Mozarabic language

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The extinction of the Mozarabic language is shown in this animated map, as Christian kingdoms drove out muslim rule.

Mozarabic is an extinct Romance language formerly spoken in the Muslim territories of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. It remains poorly documented, mainly in place names and in some words mentioned in medieval documents which were redacted in other languages. It might have been sometimes written in Arabic alphabet but this is not accepted by all scholars. Mozarabic was more and more weakened by the domination of Arabic and, because of the Reconquista, it was progressively replaced or absorbed by the advance of other Romance languages coming form the northern, Christian zones of the peninsula (Portuguese, Asturian-Leonese, Spanish, Aragonese and Catalan). The language disappeared rapidly after the 15th century. But some authors think that it had already died out in the second half of the 12th century, being completely replaced by Arabic, before the arrival of northern Romance languages.[1]

Mozarabic was called Latinus in medieval Latin[2] and possibly Latino in its own language. It was called Ajamīyya (“strangers' language”) in Arabic. The current name Mozarabic is quite recent (Spanish mozárabe, Portuguese moçárabe, Catalan mossàrab) and comes from Arabic مستعرب / mustá'rab ('arabized').[3]


  1. See article "mossàrab" in Enciclopèdia catalana.
  2. "The Early Romance of Muslim Spain was known to its users as latinus. This word can lead to confusion; the Visigothic scholars used it to contrast with Greek or Hebrew, and Simonet (1888: XXIII-IV, XXXV-VII) established that in Muslim Spain it was used to refer to the non-Arabic vernacular (as was Arabic Al-Lathinī)". WRIGHT Roger (1982) Late Latin and Early Romance in Spain and Carolingian France, coll. ARCA, Liverpool: Francis Cairns, p. 156.
  3. See article "mossàrab" in Enciclopèdia catalana.