Galician - A Dialect of Spanish or Portuguese

Harvey   Thursday, December 16, 2004, 21:37 GMT
I have seen Galician described as a dialect of Portuguese and in another place as a dialect of Spanish that resembles Portuguese.

Can anyone shed light on this for me.
Jordi   Thursday, December 16, 2004, 22:08 GMT
Galicia is actually the place where Portuguese was born since what is now Portugal was originally under Muslim rule, in the Middle Ages, and spoke some sort of dialectal Arabic. Galician is the origin of Portuguese although the present form of Portuguese is based on the southern dialects, with its centre in Lisbon. Pure village Galician is actually very closely related to Northern Portuguese dialects and there is no clear border line. Villages on both sides of the Spanish-Portuguese border actually speak the same dialect.
Galician has been heavily influenced by Castilian Spanish since it has been a part of Spain in the past centuries. The official form of Galician, adopted by the Galician Regional Government, is actually based on Spanish spelling. In the big cities they actually speak "castrapo", a Galician more heavily influenced by Spanish. Regionalism sees Portuguese as a threat to Spanish territorial integrity.
Nevertheless, scholars speak of "Galaico-Portugués" as a sole language. There is an important "reintegracionista" movement in Galicia, adopting Portuguese spelling and a Galician based on the purer dialectal forms, much closer to Portuguese. A few Galician writers have chosen to write in Standard European Portuguese.
Many Portuguese speakers have the feeling that Galician is a kind of Hispanised Portuguese.
I'm sure there must be much more more in the Internet should you wish to pursue in your research.
Ed   Friday, December 17, 2004, 04:15 GMT
I know, for example, that the city of La Corun~a is sometimes written as A Corun~a (Corunha), which is Portuguese, or qould be written the same way in Portuguese.
Jordi   Friday, December 17, 2004, 06:14 GMT
It is written as A Coruña in Galician spelling (Spanish "ñ)) and A Corunha in Portuguese spelling. As you can see the article is "A" meaning "the" in Galician-Portuguese whilst it would be "LA" in Spanish, a different language.
nic   Friday, December 17, 2004, 09:33 GMT
Hi Jordi,

I have the feeling french and portuguese have some similarities, i don't speak portuguese but what i have seen is quite funny, examples : la rue, la rua, livro, livre...

Do you know why?

Maybe i am totally wrong...
mjd   Friday, December 17, 2004, 09:35 GMT
In Portuguese it would be "a" rua...."o" livro etc.
Jordi   Friday, December 17, 2004, 10:28 GMT
It is common, amongst Romance languages, to have similarities since we are all the children of Ancient Rome and have had similar invasions in the past (Germanic Invasions, Celts, etc...) Sometimes a word jumps a few languages away. Rúa is also Spanish although it is considered archaic (or regional). Spanish will now say "calle" related to Catalan "carrer", Occitan "carrièra" and French "carrière". English "street" is related to Italian "strada" and it is an English latinism previous to the Franco-Normand conquest in 1066.
Understanding your neighbours' languages helps you to understand yourself better and to know a little bit more about our common European history.
nic   Friday, December 17, 2004, 10:47 GMT

thanks for the precision


For sure, it helps to understand some other cultures and their relation ship. I asked it myself for another reason, portuguese and french ahve some "funny" similarities in their respective pronunciation. As you know spanish has for example (between some other romance languages) some modulations which you don't have in portuguese and french whick "looks" flat.
Jordi   Friday, December 17, 2004, 12:21 GMT
In the Latin continumm Spanish is indeed, to a certain extent, strange because of the Basque influence. Pronunciation in Northern Spanish and Basque is actually identical although they both belong to different linguistic groups. Another proof of the strong Basque-related substratum in Spanish.
To a certain extent the same thing can be said about French (Germanic influence) and Romanian "Slavic influence"...
Easterner   Friday, December 17, 2004, 14:51 GMT
Can the similarities of Portuguese and French (nasal vowels and the "j" sound, for example) be due to a Celtic substratum? The area of Portugal was populated by the Lusitanians (Celtiberians) and we all know about France... Or is it rather that castilian Spanish was influenced by Basque (and perhaps Arabic) in such a degree that it went a completely different way as far as pronunciation is concerned? These questions may be rhetoric, of course...
Pat the Expat   Friday, December 17, 2004, 16:44 GMT
The Portuguese I have been exposed to is Brazillian Portuguese. On paper, it looks like a romance lanuage, but to my ear, it does not sound like one. The intonations sound vaguely slavic. Has anyone else noticed this?
Jordi   Friday, December 17, 2004, 17:24 GMT
Dear Easterner:
There is no Arabic pronunciation influence in the Northern Spanish dialects upon which Standard Castilian Spanish is based. It is more probable that the great difference in Andalusian Spanish pronunciations (specially intonation and rhythm) may be due to the adoption of Northern Spanish by peoples who had been strongly arabised culturally and linguistically over quite a few centuries. As I said in a different thread Basque and Standard Castilian Spanish share a lot of the intonation patterns and accent to a great extent although the languages, as you know, are not related at all. I dare not say anything about nasalisations in Portuguese without having studied the subject although there are other changes in contemporary Portuguese such as the loss of apical "r" (rolled "r"). The Portuguese pronounce it like the French although the Gallician don't! The rolled "r" is also being lost in many Occitan dialects (such as Provençal) and it seems the process has little to do with French influence because it already happened a few generations ago. It also happens in some Italian dialects. The idea would be that when a phoneme is rendered useless and does not hinder comprehension, it will eventually disappear. It will also become more fasionable as a class marker. There may be very few homonyms and context will do the rest.
I'm translating from my Catalan and Spanish linguistic classes and I beg your pardon if the terminology isn't quite the same in English.
mjd   Friday, December 17, 2004, 20:03 GMT
Pat the Expat,

You'll often hear that said of both European and Brazilian Portuguese. The Portuguese themselves tend to cut unstressed vowels whereas the Brazilians at times cut consonants. One of the main characteristics of EP is the "sh" sound, also present in the accent of Rio de Janeiro because of the presence of the Portuguese royal family from 1807 to 1821. This can at times make it sound similar to Russian or Polish. In Brazil the "dj" and "tch" sounds are very strong, most likely a legacy of the Tupi and African influences upon their dialect.
Xatufan   Sunday, December 19, 2004, 23:47 GMT
What about the Peninsular Castilian Spanish "s"? It sounds almost like a "shhhhhhhhh". Where does it come from?

Also, is the fricative velar soundless /x/ (like the g in Egipto) an heredity from the Arabic?
Jordi   Monday, December 20, 2004, 05:46 GMT
I already answered that a few months ago when you asked. Te deshhhhheo una felizzzzz navidad y un próssssshpero año nuevo.