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Spanish

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Interesting facts about Spanish

329 to 358 million people speak Spanish as a mother tongue worldwide, most of whom live in South and Central America as well as in Spain. Some 45 million speakers live in the United States, placing the USA in second place worldwide after Mexico and even ahead of Columbia and Spain. Although it does not have official status in any state, the number of speakers in some of the south-western states is over 30 percent.

Spanish, also Catalan, is a Romance language of the Indo-European family and can be placed with Portuguese and Catalan in the smaller unit of Ibero-Romantic. Spanish can also be incorporated with French, Catalan, Portuguese and other smaller Romance languages into the West Romance languages.

Spanish, or Catalan, evolved from a Latin dialect spoken in the border area between Cantabria, Burgos, Álava and La Rioja and became the vernacular in Castile. Latin was the official language of this time and is where the term “castellano” comes, referring to its geographical origin. The other term, “español”, originates from the Medieval Latin term “Hispaniolus”, a diminutive of “Spanish”.

Castellano (Catalan) and español (Spanish) are synonymous terms. Primarily in Spain, the use of one term over another is often politically tinged. In South America “castellano” is largely preferred, while in Central America and Columbia “español” is standard.

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