Pronunciation [valensiˈa][a 1]
Native to Spain
Region Valencia, Murcia (Carche)
See also geographic distribution of Catalan
Native speakers
2.4 million (2004)[1]
Catalan orthography (Latin script)
Official status
Official language in
In Spain: Valencia
Regulated by Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Valencian (/vəˈlɛnsiən/ or /vəˈlɛnʃən/; endonym: valencià,[3] llengua valenciana, or idioma valencià) is the variety of Catalan as spoken in the Valencian Community, Spain.[4] In the Valencian Community, Valencian is the traditional language and is co-official with Spanish.[5] It is considered a distinct language from Catalan by a slight majority of the people from the Valencian Community; however, linguists consider it a dialect of Catalan. A standardized form exists, based on the Southern Valencian dialect.

Valencian belongs to the Western group of Catalan dialects.[2] Under the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, the Valencian Academy of the Language (Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, AVL) has been established as its regulator. The AVL considers Catalan and Valencian to be simply two names for the same language.[6]

Some of the most important works of Valencian literature experienced a golden age during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Important works include Joanot Martorell's chivalric romance Tirant lo Blanch, and Ausiàs March's poetry. The first book produced with movable type in the Iberian Peninsula was printed in the Valencian variety.[7][8]

Official status

The official status of Valencian is regulated by the Spanish Constitution and the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, together with the Law of Use and Education of Valencian.

Article 6 of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy sets the legal status of Valencian, providing that:[9]

  • The official language of the Valencian Community is Valencian.[10]
  • Valencian is official within the Valencian Community, along with Spanish, which is the official language nationwide. Everyone shall have the right to know it and use it, and receive education in Valencian.
  • No one can be discriminated against by reason of their language.
  • Special protection and respect shall be given to the recuperation of Valencian.
  • The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua shall be the normative institution of the Valencian language.

The Law of Use and Education of Valencian develops this frame work, providing for implementation of a bilingual educational system, and regulating the use of Valencian in the public administration and judiciary system, where citizens can freely use it when acting before both.

Valencian is not one of the recognized languages of the European Union (24 official and 26 minority languages).[11]

Distribution and usage


Valencian is not spoken all over the Valencian Community. Roughly a quarter of its territory, equivalent to 10% of the population (its inland part and areas in the extreme south as well), is traditionally Castilian-speaking only, whereas Valencian is spoken to varying degrees elsewhere.

Additionally, it is also spoken by a reduced number of people in Carche, a rural area in the Region of Murcia adjoining the Valencian Community; nevertheless Valencian does not have any official recognition in this area. Although the Valencian language was an important part of the history of this zone, nowadays only about 600 people are able to speak Valencian in the area of Carche.[12]

Knowledge and usage

Knowledge of Valencian according to the 2001 census. Note that the light green areas inland and in the southernmost part are not historically Valencian speaking (large).

In 2010 the Generalitat Valenciana published a study, Knowledge and Social use of Valencian,[13] which included a survey sampling more than 6,600 people in the provinces of Castellón, Valencia, and Alicante. The survey simply collects the answers of respondents and did not include any testing or verification. The results were:

Valencian was the language "always, generally, or most commonly used":

For ability:

The survey shows that, although Valencian is still the common language in many areas in the Valencian Community, where slightly more than half of the Valencian population are able to speak it, most Valencians do not usually speak in Valencian in their social relations. The statistics hide the fact that in the areas where the language is still strong, most people use Valencian in preference to Castilian in all everyday situations.

Moreover, according to a survey in 2008, there is a downward trend in everyday Valencian users. The lowest numbers are in the major cities of Valencia and Alicante, where the percentage of everyday speakers is in single figures. All in all, in the 1993–2006 period, the number of speakers fell by 10 per cent.[14] One of the factors cited is the increase in the numbers of immigrants from other countries, who tend to favour using Spanish over local languages; accordingly, the number of residents who claim no understanding of Valencian sharply increased. One curiosity in the heartlands mentioned above, is that most of the children of immigrants go to public school and are therefore taught in Valencian and are far more comfortable speaking this with their friends. However, some children of Valencian speakers go to private schools run by the church where the curriculum is in Castilian and consequently this becomes their preferred language.

Features of Valencian

Note that this is a list of features of the main forms of Valencian as a group of dialectal varieties that differ from those of other Catalan dialects, particularly from the Central variety of the language. For more general information on the features of Valencian, see Catalan language. Note also that there is a great deal of variety within the Valencian Community, and by no means do the features below apply to every local version.


Main article: Catalan phonology


Vowels of Valencian, from Saborit Vilar (2009:23)
Vowels of Valencian[15]
 Front   Back 
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Near-open /
ɛ̞ ɔ̞
Main vocalic allophones[16][17]
Phoneme Phone /
Usage Example
/a/ [ɐ̞] / [ɐ]
[a̝] / [æ̞̈]
[ɑ̝] / [ʌ̞̈]
[ɛ̞̈ ~ ɔ̞̈] / [æ̞̈] / [ʌ̞̈]
- Found in most instances
- Before/after palatals (*)
- Before/after velars
- Final unstressed syllables (vowel harmony) (*)
terra / dona
/ɛ/ [ɛ̞]
- Found in most cases (*)
- Before liquids and in monosyllabic terms
/e/ [e̠] / [e̞]
- Found in most instances
- Found in some unstressed syllables near palatals or approximants (vowel harmony) (*)
- Found in fewer cases in some unstressed syllables near velars (vowel harmony) (*)
- Found in the suffix -ixement, dial. also in contact with palatals (*)
/i/ [i̞] / [ɪ̝]
- Found in most instances
- Unstressed position before/after vowels
/ɔ/ [ɔ̞] - Found in most cases (*) dona
/o/ [o̟]
- Found in most instances
- Found in final stressed syllables, especially in the suffix -dor
- Unstressed position before labials or in contact with palatals (*)
/u/ [u̞] / [ʊ̝]
- Found in most instances
- Unstressed position before/after vowels


Consonants of Valencian[18][19][20]
Bilabial Labio-
Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ (ŋ)
Stop p b t d k ɡ
Affricate ts dz
Fricative f v s z ʃ (ʒ)
Approximant j w
Lateral l ʎ
Flap ɾ
Trill ɲ




Different spelling of words with the same etymology
Different choice of words

Some other features, such as the use of molt de or the lack of hom or geminate l, are often given as examples of differences between Valencian varieties and other forms of the language. However, these are actually differences between colloquial and literary language and, again, may not apply to specific sub-dialects. Northern and southern variants of Valencian share more features with western Catalan (Lower Ebro river area for instance) than with central Valencian. Thus, some of the features listed previously do not apply to them.

Varieties of Valencian

Standard Valencian

The Academy of Valencian Studies (Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, AVL), established by law in 1998 by the Valencian autonomous government and constituted in 2001, is in charge of dictating the official rules governing the use of Valencian.[23] Currently, the majority of people who write in Valencian use this standard.[24]

Standard Valencian is based on the standard of the Institute of Catalan Studies (Institut d'Estudis Catalans, IEC), used in Catalonia, with a few adaptations.[25] This standard roughly follows the Rules of Castelló (Normes de Castelló) from 1932,[26] a set of othographic guidelines regarded as a compromise between the essence and style of Pompeu Fabra's guidelines, but also allowing the use of Valencian idiosyncrasies.

Valencian subdialects

Subdialects of Valencian

Authors and literature

Middle Ages


Media in Valencian

Employees demonstrate in front of the RTVV headquarters in Burjassot the day of its closure

Until its dissolution in November 2013, the public-service Ràdio Televisió Valenciana (RTVV) was the main broadcaster of radio and television in Valencian language. The Generalitat Valenciana constituted it in 1984 in order to guarantee the freedom of information of the Valencian people in their own language.[27]

Prior to its dissolution, the administration of RTVV under the People's Party (PP) had been controversial due to accusations of ideological manipulation and lack of plurality. The news broadcast was accused of giving marginal coverage of the Valencia Metro derailment in 2006 and the indictment of President de la Generalitat Francisco Camps in the Gürtel scandal in 2009.[28] Supervisors appointed by the PP were accused of sexual harassment.[29]

In face of an increasing debt due to excessive expenditure by the PP, RTVV announced in 2012 a plan to shed 70% of its labour. The plan was nullified on 5 November 2013 by the National Court after trade unions appealed against it. On that same day, the President de la Generalitat Alberto Fabra (also from PP) announced RTVV would be closed, claiming that reinstating the employees was untenable.[30] On 27 November, the legislative assembly passed the dissolution of RTVV and employees organized to take control of the broadcast, starting a campaign against the PP. Nou TV's last broadcast ended abruptly when Spanish police pulled the plug at 12:19 on 29 November 2013.[31]

Having lost all revenues from advertisements and facing high costs from the termination of hundreds of contracts, critics question whether the closure of RTVV has improved the financial situation of the Generalitat, and point out to plans to benefit private-owned media.[32] Currently, the availability of media in the Valencian language is extremely limited. All the other autonomous communities in Spain, including the monolingual ones, have public-service broadcasters, with the Valencian Community being the only exception despite being the fourth most populated.

Linguistic controversy

Linguists, including Valencian scholars, deal with Catalan and Valencian as the same language. The official regulating body of the language of the Valencian Community, the Valencian Academy of Language (Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, AVL) declares linguistic unity between Valencian and Catalan varieties.[33]

Catalan Wikisource has original text related to this article:
[T]he historical patrimonial language of the Valencian people, from a philological standpoint, is the same shared by the autonomous communinites of Catalonia and Balearic islands, and Principality of Andorra. Additionally, it is the patrimonial historical language of other territories of the ancient Crown of Aragon [...] The different varieties of these territories constitute a language, that is, a "linguistic system" [...] From this group of varieties, Valencian has the same hierarchy and dignity as any other dialectal modality of that linguistic system [...]
Ruling of the Valencian Language Academy of 9 February 2005, extract of point 1.[26][34]

Valencian is classified as a Western dialect, along with the North-Western varieties spoken in Western Catalonia (Province of Lleida and most of the Province of Tarragona).[35][36] The various forms of Catalan and Valencian are mutually intelligible (ranging from 90% to 95%)[37]

The AVL, created by the Valencian parliament, is in charge of dictating the official rules governing the use of Valencian, and its standard is based on the Rules of Castellón (Normes de Castelló). Currently, everyone who writes in Valencian uses this standard, except the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture (Acadèmia de Cultura Valenciana, RACV), which uses an independent standard for Valencian.

Despite the position of the official organizations, an opinion poll carried out between 2001 and 2004[38] showed that the majority of the Valencian people consider Valencian different from Catalan. This position is promoted by people who do not use Valencian regularly.[39] Furthermore, the data indicates that younger generations educated in Valencian are much less likely to hold these views. A minority of Valencian scholars active in fields other than linguistics defends the position of the Royal Academy of Valencian Culture (Acadèmia de Cultura Valenciana, RACV), which uses a standard independent from Catalan for Valencian.[40]

This clash of opinions has sparked a great deal of controversy. For example, during the drafting of the European Constitution in 2004, the Spanish government supplied the European Union with translations of the text into Basque, Galician, Catalan, and Valencian, but the latter two were identical.[41]

See also


  1. Narrow transcription: [vɑ̝̈ɫ̺e̠n̺s̠ɪ̝ˈa̠, v̞ɑ̝̈-]. Pronunciation with betacism (that is, /b/ and /v/ merging): [bɑ̝̈ɫ̺e̠n̺s̠ɪ̝ˈa̠, β̞ɑ̝̈-]).


  1. Míriam Luján; Carlos D. Martínez; Vicente Alabau, Evaluation of several Maximum Likelihood Linear Regression variants for language adaptation (PDF), Proceedings of the sixth international conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, LREC 2008, the total number of people who speak Catalan is 7,200,000, (...). The Valencian dialect is spoken by 27% of all Catalan speakers. citing Vilajoana, Jordi, and Damià Pons. 2001. Catalan, Language of Europe. Generalitat de Catalunya, Department de Cultura. Govern de les Illes Balears, Conselleria d’Educació i Cultura.
  2. 1 2 Wheeler 2006.
  3. Estatut d'Autonomía de la Comunitat Valenciana
  4. Wheeler 2006, p. 186.
  5. Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, ed. (2005). "Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua Agreement (AVL)" (PDF) (in Catalan). Valencia.
  6. "Dictamen de l'Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua sobre els principis i criteris per a la defensa de la denominació i l'entitat del valencià". Report from Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua about denomination and identity of Valencian.
  7. Trobes en llaors de la Verge Maria ("Poems of praise of the Virgin Mary") 1474.
  8. 1 2 Costa Carreras & Yates, pp. 6–7.
  9. Estatuto de Autonomía de la Comunitat Valenciana
  10. "La lengua propia de la Comunitat Valenciana es el valenciano."
  11. "Official languages of the EU - European Commission". Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  13. "Servei d'Investigació i Estudis Sociolingüístics (Knowledge and Social use of Valencian language)". Servei d’Investigació i Estudis Sociolingüístics. 2010. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. "El uso del valenciano cae siete puntos y ya sólo lo habla la mitad de la población". 26 September 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  15. Saborit Villar (2009:23)
  16. Saborit Villar (2009:?)
  17. Recasens (1996:?)
  18. Saborit Villar (2009:52)
  19. Lacreu i Cuesta, Josep (2002), "Valencian", Manual d'ús de l'estàndard oral (6th ed.), Valencia: Universitat de València, pp. 40–4, ISBN 84-370-5390-0.
  20. "L'estàndard oral del valencià (2002)" (PDF). Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua.
  21. According to some studies, the Valencian /l/ is less velarised than in Eastern Catalan (Recasens). However, other studies suggest that the Valencian /l/ found in Northern and Southern Valencia is as velarised as the one in Eastern dialects (Saborit).
  22. 1 2 3 Badia i Margarit, Antoni M. (1995). Gramática de la llengua catalana: Descriptiva, normativa, diatópica, diastrática (in Catalan). Barcelona: Proa.
  23. Statute of Autonomy of the Valencian Community, article 6, section 4.
  24. Lledó 2011, p. 339.
  25. Lledó 2011, p. 338.
  26. 1 2 Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua 2005.
  27. "Ley de Creación de la Entidad Pública Radiotelevisión Valenciana" (PDF). UGT RTTV. 1984. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  28. "Los escándalos de Canal 9". 2013. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  29. "Sanz, destituït de secretari general de RTVV per assetjament sexual". Vilaweb. 2010. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  30. "El fracaso de Fabra acaba con el PP". El País. 2013. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  31. "Polic evict staff in Spain after closure of station". BBC. 2013. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. "El coste del cierre de RTVV asciende a 144,1 millones". Levante-EMV. 2014. Retrieved April 2015. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  33. "Dictamen de l'Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua sobre els principis i criteris per a la defensa de la denominació i l'entitat del valencià". Report from Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua about denomination and identity of Valencian.
  34. Original full text of Dictamen 1: D’acord amb les aportacions més solvents de la romanística acumulades des del segle XIX fins a l’actualitat (estudis de gramàtica històrica, de dialectologia, de sintaxi, de lexicografia…), la llengua pròpia i històrica dels valencians, des del punt de vista de la filologia, és també la que compartixen les comunitats autònomes de Catalunya i de les Illes Balears i el Principat d’Andorra. Així mateix és la llengua històrica i pròpia d’altres territoris de l’antiga Corona d’Aragó (la franja oriental aragonesa, la ciutat sarda de l’Alguer i el departament francés dels Pirineus Orientals). Els diferents parlars de tots estos territoris constituïxen una llengua, és a dir, un mateix "sistema lingüístic", segons la terminologia del primer estructuralisme (annex 1) represa en el Dictamen del Consell Valencià de Cultura, que figura com a preàmbul de la Llei de Creació de l’AVL. Dins d’eixe conjunt de parlars, el valencià té la mateixa jerarquia i dignitat que qualsevol altra modalitat territorial del sistema lingüístic, i presenta unes característiques pròpies que l’AVL preservarà i potenciarà d’acord amb la tradició lexicogràfica i literària pròpia, la realitat lingüística valenciana i la normativització consolidada a partir de les Normes de Castelló.
  35. Feldhausen 2010, p. 5.
  36. Wheeler 2005, pp. 2–3.
  37. Central Catalan has 90% to 95% inherent intelligibility for speakers of Valencian (1989 R. Hall, Jr.), cited on Ethnologue.
  38. Casi el 65% de los valencianos opina que su lengua es distinta al catalán, según una encuesta del CIS
  39. Wheeler 2003, p. 207.
  40. List of RACV academics
  41. Isabel I Vilar, Ferran. "Traducció única de la Constitució europea". I-Zefir. 30 Oct 2004. 29 Apr 2009.


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