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Spanish is my second language, and since I began learning it over 15 years ago when I moved to Mexico, I have been intrigued by it.
- The US is on track to being the largest Spanish speaking country in the world by the year 2050. Currently Mexico has the largest population of Spanish speaking people. I’m proud to know the language that is spoken by nearly 50 million people in the United States.
- Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, Spanish is the 2nd, and English is 3rd. 500 million people speak Spanish worldwide.
- It is also the 2nd most studied language. More than 20 million people were studying it in 2010. As the population explodes, and the economies of Latin American countries develop, the Spanish language is set to become more and more important in the world of business.
- It is the 3rd most used language on the Internet after English and Chinese. It is the second most widely used language on Twitter, and 80 million of the billion Facebook accounts belong to people who speak Spanish. This is remarkable since it is estimated that less than 40% of the population in Latin America has access to the internet.
- V and B are often used interchangeably both in written and spoken Spanish. Though the letter v is commonly pronounced as v in many parts of Mexico and Central America, the Royal Spanish Academy considers it to be incorrect and affected (snobbish).
- Latin is the original root of Spanish, and Arabic had a huge influence on the language. Today English is having a great impact on Spanish because so many English words are used internationally in technology, business, modern culture and entertainment, and have been accepted as common usage in Spanish.
- In different parts of the world Spanish is called either español or castellano. In Central America, except in El Salvador, the word español is used. In South America, all countries except Colombia use the word castellano.
- Though it originated on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar), the colonization of the New World led to more people in Latin America speaking Spanish than in the area where it came from. There are some differences between the Spanish spoken in Spain and that of Latin America, but they are minor and don’t hinder communication between people from different areas.
- It is spoken as a first language in 44 countries, ranking 4th most geographically widely spoken language. English is 1st with 112 countries, French is 2nd with 60 countries, and Arabic is 3rd with 57 countries.
- It is easy to read because it is one of the world’s most phonetic languages.
- It is a Romance language in the same category as French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, and Romanian. It is also part of the Indo-European classification which includes, English, French, German, the Scandinavian and Slavic languages, as well as many languages in India.
Languages fascinate me. Whenever anyone suggests that the English language is easy, I ask them to pronounce this: GHOTI. Of course it’s not a word, and most people read it as goaty, and are shocked when I tell them it’s pronounced fish. The GH are pronounced F as in enouGH, the O is I as in wOmen, and the TI is SH as in moTIon. Simple, right?