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History of Spanish
Quick Reference
  ·  Official Language
Spain, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, all the South American republics except Brazil and Guyana
  ·  Common 2nd language of
Parts of USA (Texas, Arizona, California, Miami) parts of Morocco and the west coast of Africa
  ·  Number of Speakers
320 million
  ·  Origin
Romance language (roots in Latin). Influence from the Moors who invaded. In the 15th Century, Castilian became the most common dialect
  ·  Alphabet & Scripts
Roman alphabet
The Rise of Castilian


In the 7th Century the regions to the north of Spain which had not been conquered during the Moorish invasion, saw the formation of Christian kingdoms which began to expand southwards and set the Reconquista in motion.

One such kingdom, Castile (land of castles - Castella) had succeeded in maintaining its independence throughout the various occupations (with the exception of the Roman Empire). This is shown in the language which was spoken in the 8th and 9th Centuries. It was the same language which, was to be elevated to the position of official language of the whole Spanish speaking world, namely Castilian Spanish.
Present Day Spanish
Spanish is the most widely spoken of the Romance languages, both in terms of number of speakers and the number of countries in which it is the dominant language. It is the mother tongue of some 320 million people scattered throughout the world - in the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, in parts of Morocco and the west coast of Africa.

It is the official language of all the South American republics, with the exception of Brazil and Guyana. Naturally the Spanish spoken in all these places appears in many varieties. In fact the differences between Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish are equivalent to those between British English and American English.

The Spanish vocabulary is of Latin origin, though many of the words differ markedly from their counterparts in French and Italian. Prolonged contact with Germanic and later Arabic affected its evolution but did not risk the decrease in Romance speaking. Germanic and Arabic have left their mark on the Spanish language as words like 'guerra' - war and 'algebra' - maths can both be traced back to their respective Germanic and Arabic origins.

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Did you know?
There are no "primitive" languages. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.
Spanish History
Spanish Speaking
Countries
» Spain
» Chile
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