Arlanzón in Burgos. This type of change is also the source of the Spanish word murga lit. 'group of street musicians', from earlier musga.
Also in the Valles Pasiegos, syllable-final word-internal /s/ and /θ/ are frequently confused.
In Tudanca and neighboring zones, /s/ can be aspirated, that is, pronounced as [h], when before consonants, or at the end of a word and before another word which begins with a vowel, as in [lahoˈɾehas] las orejas 'the ears'. That said, /s/ cannot be aspirated before a pause in this zone. Similar patterns of /s/-aspiration have been found in some other Astur-leonese zones as well.
An important difference is preservation of the voiceless glottal fricative (/h/) as an evolution of Latin's word initial f- as well as the [x-h] mergers; both features are common in many Spanish dialects, especially those from Southern Spain and parts of Latin America.
The preservation of the voiceless glottal fricative was usual in Middle Spanish, before the /h/ in words like /humo/, from Latin fumus, resulted in Modern Spanish /umo/. Every Cantabrian dialect keeps /f/ before consonants such as in /'fɾi.u/ (cold), just as Spanish and Astur-Leonese do.
|Feature||Western Dialects||Eastern Dialects||Gloss|
|Coastal Valleys||Inner Valleys|
|/f/ or /x/
/'hue.gu/ or /'xue.gu/[clarification needed]
hearth, later fire
to do (verb)
The [x - h] merger is typical in most Western and Eastern Coastal dialects, where [x] merges into [h]. However, the Eastern dialects from the Inner Valleys have merged [h] into [x]; moreover, there are older speakers that lack any kind of merger, fully distinguishing the minimal pair /huegu/ - /xuegu/ (fire - game).
|Western dialects||Eastern dialects||Gloss|
|Coastal Valleys||Inner Valleys|
|no, or [x]
joke, later game
Other features are common to most Astur-Leonese dialects; some of these are:
In 2009, Cantabrian was listed as a dialect of the Astur-Leonese language by UNESCO's Red Book of the World's Languages in Danger, which was in turn classified as a definitely endangered language.
|"high"||ALTUM||altu||altu||altu||alto||ALTUM > altu|
|"to fall"||CADĔRE [A]||cayer||cayer||cayer||caer||Before short e, /d/ → /j/.|
|"to say"||DĪCERE||dicir||dicir/icir||dicir/dicer/icir||decir||Conjugation shift -ERE → -IR|
|"to do"||FACERE||facer/facere||ḥacer [D]||hacer [D]||hacer||Western /f/→[h].|
|"iron"||FERRUM||fierro||ḥierru||yerru||hierro||Western /ferum/ > [hjeru].|
Eastern /ferum/ > [hjeru] > [jeru] > [ʝeru].
|"flame"||FLAMMAM||llama||llapa [F]||llama [G]||llama||Palatalization /FL-/ > /ʎ/ (or /j/, due to western yeismo)|
|"fire"||FOCUM||fueu/fuegu||ḥueu||ḥuigu/ḥuegu [C]||fuego||Western: FOCUM > [hueku] > [huegu] > [hueu]. |
Eastern: FOCUM > [xueku] > [xuegu]/[xuigu] (metaphony).
|"fireplace"||LĀR||llar||llar [F]||lar [H]||lar||Western: Palatalization of ll-, yeísmo.|
|"to read"||LEGERE||lleer||leer||leyer [A]||leer||Eastern: survival of -g- as -y-.|
|"loin"||LUMBUM [B]||llombu||lombu/llombu||lumu/lomu [C]||lomo||Western: conservation of -MB- group. |
|"mother"||MATREM||madre/ma||madre||madri||madre||Eastern: closing of final -e.|
|"blackbird"||MIRULUM||mierbu||miruellu||miruilu [C]||mirlo||Westen: palatalization of -l-. Eastern: metaphony.|
|"to show"||MOSTRARE||amosar||amostrar [E]||mostrar||mostrar||Western: prothesis.|
|"knot"||*NODUS||ñudu||ñudu||ñudu||nudo||Palatalization of Latin N-|
|"ours"||NOSTRUM||nuestru/nuesu||nuestru||muistru [C]||nuestro||Eastern: metaphony and confusion between Latin pronoun nos and 1st person plural ending -mos.|
|"to bring"||TRAHĔRE[A]||trayer||trayer||trayer||traer||Conservation of Latin -h- by -y-.|
|"to see"||VIDĒRE||ver||veer||veyer [A]||ver||Eastern: before short e, /d/ → /y/.|
|"photo"||foto||ḥotu||afutu [C][E]||foto||Western shows [f] > [h], while Eastern prefers prothesis.|
|"dog/dogs"||perru/perros||perru/perros||pirru/perrus [C]||perro/perros||Western masculine singular -u, plural -os. Eastern masculine singular -u + metaphony, plural -us.|
The following notes only apply for the Cantabrian derivatives, but might as well occur in other Astur-Leonese varieties:
Na, que entornemos, y yo apaecí esturunciau y con unos calambrios que me ḥiendían de temblíos... El rodal quedó allá lantón escascajau del too; las trichorias y estadojos, triscaos... Pero encontó, casi agraecí el testarazu, pues las mis novillucas, que dispués de la estorregá debían haber quedau soterrás, cuasi no se mancaron. ¡Total: unas lijaduras de poco más de na!
Nada, que volcamos, y yo acabé por los suelos y con unos calambres que me invadían de temblores...El eje quedó allá lejos totalmente despedazado; las estacas quebradas... Pero aún así, casi agradecí el cabezazo, pues mis novillas, que después de la caída deberían haber quedado para enterrar, casi no se lastimaron. ¡Total: unas rozaduras de nada!
Nothing, we tipped over, and I ended up on the ground and with some cramps that invaded me with tremors... The axis was far away, totally torn apart; the broken stakes... But even so, I was almost grateful for the header, because my heifers — which after the fall should have been left to bury – were hardly hurt. In total: Some scratches like nothing!