Alternative name(s): Spanisch (de), Spanish (en), español (es), castellano (es), espagnol (fr), Spaans (nl), spanska (sv)
Language family: Indo-European
Language Group: Romance
Geographical use: Spain, South and Central America (exc. Brazil), Gibraltar, Andorra, on the Philippines, in Morocco (Ceuta and Melilla), Western Sahara, the USA and on Easter Island.
Information: Vulgar Latin, spoken by
the Roman occupiers on the Iberian Peninsula, was the basis of a number
of dialects that developed until the Middle Ages. The dialect of
Castilia slowly became the standard due to Castilia's growing political
The majority of Spanish vocabulary is derived from Latin. Many words came from Greek, Basque and Celtic. The Visigot invasion in the 5th century added Germanic words. Three centuries later Spanish got a lot of Arabic loan words from the islamic occupiers. The majority of these words can be recognized by the prefix al. In the 11th century a lot of French pilgrims visited the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela. This way French words entered the Spanish language. In the 15th and 16th centuries Spanish was influenced by Italian via the Aragonese rule in Italy. Because of its close ties with its colonies, a great number of indian loan words entered the language. Finally, in the 20th century, Spanish borrowed many English words.
Spanish grammar is closely related to the grammar of other romance languages (French, Portuguese, Italian, ...). Spanish does use the subjunctive a lot more than any other modern language. Reciprocal verbs have a much more idiomatic use. Spanish knows two genders, although the neutral noun lo occurs as well (no lo hizo: he did not do it).
In 2000, Spanish became the 2nd most widely spoken language in the world. (1st is Mandarin Chinese. 3rd is English). Many peoples of the world speak Spanish as a 2nd language, particularly from the US, Japan, and Brazil.