Published April 18, 2018
This video was recorded by Ana Laguna in Salamanca, Spain, where she and José Benito met at a conference for the Leonese language. Leonese is spoken by as many as 50,000 people, primarily in the Castile y León region of western Spain. A variety of the Astur-Leonese dialect continuum, Leonese bears close resemblance to other languages in the region, including Asturian, Extremaduran, Mirandese, and Cantabrian; collectively, all have been varyingly described as separate but similar languages, or distinct dialects of a single mother tongue. Grammatically and in vocabulary, the Astur-Leonese languages share traits with Portuguese, Galician, and Spanish Like most other Romance languages, Leonese first emerged in the tenth century CE from local dialects of Vulgar Latin, and was a language of government and literature, until it was displaced by Spanish in the fourteenth century CE. Though the language remains unrecognized today, the language’s use in media has grown considerably since the 1900s, with literature, music, and online content. José Benito’s variety, the Palra d’El Rebollal, is spoken in the municipalities around the city of Salamanca.