Spanish is a Romance language that belongs to the Indo-European language family. It originated in the Iberian Peninsula as a result of the evolution of oral Latin, or vulgar Latin, used by common speakers and it developed throughout the years. Likewise, other Romance languages such as French, Catalan, Galician, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian also evolved from vulgar Latin to what we know today. Despite the fact that most of the vocabulary comes from Latin, it was greatly influenced by local languages from the different territories where this language reached, such as Arabic, Euskera, Nahuatl, Italian, Quechua, French, etc. Many characteristics of modern Spanish derive from these languages.

As other European languages, this language uses the Latin alphabet, with the special character “ñ”. Also, it is a language whose degree of inflection is high, since it shows inflection for gender and number in nouns and adjectives, as well as verbal inflection that contains mode, tense, voice, person and number.

Due to the geographical expansion of this language, it has a great variety of dialects. We can find multiple variants that are used in Europe, America, and Africa, and that reflect the phonetic, lexical, and grammatical diversity of the language.

spanish dialects

The importance of Spanish language

The scope of Spanish is unquestionable since it is one of the most widespread languages geographically, therefore it became the link between people and organizations that have a very diverse historical and cultural background. As a result of its influence internationally, many institutions included it as one of their official languages of work, for example, the UN, the ILO, the WHO, the FAO, etc. This is a clear sign of the importance that the Spanish language has in global scenery, which allows speakers to have greater access to international relations.

Furthermore, it is a language that has contributed great titles and characters to world literature, for example “La Celestina”, “El Lazarillo de Tormes”, “El Quijote” by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Juan Tenorioby Zorrilla. Besides, several Spanish-speaking writers from both sides of the Atlantic have won the Nobel Prize: Gabriela Mistral, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Miguel Ángel Asturias, Pablo Neruda, Vicente Aleixandre, Gabriel García Márquez, Camilo José Cela, Octavio Paz, Mario Vargas Llosa.

The regulatory body in charge of ensuring the stability of the Spanish language is the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) since it promotes linguistic regulations in order to guarantee common rules. Another important organization is the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language (ASALE), which brings together the Academies of the Spanish language from 24 countries that work together and promote Pan-Hispanic consensus and visibility of the different variants of Spanish. Moreover, Cervantes Institute is a renowned institution whose task is to promote the study of this language throughout the world.


Places where Spanish is spoken

Nowadays, there are more than 480 million Spanish native speakers, which makes it one of the most spoken languages in the world. As mentioned above, Spanish is the official language of 21 countries spanning Europe, Latin America, and Africa: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

It is important to mention that there are also Spanish-speaking communities in countries where Spanish is not the official language, such as Andorra, Puerto Rico,Morocco, the Philippines, and the   US, where there are more than 13 million speakers.


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