This week The Translation Booth has been in sunny España learning about the Valencian language and eating a lot of paella! Having travelled from Madrid, via the lovely hilltop town of Cuenca, I settled for the week on an orange grove in the heart of the Valencian Community. Working from the Valencia region has given me a fantastic insight into the Valencian language, as well as a chance to improve my regular, or Castilian Spanish. And did you know paella comes from the Valencian region? Well it does, and I ate A LOT of it.
I won’t get into language vs dialect theories in this small blog post; suffice to say, exactly how to classify Valencian (valencià, valenciano, llengua valenciana or idioma valencià) is a point of dispute.
Most linguists consider Valencian to be a dialect of Catalan. Catalan is thought to have developed in the north east of Spain in the community now known as Catalonia and is divided into two primary dialectical groups, Oriental and Occidental. The Occidental group is subdivided into West Catalan and Valencian. The official regulating body of the language of the Valencian Community, the Valencian Academy of Language (Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, AVL) declares the linguistic unity between the Valencian and Catalan varieties, declaring that the historical patrimonial language of the Valencian people, from a philological standpoint, is the same that is shared by the autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Andorra.
Some fast facts:
– Valencian is considered a distinct language by some groups.
– A standardised form exists based on the Southern Valencian dialect.
– The Valencian language is co-official with the Spanish language, as regulated by the Spanish constitution.
– The Valencian language is not one of the recognised languages of the EU.
– It is not spoken everywhere in the Valencian Community.
It has been interesting to hear Valencian being spoken and to try my hand at a variant of Catalan, having only used Castilian Spanish in the past. As Catalan languages bear strong similarities to French I’ve had an added advantage.
Thank you to all the great people I met who put up with my attempts to converse with them!