Spanish language

  • español
  • castellano
[kasteˈʝano] , [kasteˈʎano]
SpeakersNative: 500 million (2023)[1]
Total: 600 million[1]
100 million speakers with limited capacity (23 million students)[1]
Early forms
Latin script (Spanish alphabet)
Spanish Braille
Signed Spanish (using signs of the local language)
Official status
Official language in

Regulated byAssociation of Spanish Language Academies
(Real Academia Española and 22 other national Spanish language academies)
Language codes
ISO 639-1es
ISO 639-2spa
ISO 639-3spa
  Official majority language
  Co-official or administrative language but not majority native language
  Secondary language (more than 20% Spanish speakers) or culturally important
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Spanish (español) or Castilian (castellano) is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family that evolved from the Vulgar Latin spoken on the Iberian Peninsula of Europe. Today, it is a global language with about 500 million native speakers, mainly in the Americas and Spain, and about 600 million when including second language speakers.[4][5] Spanish is the official language of 20 countries, as well as one of the six official languages of the United Nations.[6] Spanish is the world's second-most spoken native language after Mandarin Chinese;[5][7] the world's fourth-most spoken language overall after English, Mandarin Chinese, and Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu); and the world's most widely spoken Romance language. The country with the largest population of native speakers is Mexico.[8]

Spanish is part of the Ibero-Romance language group, in which the language is also known as Castilian (castellano). The group evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in Iberia after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. The oldest Latin texts with traces of Spanish come from mid-northern Iberia in the 9th century,[9] and the first systematic written use of the language happened in Toledo, a prominent city of the Kingdom of Castile, in the 13th century. Spanish colonialism in the early modern period spurred on the introduction of the language to overseas locations, most notably to the Americas.[10]

As a Romance language, Spanish is a descendant of Latin. Around 75% of modern Spanish vocabulary is derived from Latin, including Latin borrowings from Ancient Greek.[11][12] Alongside English and French, it is also one of the most taught foreign languages throughout the world.[13] Spanish is well represented in the humanities and social sciences.[14] Spanish is also the third most used language on the internet by number of users after English and Chinese[15] and the second most used language by number of websites after English.[16]

Spanish is spoken across all continents[17] and is used as an official language by many international organizations, including the United Nations, European Union, Organization of American States, Union of South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, African Union, among others.[6]

  1. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference viva18 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Eberhard, Simons & Fennig (2020)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2022). "Castilic". Glottolog 4.6. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Archived from the original on 28 May 2022. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  4. ^ "Ethnologue, 2022". Archived from the original on 7 May 2023. Retrieved 2 December 2023.
  5. ^ a b Eberhard, David M.; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D. (2022). "Summary by language size". Ethnologue. SIL International. Archived from the original on 18 June 2023. Retrieved 2 December 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Official Languages". United Nations. Archived from the original on 5 January 2024. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  7. ^ Salvador, Yolanda Mancebo (2002). "Hacia una historia de la puesta en escena de La vida es sueño". Calderón en Europa (in Spanish). Vervuert Verlagsgesellschaft. pp. 91–100. doi:10.31819/9783964565013-007. ISBN 978-3-96456-501-3. Archived from the original on 3 March 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Countries with most Spanish speakers 2021". Statista. Archived from the original on 17 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  9. ^ Vergaz, Miguel A. (7 November 2010), La RAE avala que Burgos acoge las primeras palabras escritas en castellano (in Spanish), ES: El Mundo, archived from the original on 24 November 2010, retrieved 24 November 2010
  10. ^ Rice, John (2010). "sejours linguistiques en Espagne". Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  11. ^ Heriberto Robles; Camacho Becerra; Juan José Comparán Rizo; Felipe Castillo (1998). Manual de etimologías grecolatinas (3rd ed.). México: Limusa. p. 19. ISBN 968-18-5542-6. Archived from the original on 24 January 2023. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  12. ^ Comparán Rizo, Juan José. Raices Griegas y latinas (in Spanish). Ediciones Umbral. p. 17. ISBN 978-968-5430-01-2. Archived from the original on 23 April 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  13. ^ Spanish in the World Archived 6 February 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Language Magazine, 18 November 2019.
  14. ^ "El español se atasca como lengua científica". Servicio de Información y Noticias Científicas (in Spanish). 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  15. ^ Devlin, Thomas Moore (30 January 2019). "What Are The Most-Used Languages On The Internet?". +Babbel Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 December 2021. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Usage statistics of content languages for websites". 10 February 2024. Archived from the original on 17 August 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  17. ^ "In which countries of the world is this language spoken?". Archived from the original on 29 June 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2024.