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The Canarian population speaks Castillian Spanish ((Castellano), the official language of Spain. The Spanish spoken on El Hierro and all the other Canary Islands sounds more melodious than that of the Spanish mainland; the pronunciation is somewhat reminiscent of that in South America. It is also noticeable that the 's' at the end of a word is often swallowed.

There are still some Guanche words in use, such as 'guagua' for bus and 'papa' for potato.

Castellano (Castilian) has been the official state language since around 1250. Abroad, Castellano is actually always called "Spanish". Castellano is a Romance language with many derivations from Latin, but also from many other languages. Spanish contains about 100 words that were brought to the peninsula by the Visigoths and others.

During the domination of the Moors, approximately 4,000 words were introduced into the Spanish language. Furthermore, many words have been borrowed from French and Italian, and more recently from English.

Examples of derivations are:
Arabic French West Gothic English
Alcázar monje guardia lider
Aldea vinagre ropa mitin
Acequia menú tapa tractor
Alcoba coqueta espuela fútbol

The Castellano language differs in some respects from other Romance languages, particularly in pronunciation. The letters of the Spanish alphabet are: a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, rr, s, t, u, v, x, y, z.

The name 'Hierro' is most likely not derived from the Spanish word for iron, 'ferro', but is a corruption of the Guanese word for well, 'herro' or 'hero'.

El Hierro is pronounced 'El Ierro' in Spanish, with the emphasis on the 'o'.

Some nicknames for the island are:

Isla oculta
Isla del Meridiana: from 1634 to 1883 the 0 meridian was located here; in 1883 the 0 meridian was moved to Greenwich
Goat Island
La Isla Chiquita: the little island


Evers, K. / Canarische Eilanden : Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote

Leibl, M. / Gomera & Hierro
Van Reemst

Lipps, S. / Wandelgids La Gomera en El Hierro

Murphy, P. / Canarische Eilanden

Renouf, N. / Canarische Eilanden

Rochford, N. / Wegwijzer voor La Palma en El Hierro : een landschapsgids
Sunflower Books

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info