FREE Quote   Call Toll FREE: 1-800-322-0284
Accredited Language Services
Free Translation Tool Website Translation Language Identifier LanguagesCountries Useful Links

Valencian

The Valencian language has a past closely intertwined with that of the Catalan language. In fact, most linguists agree that Valencian is a dialect of Catalan. The exact terminology regarding the classification of the Valencian language has been a point of dispute and political friction for decades.

Classification: Relationship to the Catalan Language

Valencian is technically classified as a dialect of the modern Catalan language. A peninsular romance language, Catalan is thought to have developed in the northeastern region of Spain now known as Catalonia. Catalan is divided into two primary dialectical groups, Oriental and Occidental. The Occidental group is further subdivided into West Catalan and Valencian.

Linguists remain uncertain as to the exact origins of Catalan. Some theorists believe Catalan developed from the Occitan (or Provencal) language of France, while others argue for a close relationship between Catalan and Hispanic languages such as Aragonese or Castilian.

Early Valencian History: The Kingdom of Valencia

Map of Spain

According to the records of the Roman historian Levy, the city of Valencia (the capital of the modern-day region of Valencia) was taken by Roman soldiers in 138 BC. The area remained in Roman hands until 413 AD, at which point it was taken by the Visigoths.

In 714, Valencia was taken by the Moors, who established it as the capital of the Kingdom of Valencia in 1021. This marked the beginning of a period of immense prosperity for the city and surrounding regions.

Valencia: United with the Catalan Kingdom of Aragon

Valencia flourished as an independent Moorish kingdom throughout the 11th century. In 1094 the kingdom was taken by Christian Spain under El Cid. His death in 1099 resulted in the return of Valencia to the Moors.

In 1238 the kingdom again came under Christian control when it was taken by King James I of Aragon. Established in the 12th century, the Kingdom of Aragon used Catalan as its official language.

The Catalan language consequently gained power in the Valencia region, especially after 1319 when Valencia was officially united with the Kingdom of Aragon. It was not until the 15th century that the power of the Kingdom of Aragon and the Catalan language began to decline.

Modern-Day Valencia

Modern-day Valencia is comprised of three provinces in southwestern Spain: Valencia, Alicante and Castellon. The city of Valencia serves as the capital of the Valencia Province as well as the regional capital.

The vibrant cultural history of Valencia is still celebrated today. The region is home to a number of noted attractions, including the University of Valencia (established in 1499), the Gothic Silk Exchange dating from the 15th century (which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the quirky La Tomatina festival – a world-famous tomato-throwing festival held in Bunol each year.

Emergence of a Distinct Valencian Language

Catalan was the language of use throughout the Kingdom of Aragon from the 12th century onward. It is believed that the consolidation of political, cultural and linguistic power exerted throughout the Kingdom of Aragon prevented the development of distinct dialectical offshoots from the Catalan language for centuries.

It was not until the 1500s that a number of distinct dialects, Valencian among them, began to develop within the Catalan language. These new dialects distinguished themselves from the central Catalan dialect based on the region surrounding Barcelona.

Shared Characteristics of the Catalan and Valencian Languages

Virtually all linguists agree that Valencian is technically a dialect of the Catalan language, sharing a relationship much like Canadian French to Metropolitan French. Like other Catalan dialects, Valencian is extremely similar to the primary standard Catalan dialect.

Catalan and Valencian are mutually intelligible and differ only in minor details of pronunciation, vocabulary and verb conjugation. For the most part, these differences are not reflected in the written language.

Theories of Valencian as a Separate Language

Although it is generally agreed that Valencian and Catalan are simply variants of a single language, there are some theories among Valencians supporting the idea that Valencian is a separate language. One such theory suggests that Valencian evolved from Mozarabic, the language spoken by local Muslim inhabitants of what later became Al-Andalus, and later acquired similarities to Catalan due to close contact with Catalonia.

An alternate theory proposes that Valencian and Catalan both originated as distinct languages from the Old Occitan or Provencal language of France. Usually publicized by radical politicians, theories like these are widely discredited within the academic community.

Claiming a Unique Valencian Linguistic Identity

Flag of Spain

Catalan and Valencian language speakers have a history of friction, and the relationship between the two has been an issue of dispute for decades. While most Catalonians consider the Valencian language to be simply a dialect of Catalan, most Valencian language speakers insist upon the existence of a distinct Valencian language.

Since the end of the Spanish Civil War, the debates as to whether the Catalan and Valencian languages are autonomous or simply variants of a single language have become increasingly bitter. Despite the general classification of Valencian as a dialect of Catalan, Valencians continue to promote what they consider a distinct Valencian language.

Political Issues Surrounding the Valencian Language

The classification and status of the Valencian language proved problematic throughout Spain’s transition to democracy in the second half of the 20th century. Due to the tendency to classify Valencian as a dialect of the Catalan language, Valencian nationalists and radical politicians have often accused Catalans of attempting to suppress any unique Valencian identity by denying the existence of an autonomous Valencian language.

Issues regarding the terminology of a unique Valencian language appeared again in 2004 during the process of approving the European Constitution. Spain provided the European Union with translations of the text in the Basque, Galician, Catalan and Valencian languages – but the Catalan and Valencian texts were identical. Spain’s government defended the action as an obligatory act of respect for Valencia’s autonomous status and its choice of Valencian as its regional language.


Get Your FREE Quote



 

Valencian Quick Facts

Alternate Names & Spellings: CATALÀ, CATALÁN, BACAVÈS, CATALONIAN

Language Family: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, East Iberian.

Spoken by Approximately 6,565,000 people

Spoken In: United States

Learn About Other Languages


A

Afar

Afrikaans

Akan

Albanian

Amharic

Arabic

Aramaic

Armenian

Ashanti

Aymará

Azerbaijani

B

Bafut

Bahasa

Bambara

Basque

Bassa

Belarussian

Bemba

Bengali

Bislama

Blackfoot

Bosnian

Breton

Bulgarian

Burmese

C

Cajun

Cambodian

Cantonese

Catalan

Cebuano

Chamoro

Chichewa

Chinese

Chinook

Creole

Croatian

Crow

Czech

D

Danish

Dari

Dhivehi

Dutch

Dzongkha

E

Edo

English

English (American)

English (Australian)

English (British)

Estonian

Ewe

F

Faroese

Farsi

Fijian

Fijian Hindi

Filipino

Finnish

Flemish

French

French (Canada)

French (France)

Frisian

Fulani

Fuuta Jalon

G

Ga

Gaelic

Galician

Georgian

German

Gikuyu

Greek

Greenlandic

Guaraní

Gujarati

H

Hausa

Hawaiian

Hebrew

Hindi

Hmong

Hungarian

I

Ibo

Icelandic

Ilocano

Ilonggo

Indonesian

Italian

J

Japanese

Jola

K

Kannada

Karen

Kazakh

Khalkha Mongol

Khmer

Kinyarwanda

Kirghiz

Kirundi

Kissi

Kiswahili

Koniagui

Kono

Korean

Kurdish

Kwanyama

Kyrgyz

L

Laotian

Latin

Latvian

Liberian

Lingala

Lithuanian

Luxemburgian

M

Macedonian

Malagasy

Malay

Malayalam

Malinke

Maltese

Mandarin

Mandingo

Mandinka

Maori

Marathi

Marshallese

Mirandese

Moldovan

Mongolian

N

Nauruan

Navajo

Ndebele

Nepali

Niuean

Norwegian

Nzema

O

Oriya

Oromo

Ossetian

Otetela

P

Palauan

Papiamento

Pashtu

Polish

Polynesian

Portuguese

Provencal

Punjabi

Pushtu

Q

Quechua

R

Romanian

Russian

S

Samoan

Sanskrit

Scots

Serbian

Sesotho

Sign Language

Sign Language - American

Sindhi

Sinhala

Sinhalese

Sioux

Slovak

Slovenian

Somali

Soninke

Spanish

Spanish (Latin America)

Spanish (Spain)

Sranan

Swahili

Swati

Swedish

T

Tagalog

Taiwanese

Tajik

Tamil

Telugu

Tetum

Thai

Tibetan

Tigrigna

Tokelauan

Tongan

Turkish

Turkman

Tuvaluan

Twi

Tzotzil

U

Ukrainian

Urdu

Uzbek

V

Valencian

Vietnamese

Vlaams

W

Wallisian

Welsh

Wolof

X

Xhosa

Y

Yanomami

Yiddish

Yoruba

Z

Zarma

Zulu