What is the official language of Spain?

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official language of Spain

In Spain, a country known for its rich cultural diversity, several languages are spoken in addition to Spanish, which is the predominant and official language throughout the country. Bilingualism between Spanish and other languages is common in several autonomous communities, where the inhabitants usually speak — or at least understand — both languages, i.e., Spanish and the co-official language in their community. 
Read on to find out how many languages and dialects are spoken in Spain and how they are distributed in the different regions of the country.

The official languages of Spain

In Spain, there are four languages that have co-official status with Spanish, distributed among six autonomous communities. These languages are recognized and protected by their respective statutes of autonomy and are used in public administration, education, and the media in their respective regions.

Spanish or Castilian

Spanish is the official language throughout Spain. It is currently the language with the second largest number of native speakers in the world, with almost 493 million speakers around the globe, of which 47 million are in Spain. It is common to reserve the term “Castilian” to refer to the dialect originating on the Iberian Peninsula and spoken there.

Catalan or Valencian

Catalan is the co-official language of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. In the Valencian Community, where it also co-official, it is traditionally called Valencian, although linguistically they are considered the same language. Catalan is also spoken in the eastern part of Aragon, in Andorra, in the French city of Roussillon, and in the Sardinian city of Alghero. It is the native language of 4 million people and is estimated to be spoken by more than 10 million with varying degrees of fluency. It is an essential element of the cultural heritage and identity of these regions, with a rich literary tradition and a strong presence on the Internet and in the media.


Galician is a language closely related to Portuguese with its own distinctive characteristics. It is the co-official language of the autonomous community of Galicia, although it is also spoken in areas bordering Galicia, such as western Asturias and northwestern Castile and León. It is estimated that it currently has more than 2.5 million speakers in Spain and more than 3 million speakers globally.


Basque is one of the oldest languages in Europe and its origin remains a mystery. It is spoken in the Basque Country and in some areas of Navarre, where it is the co-official language. It can also be heard in the French Pyrenees, and it has been preserved in some Basque-speaking communities in Europe and America. It exhibits significant dialectal variation, particularly in its spoken form. It is estimated that it is used by one million people, although a larger group is considered passively bilingual, capable of understanding it but having difficulty speaking it.


It is a variant of Occitan spoken in the Aran Valley, in the province of Lleida, Catalonia. Aranese is co-official throughout Catalonia, the only place where this language has official status. It is the native language of about 3,000 people, although it is estimated that almost 7,000 people are able to understand it. Occitan is also spoken in the Southern France, where it is estimated to be spoken by about 2 million people.

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The importance of linguistic diversity in Spain

These  five languages are not the only ones spoken in Spain. In different areas and regions, languages such as Aragonese and Asturleonese can be heard and enjoy some legal recognition. Traditional languages of certain communities or cultural groups, such as Caló or Arabic, can also be found.  
Linguistic diversity is also reflected in the regional dialects spoken in different parts of Spain. These dialects, although not considered official languages, are part of the country’s linguistic heritage. 
Meanwhile, there is an increasing demographic exchange with other countries and a greater interest in learning different languages, with English and French at the top of the list of most studied languages. 
All this to say that linguistic diversity is a characteristic that enriches Spanish culture and society. Languages are shaped by the history and traditions of each region, and they are a fundamental part of the identity and character of its inhabitants.  
To reflect this multicultural reality, in September 2023, the Spanish Congress of Deputies approved a reform of its Rules of Procedure to allow the use of all co-official languages during plenary debates. 
Understanding linguistic diversity in Spain, or in any other country, fosters tolerance and respect for differences. Communication and contact between the country’s official languages — Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician and Aranese — have fostered lexical adaptations that have enriched each language throughout history without compromising their authenticity and while promoting their evolution.

Translations into the languages of Spain

If you are interested in translating texts into any of the official languages in Spain, iDISC, a translation company, can help you. We specialize in providing professional translation services that allow you to communicate effectively in any language. Whether you are looking for accurate document translation or need to tailor your message to a specific audience, our team of expert native translators guarantees reliable and accurate solutions. 
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information about our translation services and how we can help you overcome language barriers.

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