Languages Spoken in Spain


What languages and dialects are used in Spain?

Spain is a country with a rich cultural heritage and one of the ways that this can be seen is through the different languages that are spoken in various regions. While the official language of Spain is Spanish (Castilian), there are also several regional languages that are widely used and also have official recognition.

Spanish (Castilian)

Don Quixote statue, Madrid – Image by Car Loss Voniya

Spanish, also called Castilian, is the official language of Spain and the most widespread language spoken in the country. This Romance language originated in the Castile region of Spain and then expanded throughout the country in the course of the Spanish Empire’s colonial era. Spanish is spoken by approximately 75% of the Spanish population as their native language and is also spoken in numerous other countries globally, such as Latin America and parts of the United States.


Barcelona – Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer

Catalan is a Romance language that is spoken primarily in the Catalonia region of Spain, as well as in Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and the eastern part of Aragon. It is also spoken in the Roussillon region of France and the city of Alghero in Italy. Catalan has official recognition in Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands, and it is the second most commonly spoken language in Catalonia after Spanish.


Cathedral Santiago Compostela – Image by javier alamo

Galician is a Romance language that is spoken mostly in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. It has official recognition in Galicia and is also spoken in some parts of Asturias and Castile and León. Galician shares many similarities with Portuguese and is sometimes considered a dialect of Portuguese, although it is recognized as a distinct language itself.


City of San Sebastian / Donostisa by Carlos Diaz

Basque, also known as Euskara, is a language isolate – a language that has no known relationship with any other languages- Euskara is spoken primarily in the Basque Country, which is located in northern Spain and southwestern France. It is the only surviving pre-Indo-European language in Western Europe and has no known linguistic relatives. Basque has official recognition in the Basque Country and is the only co-official language in Spain that is not Romance.

Other Regional Languages Spoken in Spain

In addition to the four main languages above, there are also several other regional languages spoken in Spain, although they are not as widely spoken or recognized. These include Aranese, a dialect of Occitan that is spoken in the Val d’Aran region of Catalonia, and Asturian, a Romance language that is spoken primarily in Asturias.

Image by Stephen Shaw –, CC BY-SA 3.0