Symbology and Popular Imagination of the Galician Language and Landscape

Authors: Kathryn Hannum*, Kent State University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Landscape, Europe
Keywords: National Identity, Galicia, Spain, Celtic, Language, Landscape
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Landscapes emerge from a collective interpretation of nature, a process that reciprocates a cultural foundation, binding a people to a land, and reflecting onto that people a sense of history, culture, and unique oneness. Landscape acts as a powerful symbol and works to bind territorial and national identities. This is true of the nation of Galicia, a historic community in the northwest of Spain, where landscape and language have come to be inextricably linked in the Galician imagination. In conducting interviews with Galicians about the nature of their language and its meaning, an unprovoked link emerged between the language and the landscape, painting the two to as life-giving essentials of the Galician identity. Language and landscape are held as foundational symbols in a display of difference between Galicia and Spain. This link can be traced to symbology that arose from writings of the Xeración Nos, the Galician nationalist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and perpetuated by modern nation-building initiatives in Galician schools and media. This paper utilizes interviewee data, literary analysis, and landscape analysis to understand the modern conception of language and landscape in Galicia.

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