First sketch for a map of the Spanish dialects in the Iberian Peninsula.

This page intends to fill a notorious gap, not only in the Internet but also in books about the subject, about which is the area of the main dialects of Spanish in Spain. What we call here "dialects" are mainly phonetic variants.

The Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands and in the Americas is not considered here, because of its geographical discontinuity with the Iberian Peninsula.

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Map Legend

In black : zones where historically Spanish is not the local language.

Zones A - E :

Zone A : Maximum extent of the Astur-Leonese area. The local language, called Asturian, Bable, Leonese, Astur-Leonese, does not stem from Spanish, but historically it has lacked any official status, Spanish being used in all formal contexts. Much of the local population has as mother tongue Spanish with Astur-Leonese influences, rather than Astur-Leonese proper. There are transition dialects with Galician and with Spanish.

Zone B : Maximum extent of the Aragonese area. The local language, called Aragonese, High Aragonese, Fabla Aragonesa, does not stem from Spanish, but historically it has lacked any official status, Spanish being used in all formal contexts. Much of the local population has as mother tongue Spanish with Aragonese influences, rather than Aragonese proper. There are transition dialects with Catalan and with Spanish. The various dialects of Aragonese have little cohesion.

Zone C : Northern Spanish zone. The limit with D zone is marked by the isogloss for the postvocalic 's' and 'z' aspiration. Historically in this area the 's' and 'z' sounds were never aspirated before the big internal migrations of the 1950-1975 years. The local Spanish for the zone is often considered the "correct" one, however it is very seldom used in the spanish media, most of which have their headquarters in Madrid.

Zone D : Central-Southern Spanish zone. The limit with D zone is marked by the isogloss for the postvocalic 's' and 'z' aspiration, and with E zone by the isogloss for the prevocalic 's' and 'z' sounds distinction. In this area the postvocalic 's' and 'z' sounds are always or most of the times aspirated in conversational speech, and when they're not aspirated it is as the result of a conscious effort by the speaker to sound more "formal" or "cultured". However, even in the most formal context the aspiration is never completely avoided. The postvocalic 's' and 'z' sounds aspiration is a complex phonetic change that can result in different sound solutions. In prevocalic position the 's' and 'z' sounds are always different, just like in the North. In certain treaties the Spanish spoken in this zone is not considered "correct", nevertheless it is the one overwhelmingly used in the spanish media.

Zone E : Southern Spanish zone. The limit with E zone is marked by the isogloss for the prevocalic 's' and 'z' sounds distinction. In this area the /s/ and /z/ phonemes are pronounced in a variety of ways, but they never differentiate word pairs such as caza/casa, cocer/coser. There is postvocalic 's' and 'z' aspiration, just like in the D zone. In many treaties the Spanish spoken in this zone is not only considered "incorrect", but sometimes even "vulgar". It is very seldom used in the spanish media, even in those based in the South of Spain.

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Resources and links. Information sources used for this page (in Spanish where not stated) :

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Versión en español :   Aproximación a un mapa de los dialectos del castellano en la península Ibérica.

Additional maps :   Isogloss maps for Iberian Peninsula Spanish, according to the ALPI (Linguistic Atlas of the Iberian Peninsula).

If you have any question or comment about this page, please send it to

    jota.martin@hotmail.com