1. Over 400 million people speak Spanish
Spanish is the mother tongue of an estimated 400-450 million people, making it the world’s second most spoken language.
Spanish only falls in second place behind Chinese, which is spoken by over a billion people and far outranks any other language.
Spanish surpasses English in its number of speakers, as English comes in third place with 335 million native speakers around the world.
2. There are 21 countries that have Spanish as the official language
Spanish is essential to life in 21 countries across four continents and many dependent territories, as it serves not only as the common language but also a cornerstone of education. A testament to its global importance, Spanish has achieved official status everywhere from Europe's Iberian Peninsula all the way down into South America’s vibrant cities – enabling people around the world to connect both verbally and intellectually.
Although English reigns supreme when it comes to the most spoken languages across multiple nations, Spanish is certainly nothing to be overlooked. With a presence in almost sixty countries around the world and its status as an official language of major international companies and organizations such as the United Nations, this Romance tongue can hardly be regarded as insignificant compared with French or Arabic.
3. Spanish is a Romance language
Spanning from the rolling hills of Europe to far-reaching corners of South Asia, Spanish is part of an expansive family tree: that of Indo-European languages. With roots including French, English and Russian as well as Slavic and Scandinavian tongues, this language branch evolved through generations before being carried across seas by waves colonization.The vast linguistic family of Indo-European extends far and wide, from the Indian subcontinent to Europe. Within these languages exists a subset known as Romance--including Spanish, Catalan, Italian, French Portugese and Romanian--that share similar grammar structures derived from Latin roots.
Understanding the interconnected nature of Spanish can open up a world of possibilities. Not only is it rooted in Romance, but its influence reaches far and wide – stretching across continents both linguistically and historically. To truly appreciate Spanish culture means to explore this unique blend of global perspectives.
4. Spanish has Latin origins
The Spanish language derives from a particular type of spoken Latin. This dialect developed in the central-northern region of the Iberian Peninsula following the 5th-century demise of the Western Roman Empire.
From the 13th to the 16th centuries, Toledo developed a written language standard and Madrid followed suit through the 1500s. During the last 1,000 years, the language has become more widespread, moving south towards the Mediterranean.
5. Spanish has two names: Castellano and Español
Spanish speakers often refer to their language as español as well as castellano, which is the Spanish word for “Castilian.”
The terms applied can differ from region to region, and they can also reflect political and social views. In English, the term “Castilian Spanish” can be used to refer to individual dialects of Spanish spoken in the northern and central parts of Spain. Occasionally, the term is used more loosely to refer to the Spanish spoken in Spain, as opposed to Latin American Spanish.
6. Spanish is a phonetic language
Most people know a few words of Spanish, such as tapas, siesta, cava and tortilla. Spanish has also borrowed a few words from English, such as los jeans (jeans) and el hotel (hotel).
There are, however, some big differences between English and Spanish. For instance, there’s the fact that Spanish is a phonetic language. This means that you pronounce letters consistently and each letter represents a certain sound. This also means that Spanish is a fairly simple language for novices to learn, especially when it comes to spelling and speaking.