Remarks on Politics and Language(s) Concerning Alphonso X «the Wise»

Carlos Folgar


According to some philologists, certain linguistic behaviours adopted by the king Alphonso X the Wise in his use of the Castilian language were due to his Castilian nationalism. Nevertheless, our view is quite different. On the one hand, we accept the existence of the Castilian monarch’s political nationalism, which is manifest in his various expansionist ambitions (North Africa, Portuguese Algarve, Navarre, Germanic Empire…). But, on the other hand, we find no evidence of political nationalist ideology in the linguistic domain. In order to deny the king’s linguistic nationalism, the best way, in our opinion, is to remember his positive assessment of the Galician Portuguese language, which he made use of for writing his poetic work, particularly the Cantigas de Santa Maria. In this respect, this text becomes very important and very meaningful, not only in literary history but also from the linguistic point of view, because the king expresses in it —in Galician-Portuguese, not in Castilian— his religious zeal and his devotion to the Blessed Virgin.


Alphonso X «the Wise», nationalism, Hispanic kingdoms, apocope, Castilian language, Galician-Portuguese language, poetry



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Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
(Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani) 

Print ISSN: 0353-9660
Online ISSN: 2350-4250