When we think of Spanish-speaking countries, what pleasures come to mind?
Exploring one of the many beautiful beaches of Spain? Catching a flamenco performance at an informal juerga? Or perhaps enjoying lunch and a relaxing siesta on the patio of a romantic restaurant in a quiet plaza?
As the most widely spoken of the Romance languages, both in the number of people speaking it and the number of countries in which you will hear it, Spanish is one of the six official languages used at the United Nations.
Spanish is the official language not only of Spain, but also of eighteen republics in Central and South America. Some eighty percent of Spanish speakers do not live in Spain.
“Hispanic” is the collective name for the Latin based languages that arose on the Iberian Peninsula during the seven centuries of Roman occupation. They developed into their present forms (Portuguese and dialects of Spanish) after the Romans left in 476 AD.
Following the conquest of America in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Spanish became the language of most of Central and South America. In Spain itself, several dialects developed, but the language spoken in Castille, the area around Madrid, slowly took on the role of “standard speech.”
Educated Spaniards will probably say they speak castellano (as opposed to español) to distinguish their language from other Spanish dialects and from South and Central American speech. To a large extent, Colombian Spanish and the language spoken in and around Mexico City have become the standard dialects in South and Central America.
Some general notes on Spanish:
Spanish uses the Latin alphabet with the addition of four letters: –ch, –ll, –ñ and –rr .
Spelling and pronunciation are closely linked in Spanish. It has two grammatical genders for nouns, masculine and feminine. It does not have a case system.
Spanish conjugates its verbs according to subject (I, you, he, she, we, you all, they), the tense (present, future, past) and the mode (conditional, subjunctive). For example:
|hablo||I am speaking|
|hablaba||I was speaking|
|hablaré||I will speak|
|hablaría||I would speak|
Word order in Spanish follows the model of Subject-Verb-Object
Learn to Speak Spanish Products