Why Learning to Speak Spanish Will Change Your Life
The Spanish language is part of the Romance Language group, languages that are derived from Latin, which encompass not only Spanish but also Italian, Portuguese, French and Romanian. It is part of the Iberian group and originated from Castilla, a historical region of the Iberian Peninsula, now known as Spain.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world with 443 million speakers. It is spoken in Spain, Latin America and some parts of Africa as well as the Philippines and is one of the official languages of these countries. Also, Spanish is on the six official languages of the United Nations Organization.
Spanish, similarly, to French and Italian (see also: Italian language school and courses in Florence), was derived from Latin during the third century after the collapse of the Roman Empire. As a result of this collapse, many languages were formed such as Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian. These languages share a good proportion of basic vocabulary, similar grammatical forms with some phonological changes.
Given the spread of Spanish through many different countries, it is by far the most popular language spoken out of the Romance languages.
The History of the Spanish Language
The history of the Spanish language begins with Latin during the Roman Empire. Specifically, it has its origin in the central area of northern Hispania. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the influence of Latin on ordinary people gradually diminished.
In the 8th century, the Umayyad conquest of Hispania caused two distinct areas to form. In Al-Andalus, Romance language dialects mixed with Mozarabic were spoken along with some non-native minority languages such as Arabic and Berber. Meanwhile, in Christian influenced areas, an evolution began which saw the emergence of Catalan, Aragonese, Asturian-Leonese, Galician and Castilian.
The original Castilian dialect originated in the medieval county of Castilla (southern Cantabria and northern Burgos), with Basque and German influences. The oldest texts known in Spanish are the Glosas emilianenses, which are preserved in the Yuso Monastery, in San Millán de la Cogolla (La Rioja).
It spread to the south of the peninsula thanks to the Spanish kingdom’s successive dynastic unifications. In the 15th century, during the Spanish unification process of their kingdoms, Antonio de Nebrija published his Grammatica in Salamanca. It is the first grammar thesis of the Spanish language also the first of a common European language. The colonization and conquest of America, carried out simultaneously, expanded the language throughout most of the American continent.
The original Spanish language later derived into numerous dialects that, although they respect the main stem, have differences in pronunciation and vocabulary. To this we must add the influence of the languages of the native populations of America, such as Aymara, Nahuatl, Guaraní, Chibcha, Mapudungun, Taíno, Mayan, and Quechua, who also made contributions to the lexicon of the language.
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