Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Gregory B. Kaplan

Committee Members

Gregory B. Kaplan, Dolly J. Young, Bernard I. Issa, Vicente Lledó-Guillem


Unlike other romance varieties in the Iberian Peninsula Middle Ages, the Asturleonese dialect didn’t get to evolve into a fully differentiated language system due to several historical and sociocultural issues that thwarted its historical development. However, the distinctive features of the dialect survived until present time featuring a complex dialectal system along the geography of the ancient Kingdom of León. This research focuses on the building of the Asturleonese Linguistic Domain and the phonetic characterization of its distinctive phonetic features from a synchronic and diachronic perspective with the purpose of identifying in medieval documents, from IX to XIV centuries, the genesis and development of the three distinctive dialectal areas observable today.

The data for the interpretation of the phonetic features included in our study come mainly from notarial documents originated in the three geographical areas that, stretching from North to South over the present day territories of Asturias and Leon, represent the three main varieties of Asturleonese language. Data obtained from different areas is contrasted both internally and in relation with the neighboring linguistic domains of Galician and Castilian under the framework of the evolving graphical conventions in use during IX-XIV centuries.

Our study shows that the phonetic features under study represent original developments of Asturleonese romance, on occasions partially shared with neighboring romance varieties, contributing to the consistency and reality of a distinct linguistic domain in the Middle Ages.

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