A direct descendent of Latin, Spanish belongs to the Romance group of languages together with Portuguese, French, Romanian and Italian. Spanish is the most popular of this group, having almost four hundred million native speakers across the globe. It is used in Spain, in the Americas and to a smaller extent in Africa and Asia Pacific, thus gathering over five hundred million speakers worldwide and climbing to the fourth position in the top of the most widely spoken languages. Spanish is the official language of twenty independent countries (including Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica and Peru) and one of the six official working languages of the United Nations.
Although called ‘Castilian’ in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 (name taken from the region of Castile), the generic name of the language remains ‘Spanish’. In Spain the Castilian dialect is regarded as the national standard and it is based on pronouncing the words exactly as they are written. Here one can find several dialects such as: Canarian, Andalusian, Murcian, Extremaduran and Northern Spanish. Over twenty more are spoken in the Latin American lands.
Spanish uses the Latin alphabet to which it added the letter “ñ" (eñe). Another particularity of the Spanish alphabet is that the digraphs “ch" and “ll" are considered single letters, each of them representing a single phoneme.
The language of explorers and of the powerful Inquisition, Spanish began to be more extensively used in diplomacy only in the 18th century. That was also the period when Spanish grammar was formalized. Ever since the language has continued to develop, borrowing more and more foreign words.
Famous for its speakers (writers like Garcia Marquez, Llosa and Cervantes) but also for the beautiful countries it is spoken in, Spanish has become one of the most popular languages in the world. More and more students sign up for Spanish language courses nowadays and the people’s interested in it is shown in the massive request for translations from and into Spanish.
Ioana Mihailas is a linguist for Lingo24 translation agency London , a leading provider of high quality Spanish translation services .