A Fala and the community of speakers
A Fala is a language spoken in three villages in Extremadura, Spain: Valverde del Fresno, Eljas and San Martín de Trevejo. These three villages on the border between Spain and Portugal have about 4,500 inhabitants. In comparison with other European minority languages, A Fala is in a unique sociolinguistic situation due to a very high rate of its speakers in the population, estimated up to 90%. However, it is still a seriously endangered language because it is used in a small community that has intensive contact with the outside society. Regarding linguistic affiliation, A Fala forms part of the Ibero-Romance subgroup of Romance languages. Even though its phylogenetic classification has not been satisfactorily solved, the sociolinguistic situation proves that it is an independent language, not a dialect of any other Romance language. There exist three main varieties of A Fala (Valverdeñu, Lagarteiru and Mañegu), corresponding to the three villages where they are spoken. Nevertheless, they are easily intelligible, as there has always been interaction among their speakers, who appear to be proud of their own specific language variety and identity.