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Spanish language

Spanish language Spanish (español) or Castilian (castellano) is an Iberian Romance language which was spoken by 364 million people roughly in 2000. Nowadays, it accounts up to 410 million that is why Spanish is the most widely spoken Romance language.

Spanish was originated as an obscure dialect in Cantabria region of Spain and gradually spread to the kingdom of Castille, in where it became the principal language of government and trade. It was later brought to the Western Hemisphere and other parts of the world by Spanish explorers, colonists and empire-builders in the last five centuries. Spanish is one of six official working languages of the United Nations and one of the most used global languages, along with English. It is spoken on all continents, most extensively in North and South America, Europe, and certain parts of Africa, Asia and Oceania. The globalization let an international expansion and recognition of the Spanish language in literature, the film industry, television (notably telenovelas) and music.

Currently,  Spanish language is spoken all over the World; it is the second most important language and the third most spoken according to some sources, with 400 million of native speakers, and by a total of 500 million including non-native speakers. The Castilian, as today we know, it is the result of a process of movement during more of a millennium, throughout the diverse languages of the inhabitants of The Iberian Peninsula, it was modified by influence of the roman invaders, godos and Arabs. Towards the end of century XV, with the union of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragón, which extended their dominion on most of the Peninsula, the Castile language (the Castilian) was imposed over other languages and dialects, and it crossed the Atlantic with the discoverers, conquerors and missionaries.

If you wish to study Spanish in Barcelona, we recommend you to visit Linguaschools Barcelona. The school offers many Spanish courses for all kind of students. That's the best way to study Spanish. Another fine Barcelona based language school is Versión Original Barcelona. Located only 5 minutes from Plaza Catalunya it is not far away from the vibrant life this city has to offer. Don't forget to check out their well-priced evening courses, aimed for foreign students already living in Barcelona.

History

Spanish language History The Spanish language was developed from Vulgar Latin, with influence of Celtiberian, Basque and Arabic, in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Some characteristics of Spanish phonology include lenition (Latin vita, Spanish vida), palatalization (Latin annum, Spanish año) and diphthongation (stem-changing) of short e and o from Vulgar Latin (Latin terra, Spanish tierra; Latin novus, Spanish nuevo). Similar phenomena can be found in most other Romance languages as well.

The first Latin to Spanish dictionary was written in Salamanca, Spain, in 1492 by Elio Antonio de Nebrija. When Isabella of Castile was presented with the book, she asked “What do I want a work like this, if I know the language?” To which he replied, “Ma'am, the language is the instrument of the Empire”.

From the 16th century, the language was brought to the Americas, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marianas, Palau and the Philippines by Spanish colonization and in this time, Spanish became the main language of Politics and Art across the major part of Europe, but in the 18th century, French took its place.

In the 20th century, Spanish was introduced in Equatorial Guinea, Western Sahara and parts of the United States, such as Spanish Harlem in New York City, which had not been part of the Spanish Empire.

Castilian or Spanish?

Spanish language - Castilian or Spanish? Spanish language is also called Castilian, because it was the name of the linguistic community in which people spoke this romance modality in medieval times: Castile. There are some controversies around the denomination of the language; the Spanish term is relatively recent and it is not admitted by many bilingual speakers of the Spanish State, because they understand that Spanish includes Valencian, Galician, Catalan and Basque terms, and these languages have official consideration within the territory of their respective independent communities. That is why they propose to return to the older denomination that Castilian was understood as the language of Castilla.

After the foundation of the Royal Spanish Academy, their members by agreement they decided to use the denomination of the Spanish language and if the Spanish term change, it will create difficulties for recognizing the official character of a language which has been welcome in many nations.

Spanish Language Regulator

The institutions which are in charge of regulating the Spanish language are the Association of Spanish Language Academies and the Royal Spanish Academy. Among its tasks is to regulate the entry and exit of words in the official Spanish dictionary, proper use of the spanish verb conjugation , or acceptance of new colloquialisms among other language tasks.
  • The Association of Spanish Language Academies, which was created in Mexico in 1951 and it represents the union of all the academies in the Spanish-speaking world.
  • The Royal Spanish Academy is responsible to regulate the Spanish language. It is located in Madrid, Spain, but it is affiliated with national language academies in 21 Spanish-speaking nations.

Geographic distribution

Country Population Total number of Spanish speakers
 Mexico  112,336,538 110,651,490
 United States  307,006,550 50,000,000
 Spain  47,150,819 46,585,009
 Colombia  46,010,000 45,641,920
 Argentina  40,900,496 40,655,093
 Venezuela  29,243,000 28,892,084
 Peru  29,797,694 25,804,803
 Chile  17,248,450 17,127,711
 Ecuador  14,306,000 14,034,186
 Guatemala  14,361,666 12,408,479
 Cuba  11,235,863 11,168,448
 Dominican Republic  10,225,000 10,184,100
 Bolivia  10,426,154 9,164,589
 Honduras  8,215,313 8,133,160
 El Salvador  6,183,002 6,164,453
 France  64,057,790 6,161,486
 Nicaragua  5,822,000 5,647,340
 Morocco  31,759,997 5,500,000
 Brazil  190,732,694 5,448,689
 Costa Rica  4,615,646 4,578,721
 Paraguay  6,460,000 4,489,700
 Puerto Rico  3,998,000 3,950,024
 United Kingdom  60,943,912 3,922,500
 Uruguay  3,372,000 3,334,908
 Panama  3,508,000 3,265,948
 Philippines  96,061,683 3,016,773
 Germany  82,369,548 2,706,972
 Italy  58,145,321 2,058,225
 Equatorial Guinea  1,153,915 1,044,293
 Canada  33,212,696 1,001,853
 Portugal  10,676,910 737,026
 Netherlands  16,645,313 682,094
 Belgium  10,403,951 601,929
 Romania  22,246,862 544,531
 Sweden  9,045,389 544,073
 Australia  21,007,310 481,088
 Poland  38,500,696 316,104
 Austria  8,205,533 267,177
 Ivory Coast  20,179,602 235,806
 Algeria  33,769,669 223,379
 Denmark  5,484,723 219,003
 Israel  7,112,359 175,231
 Switzerland  7,581,520 137,420
 Japan  127,288,419 136,565
 Bulgaria  7,262,675 133,910
 Belize  301,270 128,643
 Netherlands Antilles  223,652 125,534
 Ireland  4,156,119 123,591
 Senegal  12,853,259 101,455
 Greece  10,722,816 86,742
 Finland  5,244,749 85,586
 Hungary  9,930,915 85,034
 Aruba  100,018 75,402
 Croatia  4,491,543 73,656
 Andorra  84,484 58,040
 Slovakia  5,455,407 43,164
 Norway  4,644,457 36,250
 Russia  140,702,094 23,320
 New Zealand  4,173,460 21,645
 Guam  154,805 19,092
 US Virgin Islands  108,612 16,788
 China  1,345,751,000 15,127
 Lithuania  3,565,205 13,943
 Gibraltar  27,967 13,857
 Cyprus  792,604 11,044
 Turkey  71,892,807 8,380
 Jamaica  2,804,322 8,000
 Luxembourg  486,006 7,344
 Malta  403,532 6,458
 Trinidad and Tobago  1,047,366 4,100