Throughout the history of Spain, the historical center of the country was known as Castile, where the beginnings of the Spanish language (Castillian) developed.
It is the Spanish Constitution that names the official language of the country as Castillian, which is known by the rest of the world as Spanish. The language is quite important in Spain, as all Spaniards are expected to learn it and exercise their right to use it. Close to 350 million people speak the authorized cultural language of Castillian (or Spanish) with a majority of residents claiming it as their first language. It is through these numbers that this Spanish language is one of the most widely spoken of all Romance languages. Castillian is also spoken in other countries (former colonies of Spain) that are located in Central and South America.
Since 1982, Euskera has been known as the official language of the Basque provinces (along with Castillian). El Euskera (also known as the Basque language) is spoken in the northern central part of Spain, where the Pyrennes melds into the Catabrian Sea. In the north of Spain, about 600,000 speakers proudly display the dialect that is now written using the Latin alphabet. Today, the language thrives in provinces, such as Guipúzcoa, Vizcaya, Navarra, and some parts of Alava. In addition to Basque being a language spoken in Spain, it is also found in the French Atlantic Pyrenees.
The Romance language of Catalan is also spoken in Spain, where the earliest accounts are seen in text written by Homilies d'Organya, dating back to the middle of the 12th century. Throughout the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries, Catalan was the primary language of literature. Restrictions set by the Spanish royals caused a period of decline for Catalan from the 16th to 18th centuries. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Renaixenca Renaissance movement brought back an interest in the language. Today, Catalan is the official language of Catalunya, the Balearic Islands, and in some parts of Aragon and Murcia. About 5 to 6 million people consider Catalan their mother tongue.
With a history dating back to the start of the Middle Ages, Galician-Portuguese is another Romance language spoken in Spain. Today, almost 2 million people speak Galician (which is quite similar to Castillian).
Throughout Spain, the richness in culture continues with many variations of verbal communication. Depending on the location, numerous provinces are currently known to possess their own dialects and language. Overall, the most popular language is the official tongue of the country – Castillian (Spanish).
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