The Spanish Language
Spanish, or Español, is a Western Romance language that is now considered to be widely spoken in Spain and around the world. As there are several varieties of Spanish, in this section, it generally refers to Castilian Spanish. Castilian Spanish is spoken by 74% of Spanish citizens and 99% of people in Spain who speak it as a second language.
Spanish has grown to become the world’s second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese, with a total of 480 million speakers worldwide. Moreover, another 75 million or more people speak Spanish as a second language, or with limited capacity. Spanish is also one of the most dispersed languages as it is spoken across more than 44 countries worldwide with at least 3 million non-native Spanish speakers.
Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations (UN), and also an official language used by the European Union (EU), and many other international organizations. Spanish is also an official language in at least 20 or more countries in the Americas. Although it is no longer an official language in the Philippines, it became an optional language and there are still people who speak Spanish within that region. Today, Spanish is the most popular second language learned in the United States.
In Spain, the Spanish language is generally known as Español, but in other countries (i.e. Mexico, Panama, Peru, Argentina and other South American countries) and territories outside of the Castilian region (i.e. Asturia, Aragon, Galicia, Leon, Portugal etc.), Spanish is called Castellano (the language of the Castile region). Castilian Spanish is currently known to be the modern form of Spanish, although Castilian dialects are still spoken in some parts of Spain. Regardless, if you are beginning to learn Spanish, the modern form is good enough to be understood in Spain and worldwide.
Spanish is a member of the Ibero-Romance language family, which evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. It became a distinct language that is separate from Vulgar Latin, and its vocabulary was eventually influenced by other neighboring Ibero-Romance languages such as Basque, Catalan, Celtiberian, and Visigothic. Later on, Spanish absorbed more words from French, Italian, and Portuguese. When the southern part of Spain was conquered by the Moslem invaders from North Africa, Spanish was influenced by the Mozarabic dialects and it took in many Arab loan words, which were spoken mostly in Al Andalus. After the Christian reconquest of Spain in the late 15th century, Spanish explorers such as Christopher Columbus, travelled west and discovered the Americas. From then on, in just a few hundred years, the Spanish language spread widely across that region, and up til present day, Spanish is widely spoken typically in the Central and South America.
Spanish Alphabets and Pronunciation
Spanish adjectives have to agree in gender and in number with the nouns they describe. Most masculine adjectives usually end in '-o', while the feminine adjectives usually end in '-a'. For adjectives ending in '-e', masculine and feminine forms can be used (SEE below). Adjectives with nationality ending in a consonant are made feminine by adding an '-a' to it. For example, "The girl is Spanish" is written as "La chica es española", while "The man is French" is written as "El hombre es español".
Spanish Verbs and Tenses
Spanish verbs are grouped into three categories which are also known as conjugations. They are the '-ar' conjugation, '-er' conjugation, and '-ir' conjugation. These conjugations are necessary in the Spanish language to show inflections according to the person, number, tense or mood in a conversation. Every Spanish infinitive verb can be expressed in the present, past, future, future conditional, and perfect tenses. Many verbs are regular, while there are also some verbs that are irregular, and hence, it is required to memorize some of these irregularities when learning the Spanish language.