The Valencian language is a regional language spoken in the Valencian Community of eastern Spain, where it is recognized as an official language alongside Spanish. Valencian is also spoken in some neighboring areas of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.
Valencian is a Romance language that shares many similarities with Catalan, and the two languages are often considered to be part of the same linguistic continuum. The Valencian language has a rich literary tradition, and it is used in the media, education, and public administration in the Valencian Community.
Despite being a minority language, efforts have been made to promote and preserve Valencian, and there is an ongoing debate about its relationship to Catalan and the extent to which it should be differentiated from it.
- The origins of Valencian can be traced back to the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis, which included the territory of Valencia.
- During the Middle Ages, Valencian developed as a distinct Romance language in the Kingdom of Valencia, which was established by James I of Aragon in 1238.
- In the 15th and 16th centuries, Valencian underwent a process of standardization and codification, with the publication of grammar books, dictionaries, and other linguistic works.
- Valencian was the language of the prestigious Valencian School of Poetry, which flourished in the 15th century and produced notable writers such as Ausiàs March and Joanot Martorell.
- During the 16th and 17th centuries, Valencian was widely used in the fields of law, administration, and diplomacy, both in the Kingdom of Valencia and in other parts of Europe.
- In the 18th and 19th centuries, Valencian underwent a period of decline, as a result of the centralizing policies of the Spanish Bourbon monarchy, which favored the use of Castilian Spanish.
- In the early 20th century, Valencian was revitalized as part of the Renaixença cultural movement, which sought to reclaim and promote the regional languages and cultures of Catalonia and Valencia.
- In 1982, the Statute of Autonomy of the Valencian Community recognized Valencian as an official language, along with Castilian Spanish.
- During the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975), the use of Valencian was suppressed and stigmatized, and the language was subject to censorship and persecution.
- Since the transition to democracy in the late 1970s, Valencian has experienced a resurgence, and it is now used in a wide range of domains, including education, media, literature, and politics.