Spanish is the mother tongue of an estimated 400-450 million people, making it the world’s second most spoken language.
Spanish speakers often refer to their language as Español as well as Castellano, which is the Spanish word for “Castilian.”
In Spain, a person's choice of terms to refer to the language — castellano or español — sometimes can have political implications. In many parts of Latin America, the Spanish language is known routinely as castellano rather than español. “Castilian Spanish” can be used to refer to individual dialects of Spanish spoken in the northern and central parts of Spain.
3. Spanish is an easy language to speak
There are, however, some big differences between English and Spanish. For instance, there’s the fact that Spanish is a phonetic language. This means that you pronounce letters consistently and each letter represents a certain sound. This also means that Spanish is a fairly simple language for novices to learn, especially when it comes to spelling and speaking.
Arab armies started to conquer the Iberian Peninsula in 711, bringing Arabic art, architecture and language to the region. Arabic gradually mixed with old Spanish to become the language spoken today.
When Spain expelled the Arabs in 1492, the language retained some 8,000 Arabic words. Apart from Latin, Arabic is the largest contributor to Spanish. Many words that you already know in Spanish come from Arabic, such as el alfombra (carpet), la almendra (almond) and la almohada (pillow).
Spain has always been a popular travel and foreign study destination. Studying Spanish in schools and universities has also grown in popularity. These days the language is becoming very popular in Asia, signifying its importance in global economic markets.
The use of Spanish online has risen by an incredible 800% in recent years and this means it’s the third most popular language on the Internet, not far behind Mandarin and English.
An estimated 18 million students are currently studying Spanish as a foreign language. Forecasts indicate that, in a few generations from now, 10% of the world’s population will understand Spanish whereas the number is currently 6%. That’s a big leap coming!