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The Lexicon of the Spanish/Portuguese Border (“FRONTESPO Lexicon”/FRONTESPO-TES) is a work that is constantly being updated. For the time being, only a first sample of materials is available, to which we will progressively add more material. We ask you to please be patient.

If you have any questions or would like to collaborate with us by providing us with any unpublished materials you may have (for example, compilations of the words typical of a town or district), please write to us at Thank you for your collaboration.


Description of the Project

The FRONTESPO Lexicon is a database that contains voices and expressions from several dialect projects from towns located within 15 km of the Line. The geographic space that it includes extends from the northeast of Bragança district to the southeast of Faro, Portugal, and from the northwest of Zamora province to the southeast of Huelva, in Spain. The Lexicon originated from the research Vocabulário partilhado na fronteira by the Mértola Archaeological Field, which began in 2010.


Purpose and Basis of the Lexicon

The FRONTESPO Lexicon aims to compile the vocabulary that makes the border different with regard to other districts and regions in the two countries. The two foundations upon which the project rests are as follows:

a) Compiling what links each border region (the Spanish and Portuguese sides) with the language spoken in the other area: words borrowed from Spanish in the Portuguese area and words borrowed from Portuguese in the Spanish area.

b) Identifying what separates the speech of the Spanish/Portuguese border from the two national languages (Spanish and Portuguese): dialecticisms, expressions borrowed from Leonese, Galician, and Western Spanish.

To obtain more information on the theoretical foundations and methodology of the Lexicon, please see the different contributions listed on the FRONTESPO results page.


Presentation of the Data

On the database’s main page, searches can be carried out using three fields: variantheadword, and definition text. Additionally, from each entry in the Lexicon, users can view the vocabulary that is related to each headword: lexical variants, vocabulary that belongs to the same semantic field and forms that share the same origin (borrowed from Portuguese, borrowed from Spanish, dialecticisms, borrowed from Leonese, etc.).



The entries in the lexicon consist of the following fields:

  • Variant. The entry as provided by the work from which it is taken. When the originals only offer the variant in phonetic transcription, we have adapted it using spellings that are as close as possible to the phonetic representation.
  • Headword. The standardised entry that is assigned to the variant. As this field is a hyperlink, it allows users to view all of the variants that belong to the same headword.
  • Phonetic Transcription. Only provided when it exists in the source. In all cases, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is used, which means that sometimes — when the originals used other systems — we have had to adapt the transcriptions.
  • Definition. Recorded as it appears in the source. If in the original, a definition is only given by another voice, we transcribe the complete definition from that voice between brackets. In certain cases — when there is no definition in the source for a variant — we propose our own definition, preceded by an asterisk.
  • Semantic Classification. All of the variants included in the database have been assigned to a semantic field. The semantic classification uses the same categories as those used in the Tesouro do léxico patrimonial galego e portugués, which will make it possible in the future to relate the data offered by the two catalogues. The semantic classification categories are as follows (there are sub-classifications within each): 1. The Universe, celestial bodies and time; 2. The land (geography and geology) and water (rivers, springs, ocean, ponds, canals, etc.);3. Agriculture; 4. Plants and non-fruit-bearing trees; 5. Domestic animals and livestock; 6. Non-domestic animals; 7. Human beings; 8. Everyday life: housing, hygiene, food, work; 9. Measurement, numbers and amounts. Spatial relationships; 10. Difficult to classify terms; 11. Grammatical words not included in any of the above sections; 12. Variants that cannot be classified semantically.
  • Examples. When the source contains examples of use of the variant in question, they are recorded in a specific field in the database. Sometimes, the examples clarify the scope of use for entries that were not clearly defined in the original works.
  • Grammatical Category. This field is only filled in when the work from which the data are taken provides a specific category for the variant. The grammatical category is recorded in the Lexicon as it is offered in the source, regardless of whether mistakes were made when assigning it. Given the heterogeneous nature of the originals, some categories appear differently (for example, transitive verb may appear in this field as v. ortrans. v.).
  • Standardised Grammatical Category. Each variant is assigned a standardised grammatical category based on a closed list that contains only the following elements: adjective (adj.), adverb (adv.), interjection (interj.), expression (exp.), preposition (prep.), pronoun (pron.), feminine noun (f.n.), masculine noun (m.n.) and verb (v.).
  • Type. With the aim of structuring the vocabulary from the border region according to its origin, the Lexicon’sdatabase includes the following possibilities for categorising the voices: borrowed from Portuguese, borrowed from Spanish, borrowed from Galician, borrowed from Galician/Portuguese, borrowed from Leonese, borrowed from Western Spanish and dialecticisms (localisms, regionalisms, and shared dialecticisms). The field “Type” is a hyperlink that allows users to view all of the variants that share the same origin.
  • Work. This field lists the source from which the data was extracted. It is a hyperlink that provides access to the full bibliographic entry for the work in question.
  • Location. This is the municipality (including smaller entities), district, or region where each lexical variant was recorded. In the Lexicon entries, this field is shown as text and through graphic representation on a map.
  • Comparison Work. For some variants, this field includes the definitions offered by Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, or Astur-Leonese dictionaries of the variants, headwords, or related words.
  • Source Comments. These are additional comments, beyond the definition, provided by the works on the variants.
  • FRONTESPO Comments. All information related to the variant or headword that the FRONTESPO team considers to be of interest is included here.
  • References. The database allows users to search for variants that are related to one another in the same source.


Categorisation of Lexical Elements

As we hinted at in the description of the field “Type” in the above section, we classify the vocabulary from the Spanish/Portuguese border region into a series of categories with the aim of organising the lexical flow of interest for the Lexicon. The categories are defined as followed:

  • Borrowed from Portuguese: standardised Portuguese words that are recorded on the Spanish side of the border.
  • Borrowed from Spanish: standardised Spanish words that are recorded in Portuguese border towns.
  • Borrowed from Galician: exclusively Galician words, i.e., those that do not coincide with standardised Portuguese words in form or meaning.
  • Borrowed from Galician/Portuguese: words recorded in the As Portelas (Zamora) or Jálama (Cáceres) regions and which exist in both Portuguese and Galician.
  • Borrowed from Leonese: words of Leonese origin.
  • Borrowed from Western Spanish: words that have a broad presence in the western Peninsula and which do not belong to standard Spanish, regardless of whether they exist in all linguistic varieties of the border region.
  • Dialecticisms: words that do not come from Leonese or Galician, and which are not included in standard Spanish or Portuguese dictionaries, excluding vulgarisms. Depending on their geographic scope, we divide them into three categories:
  • Localisms (words that have a very limited dissemination: recorded in just one town or in a small number of nearby towns).
  • Regionalisms (words with a broader area: in many cases they are typical of Salamanca, Extremadura, Andalusia, or words from Alentejo, Algarve, etc.).
  • Shared dialecticisms (dialect words that are recorded on both sides of the border).