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There is no consensus on a standardized orthography: a survey among 228 speakers and/or students of Aragonese suggested that several spelling systems were used1). Most used the Propuesta Ortografica from 2010 (46%), developed by the Academia de l'Aragonés.
Aragonese is spoken in the northern area of Aragon (the Pyrenean area) and the language is fragmented into several dialects that are closely related to each other.
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|Aragonese language area|
|KML track: aragonese|
In the 2011 Censo de Población y Viviendas (Population and Housing Census), the Government of Aragon included several questions regarding the knowledge and use of Aragonese or Catalan (cf table 1). According to the census’ answers, there are as many as 8,618 speakers of Aragonese residing in the metropolitan area of Zaragoza. Zaragoza is not part of the linguistic area of Aragonese, but many families moved to this area, and there are a number of new Aragonese speakers as well (source: Government of Aragon, 2011; Seminario Aragonés de Socialingüística, 2015).
|Population and Housing Census of 2011||Can speak||Can understand||total population|
|entire Aragon||1.9% (25,556)||3.3% (44,439)||100% (1,331,189)|
|area of historical use||5.3% (8,425)||9.4% (14,924)||100% (159,010)|
|area where it is a language of communication||19.4% (4,457)||28.4% (6,540)||100% (22,999)|
Prior to the 1990's the Aragonese language had no place in the education system. The Aragonese activist movement began to demand one in the seventies (for example the L’aragonés t’a escuela campaign, promoted by the CFA). In the academic year 1984/1985, seventeen city councils and fourteen schools formally asked for the education of the Aragonese language, but it was not implemented. In the academic year 1997/1998 Aragonese became an extra-curricular, non-evaluable, voluntary subject, due to an agreement between Aragon’s Government and four city councils. In 2005 the Aragon Government published new Orders, which enabled schools in the Aragonese and Catalan language regions to teach Aragonese and Catalan, and also to use these languages as media of instruction.3)
Aragonese is covered under Part III of the Charter.
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Aragonese is neither an official language in the whole of Spain nor in the Autonomous Community of Aragon, Spain. The Spanish constitution states that Castillian is the official language of Spain, but “other Spanish languages shall also be official in the respective autonomous communities in accordance with their Statutes” (Article 3). In response to this, several Autonomous Communities have made locally spoken languages official, but this has not happened for Aragonese.4)
In Spain, primary, and secondary education are regulated by the educational laws LOE (2006), and LOMCE (2013). These laws state that multilingual education is arranged in consultation with the Autonomous Communities.
In Aragon, the pre-school curriculum states that, in areas where Aragonese and Catalan are spoken, those languages will be used as medium of instruction and will receive similar treatment as Spanish.
The curriculum for primary education (2014) states that, in some Areas of Aragon, teaching Aragonese social and cultural heritage (including the Aragonese language) is compulsory, and can be offered as an elective examinational subject. Article 19 allows schools to teach regional language during school hours, and to use these languages as medium of instruction.5)
According to the LOMCE, the aim of compulsory secondary education is to ensure that students who are educated in the basic cultural elements, are able to develop and consolidate study and work habits and prepare for their incorporation into higher education or the labour market (Title I, Chapter III).
According to the LOMCE, the aim of the baccalaureate is to provide pupils with training, human- and intellectual maturity, knowledge and skills to enable them to develop social functions and to allow them to access higher education (Title I, Chapter IV).
According to article 15 of the current LLA-2013, the government must ensure adequate initial and permanent training and, specifically, teacher training needed for the teaching of the regional languages. To access regional language teaching positions, teachers shall prove their knowledge of the language in the form that will be established by the regulation, taking into account the local varieties.
Though the curriculum states that Aragonese and Catalan are to be used as media of instruction in areas where these languages are spoken, language of instruction is Spanish in all cases. At some pre-school locations, Aragonese lessons are offered. Usually these locations are housed at primary schools, where primary school teachers also teach Aragonese at pre-school level. There are schools where all the children have to take Aragonese as a compulsory subject, where it is offered as a voluntary subject during regular class hours, and it is offered as a voluntary subject after school.
Class time ranges from 30 minutes to one hour and 45 min per week.6)
There are no teaching materials available. Usually, teachers make these themselves.
Although Aragonese could theoretically be the language of instruction, according to the primary education curriculum of Aragon, no school has exercised this option. in contrast to two schools in the Catalan-speaking areas of Aragon, where science is taught using the Catalan language as the medium of instruction.
Though the curriculum allows schools to offer Aragonese as a examination subject within school hours, all schools offer Aragonese as a non-examination subject outside of school hours. Students receive Aragonese between 30 minutes and 2 hours per week.
In the current curriculum for secondary education, established in 2007, it is possible to use Aragonese as a language of instruction for multiple courses, but this has not yet been done. The curriculum does not detail the content and pedagogical aspects of the Aragonese subject. These aspects were developed in a new ESO-level curriculum. However, at the time of writing, this curriculum is not yet in use, as the new Aragonese government elected in May 2015 suspended the application of all the LOMCE curricula in compulsory and non-compulsory secondary education.
Aragonese is a voluntary subject in secondary education but has been insufficiently deployed. In recent years, Aragonese has been taught as a non-curricular subject outside school time in three high schools: IES Sobrarbe in Aínsa, IES Pirineos in Jaca and IES San Alberto Magno in Sabiñánigo. In the school year 2013/2014, for the first tim,e a specialist teacher in secondary education was incorporated (including the baccalaureate), with students registered in Aragonese receiving two hours per week of language lessons. Previously, this class was taught by a primary school teacher. In the school year 2014/2015, Aragonese has been introduced for the first time in CRA Alto Ara, which includes the first two years of secondary education.
The Aragonese language is taught in several adult courses throughout Aragon and not exclusively in the actual territory of the language. Therefore, in areas of central and southern Aragon like Tarazona, Calatayud, Andorra and Teruel, cultural associations teach the standard variety. The standard variety is also taught in other towns near the Pyrenees where the language has been lost. Huesca, Barbastro or Monzón, among other important cities, have introductory courses. Finally, in villages where Aragonese is still actively used, there are courses in the local variety.
Zaragoza is the central and main city of Aragon with a population of 700,000 people. Throughout history migration took place from the rural areas to Zaragoza. The number of courses given and the numbers of students following Aragonese language courses are the highest in Zaragoza.
The University of Zaragoza offers the possibility to study the Bachelor’s degree in Magisterio (teaching) both for pre-primary and primary education, which is the required degree to become a teacher in these educational stages. These degrees can be done in Huesca, Zaragoza and Teruel. In order to teach in secondary education, teachers must also complete a Máster de Profesorado en Educación Secundaria (Master’s degree programme in secondary education teaching), in addition to a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent). This official master is offered in the campuses of Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel.
CIFE Ana Abarca de Bolea (Educational Formation and Innovation Centre covering the Aragonese-speaking area)
Instituto de Estudios Altoaragoneses (High Aragon Cultural Institute)
Asociación Cultural Nogará-Religada (Cultural Association for language promotion and teaching)
Consello d’a Fabla Aragonesa (Cultural Association for language study, promotion and teaching)
Estudio de Filolochía Aragonesa (Academia de l’Aragonés) (Association created as a linguistic regulatory body in the II Congress of Aragonese)
Instituto Aragonés de Antropología (Aragonese Institute of Anthropology)
Ligallo de Fablans de l’Aragonés (Cultural Association for language promotion and teaching)
Sociedat de Lingüistica Aragonesa (Cultural Association for language study, promotion and teaching)
Ambistas/Anvistas (Documentary film and web-doc about Aragonese)
Archivo Audiovisual de l’Aragonés (Audiovisual Archive of Aragonese: repository of videos of native Aragonese speakers)
Arredol.com (A digital newspaper in Aragonese)
Read more about the Aragonese language education in Mercator's Regional Dossier (2017).
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