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Galizan or Galician (Galego) is a language variety of the Western Ibero-Romance branch, spoken in Galiza or Galicia, an autonomous community in northwestern Spain. Historically, Portuguese language originated in Galiza (the Roman Gallaecia) and branched on the 14th century after the Reconquista brought it southwards. Modern Galizan is seen by many as a dialect of Portuguese. However, in some aspects the Portuguese dialects are more conservative than the Galizan ones, which for the most part lost the voiced fricatives[?] /z/, /v/, etc.

It is understood by most of the people in Galiza and among the many Galizan immigrants in the rest of Spain (Madrid, Biscay), Iberoamerica[?] (Buenos Aires) and Europe. For some authors, the situation of language domination in Galiza could be called "diglossia[?]", with Galizan in the lower part of the continuum and Spanish language on the top, while for others the conditions for diglossia established by Ferguson[?] are not met.

In spite of a current of religious and love poetry in the Middle Ages, Galizan was considered provincial and was not widely used for literary or academic purposes until the mid 1800s, and during the Franco regime in Spain it was heavily repressed. With the advent of democracy, Galizan has been brought into the institutions, and it is now co-official with Spanish. A heavily Castilianized version of Galizan is taught in schools. However, for the most part there has been no serious attempt on the part of the Spanish and Galizan institutions to reverse language assimilation and loss.

Its orthography, introduced in 1982 (and made law in 1983) by the Real Academia Galega[?] (based on a report by the "Instituto da Lingua Galega[?]") is strongly based on Castilian. It remains a source of contention, however, as many citizens would rather have the institutions recognize Galizan as a Portuguese variety and therefore opt for the use of the Portuguese writing system, perhaps with some adaptations.

The Spanish state recognized Galizan as one of Spain's four "official languages" (lenguas españolas) (the others being Castilian, Catalan and Basque). Though this is viewed by most as a positive step toward language maintenance, officialness does not guarantee language transmission among the youngest generations. Language and cultural activism has to struggle not only against growing assimilation to Spanish but also against cultural globalization.

Sources on Galizan in the Internet

See also Galizan nationalism[?], Galizan literature[?]

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