In accordance with the most trustworthy contributions that have been made by Romance linguistics since the 19th century (research into historical grammar, dialectology, syntax, lexicography, etc.), the Valencian people's own historical language is the same language, from a philological point of view, spoken in the autonomous communities of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and in the Principality of Andorra. It is also the historical and autochthonous language of other regions of the former Crown of Aragon (the eastern strip of Aragon, the Sardinian city of Alghero and the French department of Pyrénées-Orientales). That spoken in all of these regions constitutes one language, that is to say, one single «linguistic system», to use the terminology of early structuralism (Appendix 1) which was taken up in the resolution of the Valencia Council of Culture, which appears as a preamble in the law on the constitution of the AVL. Within this group of speech variants, Valencian has the same position and value as any other regional variety of the linguistic system; moreover, it possesses distinguishing characteristics which the AVL should protect and promote based on local lexicographical and literary tradition, on the true linguistic situation in Valencia and on the normative rules already established in the Normes de Castelló (the Castelló Regulation).
The fact that a language is spoken in different political or administrative districts is not a trait unique to Valencian; rather, it is the normal situation for languages all over the world. Thus, Portuguese is spoken in both Portugal and Brazil; English is the language used in the UK, Ireland, the United States and Australia; Castilian, or Spanish, is not only spoken in Latin, but also in the majority of Spanish American countries (Argentina, Mexico, etc.), and so on. Those lexical and grammatical characteristics which are unique to Valencian and which distinguish it from other varieties of our linguistic system are found together with other characteristics which indeed are shared in the majority of varieties. Moreover, the existence of specific traits, felt to be autochthonous and worthy of being kept alive, is something which is common to other languages.
Language is a way of communicating and of transmitting culture. Sharing a language therefore means sharing the cultural legacy that is passed on in that language. However this does not mean that we Valencians do not have our own, unique identity and cultural characteristics, which we perceive to be clearly different from other peoples who use our language. The same phenomenon occurs between the French and the Quebecers, who share the French language; between the Portuguese and the Brazilians, who share Portuguese; or between the British, Irish, Americans and Australians, who share English, etc. None of this precludes each of these groups from having their own political, social and cultural identity.
In the region of what is nowadays the Valencian Community, the autochthonous language has usually been called 'Valencian' or 'the Valencian language' (Appendix 2), terms which became the most commonly used ones starting mainly from the second half of the 15th century due to the political, economic, cultural and literary splendour which the Kingdom of Valencia had reached at that time. Although there is a Valencian particularist tradition as regards the language (Appendix 3), the awareness of sharing a language with other regions of the