Iberian Romance
Ibero-Romance, Iberian
Originally Iberian Peninsula and southern France; now worldwide
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Glottologsout3183  (Shifted Iberian)
unsh1234  (Aragonese–Mozarabic)

The Iberian Romance, Ibero-Romance[3] or sometimes Iberian languages[note 1] are a group of Romance languages that developed on the Iberian Peninsula, an area consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Andorra and southern France. They are today more commonly separated into West Iberian and Occitano-Romance language groups.

Evolved from the Vulgar Latin of Iberia, the most widely spoken Iberian Romance languages are Spanish and Portuguese, followed by Catalan-Valencian-Balear and Galician.[4] These languages also have their own regional and local varieties. Based on mutual intelligibility, Dalby counts seven "outer" languages, or language groups: Galician-Portuguese, Spanish, Asturleonese, "Wider"-Aragonese, "Wider"-Catalan, Provençal+Lengadocian, and "Wider"-Gascon.[5]

In addition to those languages, there are a number of Portuguese-based creole languages and Spanish-based creole languages, for instance Papiamento.

Origins and development

Linguistic map of southwestern Europe

See also: History of the Spanish language, History of Portuguese, and History of Catalan

Like all Romance languages,[6] the Iberian Romance languages descend from Vulgar Latin, the nonstandard (in contrast to Classical Latin) form of the Latin language spoken by soldiers and merchants throughout the Roman Empire. With the expansion of the empire, Vulgar Latin came to be spoken by inhabitants of the various Roman-controlled territories. Latin and its descendants have been spoken in Iberia since the Punic Wars, when the Romans conquered the territory[7] (see Roman conquest of Hispania).

The modern Iberian Romance languages were formed roughly through the following process:


Asturian (ast)

Leonese (mwl)

Mirandese (mwl)


Spanish (spa)


Portuguese (por)

Galician (glg)

Xalimego (fax)

Common traits between Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan

This list points to common traits of these Iberian subsets, especially when compared to the other Romance languages in general. Thus, changes such as Catalan vuit/huit and Portuguese oito vs. Spanish ocho are not shown here, as the change -it- > -ch- is exclusive to Spanish among the Iberian Romance languages.

Between Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan



Between Spanish and Catalan, but not Portuguese


Between Spanish and Portuguese, but not Catalan



Between Portuguese and Catalan, but not Spanish



Politically (not linguistically), there are four major officially recognised Iberian Romance languages:

Additionally, Asturian (dialect of Asturleonese), although not an official language,[23] is recognised by the autonomous community of Asturias. It is one of the Asturleonese dialects along with Mirandese, which in Portugal holds an official status as a minority language.[24]

Family tree

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Main article: Romance languages

Ibero-Romance languages around the world
Ibero-Romance languages in Iberia and Southern France[image reference needed]

The Iberian Romance languages are a conventional group of Romance languages. Many authors use the term in a geographical sense although they are not necessarily a phylogenetic group (the languages grouped as Iberian Romance may not all directly descend from a common ancestor). Phylogenetically, there is disagreement about what languages should be considered within the Iberian Romance group; for example, some authors consider that East Iberian, also called Occitano-Romance, could be more closely related to languages of northern Italy (or also Franco-Provençal, the langues d'oïl and Rhaeto-Romance). A common conventional geographical grouping is the following:

Daggers (†) indicate extinct languages

See also


  1. ^ Iberian languages is also used as a more inclusive term for all languages spoken on the Iberian Peninsula, which in antiquity included the non-Indo-European Iberian language.
  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (2022-05-24). "Glottolog 4.8 - Shifted Western Romance". Glottolog. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Archived from the original on 2023-11-27. Retrieved 2023-11-11.
  2. ^ "Ibero-Romance". Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  3. ^ Pharies, David A. (2007). A Brief History of the Spanish Language. University of Chicago Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-226-66683-9.
  4. ^ Ethnologue: Statistical Summaries
  5. ^ Dalby, David (2000). "5=Indo-European phylosector" (PDF). The Linguasphere register of the world's languages and speech communities. Vol. 2. Oxford: Observatoire Linguistique, Linguasphere Press.
  6. ^ Thomason, Sarah (2001). Language Contact. Georgetown University Press. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-87840-854-2.
  7. ^ Brown, Keith; Ogilvie, Sarah (2008). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier Science. p. 1020. ISBN 978-0-08-087774-7.
  8. ^ Penny, Ralph (2002). A History of the Spanish Language. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-521-01184-6.
  9. ^ Penny (2002), p. 16
  10. ^ Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition (2009). "Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian". Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  11. ^ Turell, M. Teresa (2001). Multilingualism in Spain: Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Aspects of Linguistic Minority Groups. Multilingual Matters. p. 591. ISBN 978-1-85359-491-5.
  12. ^ Cabo Aseguinolaza, Fernando; Abuín Gonzalez, Anxo; Domínguez, César (2010). A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 339–40. ISBN 978-90-272-3457-5.
  13. ^ Lapesa, Rafael (1968). Historia de la lengua española (7th ed.) (in Spanish). Gredos. p. 124. ISBN 84-249-0072-3. ISBN 84-249-0073-1.
  14. ^ "Lengua Española o Castellana". Promotora Española de Lingüística (in Spanish).
  15. ^ Ethnologue: Table 3. Languages with at least 3 million first-language speakers
  16. ^ See Ethnologue
  17. ^ Constitution of Andorra (Article 2.1)
  18. ^ Bec, Pierre (1973), Manuel pratique d'occitan moderne, coll. Connaissance des langues, Paris: Picard
  19. ^ Sumien, Domergue (2006), La standardisation pluricentrique de l'occitan: nouvel enjeu sociolinguistique, développement du lexique et de la morphologie, coll. Publications de l'Association Internationale d'Études Occitanes, Turnhout: Brepols
  20. ^ Myers-Scotton, Carol (2005). Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-631-21937-8.
  21. ^ a b Ethnologue
  22. ^ Posner, Rebecca (1996). The Romance Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-521-28139-3.
  23. ^ "La jueza a Fernando González: 'No puede usted hablar en la lengua que le dé la gana'". El Comercio. 12 January 2009.
  24. ^ See: Euromosaic report