100,000 in Spain (Salminen 2007). 50,000 in Central Asturian, 30,000 in Western Asturian, 20,000 in Eastern Asturian. Population total all countries: 110,000. Ethnic population: 550,000 (1996).
Asturias Princedom, west Cantabria and Leon, north Castilla-Leon. Montañes dialect (Spanish with Asturian influence): Cantabria and Las Peñamelleras. Also in Portugal.
Central Asturian (Bable), Eastern Asturian, Leonese (Lleones), Montañes, Western Asturian. As different from Spanish [spa] as Galician [glg] or Catalan [cat]; more different than Murcian and Andalusian dialects. About 80% intelligibility with Spanish (Hall 1989) enough to cause disruption of communicative ability (1992 T. Erickson). The Vaqueiros ethnic group speaks Western Asturian. Functional intelligibility among the 3 dialects. Similar to Mirandés [mwl] in Portugal. Leonese may be a separate language. Central Asturian is considered the model, and has the most speakers.
450,000 L2 speakers (1994 F. Botas). Some children learn the language in Asturias; in other regions speakers are mostly elderly (2007). Also use Spanish [spa].
About 43% immigrated into the region from the south since the 1950s, and have not absorbed Asturian culture or language. There is literature, both popular and literary, since the 17th century; poetry, traditional ballads, and chivalric novels of oral tradition. The Academy of the Asturian Language formed in 1981 to revive the academy of the 18th century. Western Asturian may need orthography adaptation. Montañes is a Spanish dialect with Asturian influence.