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Spanish Regional Languages : Galician

By Mr Grumpy - Thu 7th Jan 2010

After researching some of the better known and more widely understood Spanish regional languages, such as Catalan and Valenciano, my intrigue was piqued by reading about some of the quirkier ones like Basque. I decided to move along the northern coast of Spain (leapfrogging over Cantabria and the Asturias),to the isolated region of Galicia - the region stuck out on it's own on the Atlantic coast in the north-west of the country.

Apparently, up until the Middle ages, the Galician language (or Galego, as it is referred to in Spanish and in it’s native tongue) was the same a Portuguese. Even today Portugal considers the Galician language to be a dialect of Portuguese, but as you would expect from a Spaniard, the Galician Autonomous Government considers Galician to be a language in it’s own right.

In this respect it mirrors the argument between the Catalans and Valencians with regards to their regional “languages”.

Whatever it’s status as an International language, it is one of Spain’s 4 officially recognised languages (along with Basque, Catalan and Castilian) and, though officially named as Portuguese, it is a recognised language in the European Parliament.

As with the other regional languages, it would be too simple to leave things at that and as such the Language (if Indeed it is a separate language) is then agreed to have 3 separate dialects – the East, West and Central.

Galician is estimated to be spoken by 3 Million People – mostly living in Galicia, but also living in other areas of Spain and further afield in other European cities and even in certain enclaves of Portuguese South America. It is also a commonly used language/ dialect in the Spanish Region of Extremadura.

To the uninformed foreigner the differences between Galician and Portuguese is largely one of pronunciation, and as such the table of useful phrases below contains an additional column to show the close relationship between the two languages.

English Galician (Official) Galician (Reintegrationist) Portuguese Spanish
Good morning Bo día / Bos días Bom Dia Bom Dia / Bons dias Buenos días
What is your name? Como te chamas? ¿Cómo te llamas?
I love you Quérote / Ámote Amo-te Te quiero / Te amo
Excuse me Desculpe Perdón / Disculpe
Thanks / Thank you Grazas / Graciñas Obrigado Gracias
Welcome Benvido Bem-vido Bem-vindo Bienvenido
Goodbye Adeus Adiós
Yes Si Sim
No Non Nom Não No
Dog Can Cam Cão Perro (Rarely Can)
Grandfather Avó /a'bo Avô/e'vo Abuelo
Newspaper Periódico / Xornal Jornal Periódico
Mirror Espello Espelho Espejo

Comment on this Blog

You should read more, because Galician cant be a dialect of portuguese since it existed before portuguese. The language that was spoken in medieval times in Galicia and portugal and that is called today Galician-portuguese evolved separatly in the two countries after the independence of Portugal, becoming two different languages with the influence of the south and moorish in the portuguese, but being the two languages two siblings of the same mother.
Gallego - Sat, 30th Mar 2013

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