DESCRIPTIVE RECORD OF THE GALICIAN LANGUAGE
Number of speakers:
Approximately three quarters of the population is speaker of Galician.
The language is spoken in Galicia (NW Spain) and in the neighbouring regions of Asturias, Leon and Zamora. Other important Galician emigration centres can be found in other regions of Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, the Basque Country and the Canary Islands), in Europe (Portugal, France, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands) and in America (Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico and the United States).
A Hispanic, Western Romance language, that originated from Latin, from the Italic branch of Indo-European.
Galician is closely related to Portuguese. It is also related to other Romance languages.
The three main dialectal areas are: (1) eastern Galician, which includes the dialects spoken outside the Galician administrative area, the most important of which is the Galician spoken in Asturias; (2) central Galician, among which the Mondoñedo and Lugo-Ourense varieties stand out; and (3) western Galician, where the dialects of the Fisterra region in the north and of Tui and Baixa Limia in the south stand out.
The main dialectal features:
(1) phonetic features: gheada (there exists a fricative phoneme or approximant, either voiceless or voiced, in place of the voiced velar occlusive /g/, in words such as gato [cat] and pagar [to pay]), is characteristic of western Galician and a large part of central Galician; seseo (absence of /θ/ and the presence of /s/ in the positions where /θ/ occurs in common Galician, in words such as cen [hundred] and cazar [hunt]), is characteristic of western Galician; (2) morphological features: in nouns, the ending -án (<Latin -ANU & -ANA: irmán <Latín GERMANU, GERMANA) in western dialects, as against the ending -ao (<Latín -ANU) and -á (<Latin -ANA) (irmao/irmá [brother/sister]) in the dialects of the central and eastern areas; the formation of the plural of nouns ending in -n, the ending -óns (<Latín -ONES) in the western areas, as against the ending -ós in the central area and -ois in the eastern areas; in verbs, the personal suffix -is for the second person plural (andais) in the eastern dialects, as against the suffix -des in common Galician (andades). The eastern dialects (especially Galician spoken in Asturias) also have many other peculiarities.