General Country Information

Languages: "Castilian is the official Spanish language of Spain" states Section 3/1 of the Spanish Constitution.  All the Spanish “have the obligation to know it and the right to use it”. At the same time it remarks “other Spanish languages will be also official in their correspondent Autonomous Communities according to their Statutes” (Section 3/2).

Co-official Languages: There are three major co-official languages in Spain depending on the administration of their own autonomous communities. These are: Catalan, Galician and Basque. At the same time, since 2006, the Aranese language (spoken in a small area of Catalonia) has been officially recognised as a co-official language in Catalonia. Aragonese, Asturian and Leonese are minority languages, recognised, but not official. Spain signed and ratified the European Charter of Minority for Regional or Miniority Languages.
A "curiosum" is the unofficial Whistled Language of La Gomera (Canary Islands) that got the status of UNESCO intangible heritage in 2009.

Areas where spoken:
Catalan (Català) is spoken in eastern and northeastern Spain, chiefly in Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Isles, the eastern fringe of Aragon (La Franja) and in some municipalities of Murcia. The government of Catalunya issues yearly Language Policy reports that give a good insight in the region's strategy regarding its language.

Galician is the co-official language in Galicia (Article 5 of the statutes of autonomy of Galicia). Galician is taught in schools, and there is a public Galician-language television channel. The language is also spoken in some border zones of the neighbouring Spanish regions of Asturias and Castile and León.

Basque: Basque is classified as a language isolate. It is the last remaining descendant of the pre-Indo-European languages of Western Europe. Gipuzkoa, most of Biscay, a few municipalities of  Alava , and the northern area of Navarre formed the core of the remaining Basque-speaking area before measures were introduced in the 1980s to strengthen the language. A standardized form of the Basque language, called Euskara Batua, was developed by the Basque Language Academy in the late 1960s. The Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Atonoumous Community establishes Basque as the co-official language of the autonomous community. The Statute of Navarre establishes Spanish as the official language of Navarre, but grants co-official status to the Basque language in the Basque-speaking areas of northern Navarre.

Aranese: Aranes is a standardized form of the Pyrenean Gascon variety of the Occitan language spoken in the Val d'Aran. The Aranes is spoken in the Val d'Aran,in northwestern Catalonnia close to the Spanish border with France, where it is one of the three official languages beside Catalan and Spanish. In 2010, it was named the third official language of the whole of Catalonia by Parlament of Catalonia. The statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (2006), also stated the Aranese as an official language in Catalonia, according to the laws of linguistic normalization laws.

Language Strategies: In Spain, until 2015, Language Technologies strategies or policies were not defined. There were, and there are, laws and regulations that support the promotion, use and learning of Spanish and co-official languages in the corresponding regions. Regional governments, like Basque, Catalonia and Galician Governments, publish public calls for funding translations or generation of contents to their official languages. Language technologies were supported by the national and regional governments, through their policies, strategies and programmes related to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In fact, in the National Plan of R&I (2008 and 2013) inside the Strategic Action of Telecommunication and Information Society one of the objectives was the Technologies for the Natural Languages Processing.

The Spanish Plan to Promote the Language Technologies was officially presented on 20 October 2015. The Plan aims at encouraging the development of natural language processing and machine translation, not only regarding Spanish but also the co-official languages. The plan will count with 90 million € budget for the next five years, of which 14 will be invested in 2016.
The Plan counts with 3 main action lines:

1. Increase the number, quality and availability of the available Spanish and co-official language infrastructures.

2. Promotion of the language industry by boosting knowledge transfer between research and industry actors; to help in the internationalization process of companies and institutions of the sector; to improve the dissemination activities of current projects.

3. Improvement of the quality and capacity of the public service thanks to the use of natural language processing and machine translation technologies, acting as driving force for the demand. Support the generation, standardization and dissemination of the linguistic resources created in the context of self-governance activity of government.

The plan will facilitate the development of processors (entities recognizers, taggers, semantic proximity calculators, etc.) and linguistic resources (parallel corpora, dictionaries and taxonomies) that will be the basis for the future development of the Spanish natural language processing and automatic translation industry.

Spanish LR Stakeholders (LTO Directory)

Other Relevant Stakeholders:

Real Academia Española: Its main mission is to watch that the changes that suffer the Spanish language because of the needs of their speakers don’t break the unity of all the Spanish speakers.

Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española: Its mission is to support the unity of the Spanish language between all the Spanish speakers.

Instituto Cervantes: Its main mission is to promote and teach Spanish and co-official languages for disseminating the Spanish and Hispanic American culture.


Institut d'Estudis Catalans: Is the institution that joint the elite in research in the area of the Catalan linguistics.

Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua: It is the official standardisation body for the Valencian language. It forms part of the institutions of the Generalitat Valenciana, the Valencia Regional Government.


Real Academia Galega: Its main mission is the promotion of the Galicia language and culture.

Centro Ramón Piñeiro para la Investigación en Humanidades (CIRP) for Galician Language: It is in charge of promoting and disseminating, actions, projects and programs about Galician linguistic, literary, historic and anthropologic studies. 


Euskaltzaindia (Basque Language): The Royal Academy of the Basque Language (1919) is the official body responsible for Basque, which is the Basque language. It carries out research on the language and its object is to safeguard it; the Academy has formulated the rules for the normalisation of the language.


Institut d’Estudis Aranesi-Académia Aranesa dera Lengua Occitana: It carries out research on the language and its object is to safeguard it

Linguaserve I.S. S.A.