The Iberian Romance, Ibero-Romance or simply Iberian languages, is an areal grouping of Romance languages that developed on the Iberian Peninsula, an area consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra, and in southern France which are today more commonly separated into West Iberian and Occitano-Romance language groups.
Evolved from the Vulgar Latin of Iberia, the most widely spoken Iberian Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan and Galician. These languages also have their own regional and local varieties. Based on mutual intelligibility, Dalby counts seven "outer" languages, or language groups: Galician-Portuguese, Spanish, Astur-Leonese, "Wider"-Aragonese, "Wider"-Catalan, Provençal+Lengadocian, and "Wider"-Gascon.
In addition to those languages, there are a number of Portuguese-based creole languages and Spanish-based creole languages, for instance Papiamento.
Origins and development
Linguistic map of southwestern Europe
Like all Romance languages, the Iberian Romance languages descend from Vulgar Latin, the nonstandard (in contrast to Classical Latin) form of the Latin language spoken by soldiers and merchants throughout the Roman Empire. With the expansion of the empire, Vulgar Latin came to be spoken by inhabitants of the various Roman-controlled territories. Latin and its descendants have been spoken in Iberia since the Punic Wars, when the Romans conquered the territory (see Roman conquest of Hispania).
The modern Iberian Romance languages were formed roughly through the following process:
- The Romanization of the local Iberian population.
- The diversification of Latin spoken in Iberia, with slight differences depending on location.
- Development of Old Spanish, Galician-Portuguese, Astur-Leonese and Navarro-Aragonese (the West Iberian languages) and early Catalan language from Latin between the eighth and tenth centuries. The genetic classification of early Catalan and Occitan is uncertain. Some scholars place it within Ibero-Romance (hence it would be East Iberian), others place it within Gallo-Romance.
- Further development into modern Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Asturian, Leonese, Mirandese, etc. (see languages of Iberia: languages of Spain, languages of Portugal and languages of Andorra) between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries.