You are currently viewing 15 fascinating facts about the Spanish language

Spanish; the language that you all probably came across at one point in your life; most likely you heard the words “cerveza” “hola” “buenos días”, but what do you really know about the Spanish language?

Are you not curious to see how the language came about and what the language is known for?

Is Spanish similar to English or does it sound like every other European language to you? Let’s work our brains a little and learn some interesting facts about the Spanish language.

1. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world after Mandarin

That’s slightly surprising, right? Most people may assume English is the second most spoken language, but there are only about 360 million native English speakers worldwide, compared to more than 577 million native Spanish speakers. Learning Spanish, I suppose, has become necessary if you want to make an impression or even communicate with 7% of the world’s population.

Spanish official language 20 countries

2. Spanish is an official language for around 20 countries

When you think of Spanish speakers, we naturally think of Spain or Mexico. In reality, Spanish is the official language in many other countries. A few countries include Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and so on. These countries are famous tourist destinations, so why not brush up on your Spanish before travelling to make an impression? We are here to help, check out our tuition page https://www.languagesalive.com/best-online-language-lessons/

3. Spanish is derived from a dialect of spoken Latin

Let’s get to the history of Spanish origins. The Romans brought Latin to the Iberian Peninsula (today known as Spain and Portugal) after their occupation in the late 3rd century BC. Moors who captured sections of the region combined the Latin language with their Arabic dialect. After the decline of Roman Empire and decades of intermingling, this language had vanished by the late 16th Century. Alfonso X the Wise advanced the first standard form of Spanish in the 13th century (who replaced Latin for Castilian as language of the administration).

Throughout the 15th century, the Castilian Spanish language was referred to as “old Spanish.” From 16th century on, it’s referred as Modern Spanish. In 1713, the Spanish Royal Academy was established with the primary goal of standardising the language and it continues to produce new editions of dictionary and grammar from time to time.

4. After Mexico, the United States has the most spoken Spanish as the first language

Spanish people set sail in America in the early modern period during the Spanish Conquests. The Spanish language has spread across the globe since colonisation. More than 43 million people speak Spanish now, and the number is growing. This makes it the second-largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico with almost 130 million inhabitants, but it is most likely to dethrone Mexico by 2050.

5. Spanish- the language of romance

‘It has a melodic tone that even an insult can sound romantic’… It’s not simply the lyrical sound that makes Spanish romantic; it’s also because the language is derived from Latin which is classified as a ‘Romance language’. This also includes other languages as Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. There are several ways to express love, but Spanish can easily make any words rhyme and sound like poetry or music to the ear. perhaps start with the basic ‘te amo’. If you need help with your flirting vocabulary contact me at raffaella@languagesalive for a free consultation.

spanish_alphabet_online

 

6. There are 27 letters in the Spanish alphabet

The letters are almost same as English alphabet with little changes. The Spanish alphabet originally comprised 29 letters, with Ch and II being eliminated by the Royal Spanish Academy in 2010. In the Spanish alphabet, there’s an addition of letter of ‘ñ’ pronounced as eñe, which explains the 27 letters. Although the letters are almost the same, some do have different pronunciations. For e.g V would be pronounced as ‘uve’. To be fair, learning the basics of letter pronunciation will help you comprehend a speaker a lot. It also means that if you ever need to spell out an address or a name, you’ll know at least how to pronounce it and repeat repetition. If you would like to teach Spanish start with the alphabet, try our lesson plan with free resources here https://www.languagesalive.com/kids-at-home-on-coronavirus-break/

7. Spanish is the third most studied language in the world

There’s no denial that Spain comes in mind for travelling destination, but people have also shown interest in learning Spanish. Luckily, Spanish is fairly easy to learn especially for an English speaker. There’s been huge growth of people wanting to learn Spanish and the language is even becoming popular in Asia. With easy access of learning online, classes and University may explain why people are showing their interest.

8. Spanish is influenced by Arabic

Through history of Arabic forces ruling Spain for many centuries until the Christian armies took control of the area, the area had developed quickly to its Arabic art, technology and embraced the language. Did you know that the Spanish that is spoken now is a mix of old Spanish and 8% of Arabic? There are also some stunning historic sites built in a typical Arabic architecture as for instance the “Alhambra”.

9. The Royal Spanish Academy standardised the Spanish language

In 1713, the Spanish Royal Academy was established with the primary goal of ruling the language by the Duke of Escalona, Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco. The academy published grammar books, dictionaries, and continues to produce new editions of dictionary and grammar from time to time.

10. Did you know the exclamation and question marks are inverted at the beginning of the sentence?

A normal question or exclamation mark is written instead at the end of the sentence or clause. Inverted marks were originally recommended by the Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy) which used them in the second edition of the Ortografía de la lengua castellana (Orthography of the Castilian language) in 1754 recommending it as the symbol indicating the beginning of a question in written Spanish—e.g. “¿Cómo te llamas?” (“What’s your name?”). The Real Academia also employed the same inverted-symbol system for exclamation statements, using the symbols “¡” and “!”. These rules took time to be adopted and there are even some books published in the 19th century in which the author uses neither “¡” nor “¿”. Inverted marks are supported by various IT systems, including ISO-8859-1Unicode, and HTML. You can directly enter them on keyboards created specifically for Spanish –speaking countries

11. There are 18 tenses in Spanish

The most typical tenses you would hear is past, present, and future but Spanish has 15 more tenses to express yourself. The tenses are divided into simple and compound tenses. The reason they have so many tenses is the existence of three moods: indicative, subjunctive and imperative. Mastering the tenses means you will be able to communicate smoothly.

two ways to say i love you in spanish

12. Two ways to say ‘I love you’ in Spanish

It’s clear that Spanish is a romantic language that it has two phrases in Spanish that translates “I love you2. “Te Amo” is said between lovers or close-related families. “Te Quiero” is used to express love friendly way and not a romantic approach typically.

13. Some English words were adapted to Spanish in the 20th century

This makes learning the Spanish language easier. Certain words like ‘futbol’ (football), Sueter (Sweater) and pullover (Pullover) are pronounced similarly as English but spelt little different.

Glosses of Saint Emilianus

14. Las Glosas Emilianenses (Glosses of Saint Emilianus) was the first written Spanish record dating back to 964

It is the first known document, consisting of notes in both Spanish and Basque in the margins of a religious manuscript in Latin. The first literary work fully written in Spanish was El Cantar del Mio Cid , an anonymous poem from the 12th century.

15. Spanish longest word has 33 letters word

hipopotomonstrosesquipedaliofobia is the longest Spanish word. This word means the fear or phobia for long words. ‘supercalifragilisticoexpialidoso’, which in english is ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. Let us just try not to read the word. The word has appeared in Spanish version of the Walt Disney musical Mary Poppin. Although, it is a long word, it’s limited to films and play. The other long word that’s 30/29 characters: esternocleidooccipitomastoideo
(A muscle in the neck), amidofosforribosiltransferasa (An enzyme). I think I have hipopotomonstrosesquipedaliofobia.

Further Information

We have made it to the end of our 15 fascinating facts about the Spanish language, why not read about Spanish values and traditions? See our article here https://www.languagesalive.com/spanish-values-and-traditions/

If you are travelling to Spain read everything there is to know about Spain from the weather to solo female travel, including the Covid 19 requirements to enter the country. If you are heading to the Balearic Island be aware that there are some alcohol consumption restrictions in order to avoid social disruptions. Click here to read further https://www.languagesalive.com/what-should-you-know-about-spain/

Are you currently using Duolingo to brush up on your Spanish?

See our Duolingo’s review here https://www.languagesalive.com/duolingo-review/

Raffaella Palumbo

Passionate about languages & good food. I hold a Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and French, a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions and the CLTA teaching certificate. My hobby is chasing the sun around the globe. My favourite quote: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way” (Frank Smith)

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