550,000 in Spain, all users. L1 users: 100,000 (Salminen 2007). 50,000 in Central Asturian, 30,000 in Western Asturian, 20,000 in Eastern Asturian. L2 users: 450,000 (1994 F. Botas). Ethnic population: 550,000 (1996). Total users in all countries: 560,000 (as L1: 110,000; as L2: 450,000).
Asturias, Cantabria, Castille and Leon autonomous communities; Montañes dialect: western Cantabria and Las Peñamelleras. Pasiegan dialect: eastern Cantabria and Espinosa de los Monteros, Burgos.
Leonese (Lleones), Western Asturian, Central Asturian (Bable), Eastern Asturian, Montañes, Pasiegan (Pasiegu). As different from Spanish [spa] as Galician [glg] or Catalan [cat]; more different than Murcian and Andalusian dialects. About 80% intelligibility with Spanish (1989 R. Hall) enough to cause disruption of communicative ability (1992 T. Erickson). The Vaqueiros ethnic group speaks Western Asturian. Functional intelligibility among the 3 dialects. Reportedly similar to Mirandés [mwl] in Portugal. Leonese may be a separate language. Central Asturian is considered the model, and has the most speakers.
Some children learn the language in Asturias; in other regions speakers are mostly elderly (Salminen 2007). Also use Spanish [spa].
Latin script [Latn].
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.