What Languages Are Spoken in Spain?


Travelers thinking about going to Spain will no doubt be brought in to its multiculturalism– from villages experienced on the Camino de Santiago to the abundant architecture of Barcelona. Did you understand that Spain is likewise abundant in linguistic variety? While 99 percent of the population speaks Spanish, there are presently about fifteen other minority languages spoken on mainland Spain, consisting of 3 various sort of indication language– and more if you count its areas.

In this post, we’ll check out Spain’s minority languages and where they’re spoken so that you’ll get a more comprehensive concept of Spanish culture. You can boost your stay by finding out Spanish with Rosetta Stone if you’re thrilled by the concept of taking a trip to Spain or even living there. Our platform utilizes a distinctively immersive method that promotes your inherent language-learning capabilities by providing acoustic and visual context. Try it out today! 

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What is the main language of Spain?

Spanish is the main language of Spain, and almost every citizen speaks it. Considering that Spanish originated from Latin, it’s thought about a Romance language. In the 3rd century, when the Romans brought Latin to Iberia– comprising what is now Spain, Portugal, and a couple of other little areas– there had to do with 5 languages spoken there. Around the ninth century, Latin started to progress into Spanish, however it was likewise affected by other establishing languages on the Peninsula, consisting of Portuguese, Catalan, and Occitan.

Spanish was likewise greatly affected by Arabic. Arabs started dominating the Iberian Peninsula, understood then as Hispania, in the year 711, beginning with the southern area of Andalusia. The word Andalusia itself originates from the Arabic word Al-Andalus.

Over the course of a number of centuries, various caliphates, empires, and little states managed differing locations of the Peninsula up until 1492. At the very same time Jewish individuals and Christians populated Hispania, therefore developing an intricate cultural and spiritual scenario. Christians residing in Arab areas spoke Mozarabic, a Spanish dialect utilizing both Arabic and latin. Today, about 4 thousand words in Spanish come from Arabic, and modern science owes its origins to clinical texts brought by the Arabs and equated into Latin throughout the Al-Andalus duration.

Spanish is likewise described as Castilian Spanish, or castellano in Spanish, since it connects to the location in Spain called Castile in the main location of the nation, instead of other languages that established in the provinces. Castilian Spanish is the language of Don Quijote, thought about by some to be the very first modern-day book.

Bear in mind that nowadays Spain likewise has a number of areas such as the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, and 2 cities in North Africa. When we utilize the term Peninsular Spain, we’re speaking about the mainland.


How lots of languages are spoken in Spain?

As we pointed out, there are approximately fifteen minority languages in Spain, consisting of indication languages distinct to Catalan and spanish! Listed below, the most regularly spoken languages are noted. Keep in mind that a few of these languages are thought about by some to be ranges of one another.

  1. Catalan *
  2. Valencian *
  3. Galician *
  4. Basque *
  5. Leonese and asturian
  6. Aragonese
  7. Aranese *
  8. Gascon (Occitan)
  9. Aragonese
  10. Fala
  11. Silbo Gomero (a whistled language)
  12. Portuguese (in a little location)
  13. Darija Arabic
  14. Berber languages such as Amazigh and Riffian
  15. Caló

Nearly half individuals in Spainlive in a territory where a minority language is spoken Lots of areas, 17 to be specific, are thought about Autonomous Communities (A/C), which are areas in Spain gave some level of autonomy by the Constitution of 1978. A few of these ACs have actually stated their regional languages as main and are even utilized in governmental procedures, sometimes. This is a big action in regards to linguistic rights, thinking about that throughout the period of Spain’s dictatorship, from 1939-1975, languages aside from Spanish were quelched. The languages noted above now offered co-official status in the ACs have actually been marked with an asterisk.

As you can see, the variety of languages spoken in Spain is excellent, which’s not counting the languages spoken by visitors and migrants! If you go to Spain, something’s for specific: you will not be doing not have in cultural stimulation.


Understanding the languages of Spain

To comprehend Spain, it’s excellent to have a standard sense of the languages spoken there, particularly since language is constantly linked to culture. Beyond Central Spain, it will not be uncommon to hear these languages being spoken together with Spanish, and Spaniards in those locations may include a word or more of their regional language, veritat? That indicates “best” or “real” in Catalan, the second-most spoken language of the nation. All of the languages noted below are Romance languages other than for Arabic.


As we pointed out, Spanish is spoken by practically all Spaniards, and it’s the main language of Spain. Simply for the record, it’s likewise the main language of twenty countries around the globe, so if you discover Spanish you’ll have the ability to interact with mucha gente … a great deal of individuals.

>>Here’s 100+ essential Spanish words and phrases to get you started.


Catalan is spoken by about a tenth of the population in Spain, and it’s a main language in the area of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, which are a group of islands off the east coast. It’s likewise spoken in Andorra– a small sovereign country in between Spain and France, a little location in southern France called Catalunya Nord, the city of Alghero in Italy, and parts of the Spanish states of Valencia and Aragon. Remarkable, no? Considering that a minimum of the seventeenth century, Catalonia has actually shown specific autonomy from and stress with the main federal government of Spain. In the last couple of years there has actually been growing interest in a possible succession.

The language reveals some resemblances to Spanish, and Spanish speakers will certainly acknowledge some words, expressions, and verb conjugations. It varies substantially from Spanish in vocabulary and pronunciation.

Some confusion (and even debate!) exists about the distinction in between Catalan and Valencian, which is why you may see it noted as “Catalan/Valencian” or noted individually. Valencians might describe Catalan as Valencian, yet some individuals think about Valencian to be a range of Catalan. As a main language of the Valencian Community, which is comprised of a number of provinces, Valencian has its own language academy that manages linguistic matters worrying Valencian. This academy states Valencian is merely another name for Catalan, however the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture states it’s an unique language! A lot of Valencian individuals concur. No matter what professionals or layfolk believe, Valencian and Catalan are equally intelligible languages.


As its name recommends, Galician is spoken in the western province of Galicia where it’s a main language, and in some nearby states. Galician, in some cases called Galego, is spoken by about 2 and a half million individuals. From Latin, it progressed into Galician-Portuguese in the middle ages duration when it took pleasure in status as a literary language. The language ultimately divided into the 2 modern-day languages we understand today. Some linguists, called the Reintegrationists, think about these 2 languages to be ranges of the very same tongue. Similar to all languages, Galician has some range depending upon geographical area. It has a fair bit of impact from Castilian Spanish.



Basque, likewise called Euskara, is the only co-official language in Spain that is not a Romance language. It’s called a language isolate, suggesting it does not appear to come from any other language. Basque is spoken in Basque Country and Navarre, in the northern part of Spain, however there is some debate about its status in Navarre. Basque Country area likewise overflows into France. The Basque alphabet is somewhat various from the Spanish one, and it has lots of inflections, which is a method to alter endings of a root word to suggest various things.

Aranese and Occitan

Territorially speaking, Aranese is spoken in a fascinating area: Val d’Aran belongs to Spain and the province of Catalonia, however it’s on the north side of the Pyrenees, the big range of mountains in between France and Spain. This language, thought about a dialect of Occitan, is likewise a co-official language in Catalonia, together with Catalan. Some think about Aranese to be another name for Occitan.

Occitan was the language of the troubadours– poets, authors, and artists of the middle ages duration who produced works concentrated on courtly love– in the location of southern France, northern Spain, and parts of Italy. Today, about one and a half million individuals in the location speak Occitan, a language near to Catalan, and likewise a co-official language in Catalonia.


Asturian is spoken in a province of Asturias situated in the northwestern part of Spain. Coming from a bigger language classification of Asturleonese languages, just about 400,000 individuals in Spain speak the language. It is for that reason thought about to be a threatened language.

Here are a couple of cool aspects of Asturian:

  • It does not utilize the letters j, k, or w
  • Unlike Spanish, it has neuter nouns, which are utilized for more vast or abstract things like water.
  • Pronouns pursue the verb in affirmative declarations.


As we pointed out above, Arabic culture had a strong existence for centuries in Spain since of the Arab attack into the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century. Nowadays, Spain still has areas in what is called Spanish North Africa: the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, exclaves of Morocco. Moroccan Arabic is called Darija Arabic, a language that is mainly spoken not composed. In basic, Standard Arabic is utilized for composed and official product, however Spanish is still the main language of these 2 cities. By the method, Spain likewise has 2 areas off the west coast of Africa: the Canary Islands, whose Spanish affected Latin American Spanish, like that of Mexico.


How does “Spain Spanish” vary from other Spanish such as Mexican Spanish?

Now that you’ve found out a little about the variety of languages in Spain, you may be believing that the Spanish spoken in Spain is basically the very same. Some individuals may call it “Spain Spanish,” however as we pointed out, the proper term is Peninsular or Iberian Spanish. We ‘d like to clarify that simply as there are various dialects of Catalan and Occitan, there are various dialects of Peninsular Spanish. These are little variations in vocabulary, pronunciation, and in some cases grammar, however all Spanish speakers can comprehend one another.

Likewise, there is no homogenous Mexican Spanish, which varies somewhat depending upon the area. It’s likewise a little various than Peninsular Spanish. Here are a few ways these two dialects vary:


Mexicans utilize somewhat various vocabulary for specific words. They state

la torta

when speaking about a sandwich, however Spaniards state el bocadillo Pronunciation The primary distinction in between Spanish speakers in Mexico and Spain is how they pronounce z, ci, and ce In Mexico, the pronunciation of z, ci, and


resembles the “s” noise in English. In Spain, they sound more like a breathy “th” noise. This the well-known Spanish

  • ceceo, the softer pronunciation of these noises and letters. Grammar A number of standard distinctions can be pointed out in regards to the distinction in between Peninsular and Mexican Spanish: The usage of
  • vosotros

in Spain and


in Mexico for the 3rd individual plural “you.”

A small distinction in making use of the previous tenses.Rosetta Stone Indigenous languages in Mexico

A last note: simply as Spain has lots of other languages aside from Spanish, Mexico has lots of native languages such as Nahuatl and Zapoteco.

Explore Spain with Rosetta Stone

As you can see, Spain is really a melting pot of mainly Romance languages. While Spanish is the main language and spoken by practically everybody in Spain, there have to do with fifteen other languages spoken there. It’s a hotbed of history, variety, and culture! Among the very best methods to delight in a service or a journey relationship is to discover the language of the nation, and for that (*) can’t be beat. You’ll begin speaking from the first day without a great deal of tiresome memorization. Why not inspect it out today?(*) Written by Rowena Galavitz(*) Rowena Galavitz is a Spanish translator, multilingual copy editor, and language and literature trainer with 3 master’s degrees who enjoys Spanish and all things Mexico.(*)


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