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Iberian Romance languages

The formation of Iberian Romance languages followed more or less this process:

From this point on, the Iberian Peninsula followed a distinct path:

  1. Separation of Catalan for one side and the rest of Iberian Romance for the other. During this stage a set of romance dialects was spoken in Muslim areas of Iberia called Mozarabic. Catalan is regarded as a transition language between Iberian Romance and Gallo-Romance.
  2. Iberian Romance splits between Castilian and Galician-Portuguese (among other dialects/languages).
  3. Galician-Portuguese splits into two languages (although some still consider them the same language): Galician and Portuguese. Portuguese split from Galician when the Portuguese population contacted with speakers of Mozarabic - this explains why Portuguese has so many words of Arab origin (borrowed from Mozarabic).

It is important to note that power structures influenced enormously the formation of Iberian languages. If kingdoms and states had formed in a different fashion, we would have, perhaps, a sole Galician-Portuguese language, many other languages, or something completly different. This political aspect was important for every language. Let's see:

So, there are four Romance languages in Iberia today (apart from minor ones, like Astur-Leonese - Mirandese, Bable -, Occitan, etc.):

Portuguese, Spanish and Catalan have the status of international languages, being officially spoken in more than one state: Occitan and Astur-Leonese are also international languages, but not officially so, since they are official in only one state.

Portuguese and Spanish are both in the ten most spoken languages in the world.