¡Hola, a todos!
If you are presently studying Spanish or interested in learning this beautiful language, you might like to know some of the fun facts about the Spanish language that make it one of the most popular languages to study in the world. Here are 7 fun facts about the Spanish language you probably didn’t know:
- About 329 million Spanish speakers exist in the world, making Spanish the second most spoken language on the planet, according to Ethnologue. This ranking refers to people who speak Spanish as their first language. English comes third – English speakers number around 328 million — yet neither Spanish nor English can compete with Chinese, which has 1.2 billion speakers.
- In terms of number of countries that speak Spanish, 44 countries speak the Romance language, with a minimum of 3 million native speakers living in each. English tops the ranking with 112 countries, French 60 and Arabic 57, notes Ethnologue.
- More than a third of the globe’s population speak a language that is a member of the Indo-European family of languages, of which Spanish is also a member. Other Indo-European languages are French, English, German, the Slavic languages, the Scandinavian languages and many languages of India. Spanish is classified further as a Romance language; other languages of this group include Portuguese, Catalan, French, Italian and Romanian.
- Although it is unknown when precisely the Latin of the north-central region of Spain became Spanish, experts say the tongue of the Castile region started evolving into a different language as a result of standardization policies enacted by King Alfonso in the 13th century. By the time Christopher Columbus reached the Americas in 1492, Spanish had evolved to the point where the written and spoken language of that time could be easily understood today.
- Mexico is the largest country of Spanish speakers with over 121 million people. The United States ranks second with almost 53 million people, followed by Colombia, Spain, and Argentina.
- Spanish is one of the most phonetic languages that exists on the planet today. If a Spanish speaker knows how a word is spelled, they can generally pronounce the word well (but not vice versa). Words of foreign origin that retain their original spelling, however, are an exception to this rule.
- Founded in the 18th century, the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española) is the ultimate authority on the Spanish language. It releases grammar guides and dictionaries and its dictums – though lacking the force of law – are respected in Spain and Latin America. One of the language rules supported by the Academy involve the use of the inverted exclamation point and question mark (¿ and ¡). Despite being used by some of the non-Spanish speakers of Spain, the two punctuation marks join the letter “ñ” as main distinctive features of the language. The letter “ñ” was officially adopted by Spanish speakers in the 14th century.
We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about the Spanish language. To really improve your Spanish and take it to LightSpeed then please come and visit us at https://lightspeedspanish.co.uk/
Sean Hopwood, MBA is founder and President of Day Translations, Inc., an online localization and Spanish translation services provider, dedicated to the improvement of global communications. He is also a language polyglot and a language enthusiast. His goal in life is to bring world peace through education, tolerance and cultural awareness.