Spanish Language Day
April 19th, 2021
With over 450 million native speakers and at least 3 million native speakers in 44 countries, it is needless to say the Spanish language is used throughout the world. There are 10 total dialects of the Spanish language, with each having its own culture and history. Mexico has the most Spanish-speaking natives at 120 million! Colombia comes in second with just under 50 million. Spanish is one of the six languages recognized by the UN and is recognized on April 23rd as part of the official language days.
The Spanish dialect began developing before the 12th century, in Arab-occupied Spain. During this time, Latin was the language spoken throughout the Iberian peninsula. Slowly, many conventions of Latin were being modified and dropped, forming the early Spanish dialect. An early form of the Spanish language can be found in some Arabic and Hebrew poems. Modern Spanish can trace its roots to north-central Spain, in Cantabria. Over time, the local Cantabrian language spread to Castile, where the modern standard of Spanish was formed, as the Castilian dialect.
There are so many different dialects because of regional isolation that occurred in China, and in many areas is still prevalent. Since most people did not travel out of the region they lived in, different dialects formed in each community. Many of these dialects still exist today and are an important part of the history and tradition for the region and people they come from. Around the 13th century, King Alfonso X, also known as the Learned-King of Castile and Leon, declared Castilian as the official language for government documents and decrees. This came after scholars and scientists began to translate various texts into the Castilian language. The Castilian language continued to grow throughout regions of Spain, and it quickly became the official language for all educational materials and official documents in Spain.
Two centuries later is when Latin American Spanish was born. This was caused by Castilian Spanish speakers colonizing Latin America. There was a massive amount of native speakers in Latin America, which caused a blend of local dialects and Castilian Spanish. Thus Latin American Spanish was born, however, each geographical region has different quirks and slang.
Two Main Dialects
The two most used dialects of the Spanish language are Castilian Spanish, which is mainly used in Spain, and Latin American Spanish. The main difference between the two dialects is pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. For example, the word “computer” in Castilian is pronounced “ordenador”, but in Latin American Spanish it is pronounced “computadora”. The amazing thing about these two dialects is even though there are differences, speakers of opposing dialects can speak to one another with little difficulty. This stems from the fact that Latin American Spanish is a blend between the Castilian language and the
native speakers’ dialect.
The main difference in grammar is Castilian’s use of Vosotros and Latian American’s use of Ustedes. The difference between these two grammar forms is that Vosotros is in the form of second-person plural and Ustedes is in the form of third-person plural. Along with that, Vosotros has informal and formal uses, while Ustedes is universal. To learn more, click the link below!