The Galician Academy requires the Principality of Asturias to include Galician as an official language

“In the Principality of Asturias there are two own or traditional languages”, states the Royal Galician Academy (RAG), “Asturian and Galician”, which is spoken between the mouth of the Eo and the Freixulfe stream (Navia City Council) and “Between the Teixedais de Taramundi mountain and the El Palo mountain range”. The institution in charge of ensuring the Galician language has sent the Government of the Principality of Asturias a trilingual report (Galician, Asturian and Spanish) in which it claims the co-officiality of the language that has survived in the border territories, with similar characteristics in both communities. The Academy also regrets having learned from the press of the linguistic proposal for the new statutory framework, “which contemplates the official status of Asturian throughout the autonomous community, but limits this consideration for Galician exclusively to its territorial scope.”

Not satisfied with this, the RAG demands “the same treatment for the two own languages ​​of Asturias” and criticizes that the Administration chooses to refer to Galician the term “eo-naviego”, which “seems to have the purpose of making invisible” the language that unites the inhabitants on both sides of the territorial border. Approved in its last plenary session, the Galician Academy report on the reform of the Statute of Autonomy of Asturias has been sent to the presidency of that Community and to the parliamentary groups. In it successive linguistic studies are cited throughout history.

“The RAG wishes”, in addition to protection, “that the law of use provided for Galician is official in its variant” eonaviega “throughout the territory of the Principality,” according to the text submitted. The objective is “that its speakers have the same rights as those of Asturian, as in Catalonia those of the Occitan language have them, called Aranese in Arán”.

Regarding the replacement of Galician by eo-Naviego in the draft reform, the RAG points out that it is common in Europe that “political borders do not coincide with linguistic ones” and that there is a “continuity of the spoken language” between neighboring communities . “The fact that the linguistic variety in question has a glotonym that corresponds to the language of another community, in this case Galician, is not a reason for conflict or rejection,” argue the academics. It is, they say, to collaborate and seek “joint future strategies” to “protect the rights” of speakers.

In its article 4, the Statute of Autonomy in force in Asturias, from 1981, only mentions the bable and says that “it will enjoy protection” and that, therefore, “its use, its dissemination in the media and its teaching will be promoted.” Law 1/98 on the use and promotion of Bable / Asturian defines it as “traditional language of Asturias” and refers to “Galician / Asturian” as “its own linguistic modality”. But the RAG cites research on the Galician of Asturias carried out since the end of the 19th century and recalls that the general consideration among linguists is that the people speak of the banks of the Eo and Navia “are a variety of Galician, and not Asturian” .

In the eighties, the RAG recalls, “Xosé Lluis García Arias, president of the Asturian Llingua Academy (ALLA), and Ana María Cano González, a member of its governing board, shared that opinion.” But no longer in the nineties, the Galician academics lament, because “they affect the continuum from Eo-Navia, interpreted as a ‘no man’s land’, with an ambiguous ‘transitional language’.

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In 1983, in a text on the minority languages ​​of the peninsula, García Arias affirmed that the linguistic borders of Galician and Portuguese do not coincide with the political ones. “It is in any case of penetrations towards the east”, he wrote, “always difficult to delimit, which include small strips or enclaves in Asturias, León, Zamora, Salamanca, Extremadura.” It also estimated that “4% of Asturians” were “users or possible users of the linguistic varieties called Galician-Asturian by Dámaso Alonso.” In 1997, however, the same expert admitted in an article that “the perfect solution” to the definition of border speech “will never be found.” For her part, the Asturian academic Ana María Cano recognized in 1987 that in the Eo and Navia fringes “a variety of Galician from Lugo” was spoken. But in 1992, the RAG report collects, the scholar already spoke of a “transition zone, intermingling Galician features with Asturians.”

In an article from 1943, Dámaso Alonso referred to the “Galician from western Asturias”, characteristic of “a politically Asturian region, linguistically Galician, with a decreasing Asturian influence as one advances towards the Eo”. And he repeated this in later works, such as a 1954 text in which he specified that the municipalities of Taramundi and Santiso de Abres are “almost fully Galician in the language.”

The nameless “fala”

In the last 30 years, in Asturias the name “bable” has been abandoned due to its “pejorative and disintegrating connotations”, describes the RAG. Today, mostly, Asturian or Asturian llingua is used. “However, in the case of the language in Eo-Navia, the authorities use various gluttons with which they complicate the situation and make the Galician-speaking Asturian Eonaviegos lack a name for the language they speak,” finally criticizes the Galician Academy.

The RAG points out that a field work by researcher Xoán Babarro (2021) collects testimonies from residents of these regions in which they declare unable to name their way of expressing themselves beyond calling it “speech” (speaks). “I don’t call him anything, because we haven’t been told he was yet“(I don’t call him anything, because they haven’t told us what it was yet), says a resident of Grandela (Tapia) in perfect Galician. “We call him Galician, yes, because you are going to Ribadeo [Lugo] and you hear the same talk ”, admits this neighbor nonetheless. In Roda, another town in the same municipality, they respond: “People don’t call it anything, but they know they speak Galician.”

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