What writing system(s) does this language use?
Spanish is written using the Latin alphabet, with the addition of Ñ (enye). CH (che) and LL (eye) also used to have their own places in the alphabet (a, b, c, ch, d, …, l, ll, m, n, ñ, …) as well as RR (erre, the double r indicating a rolled r). Since 1994, however, words containing the letters CH and LL have been alphabetized as though spelled with the separate letters c - h and l - l.
Spanish doesn't use letter W except in foreign words. Letter K is used very little and is mainly found in foreign words.
How many people speak this language?
There are more than 400 million people across the globe who speak Spanish as their first language. When you include non-native speakers (people who learned another language before they learned Spanish), the total increases to about 500 million.
Where is this language spoken?
This language is spoken in Central and South America (except Brazil, Guyana, French Guyana, and Suriname), Mexico, and Spain. Large numbers of Spanish-speaking peoples live in the United States as well. Spanish is also spoken in several Caribbean islands including the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Some Jews living in Israel speak a dialect called Sefardi, also called Ladino. The biggest Spanish-speaking countries are Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina and the United States.
What is the history of this language?
Spanish is a member of the Romance branch of Indo-European languages, descended largely from Latin. Spanish has also been influenced by many other languages it has been in contact with, including Basque, Germanic, Arabic, several Native American languages, and other Romance languages such as French and Italian, so there are some Spanish words that do not come from Latin.
- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. He is best known for his novel Don Quixote de la Mancha, which is considered by many to be the first modern novel, one of the greatest works in Western literature, and the greatest of the Spanish language.
- Gabriel José García Márquez is a Colombian novelist, widely credited with introducing the global public to magical realism. He wrote Crónicas de una Muerte Anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold), Amor en los Tiempos de Cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera), Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), and others.
- Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer who is considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century. He is best known in the English speaking world for his short stories. Many of his most popular stories concern the nature of time, infinity, mirrors, labyrinths, reality, and identity.
- Ernesto Sabato is an Argentine writer best known for his existentialist novels El Túnel, On heroes and tombs, and The angel of darkness.
- Julio Cortázar was an Argentine intellectual and author of several experimental novels and many short stories. Cortázar is highly regarded as a master of short stories of a fantastic bent, with the collections Bestiario (1951) and Final de Juego (1956) containing many of his best examples in the genre, including the famous "Continuidad de los Parques."
- Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the penname and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and communist politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. His works have been translated into dozens of languages, and he is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century. He was accomplished in a wide variety of styles, including erotically charged love poems (such as "White Hills"), surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. Some of Neruda's most beloved poems are his "Odes to Broken Things," collected in several volumes. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez has called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language". In 1971, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature, a controversial award because of his political activism.
What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?
|Tal vez, quizás||Probably, perhaps|
|Buenos días||Good morning|
|Buenas tardes||Good afternoon|
|Buenas noches||Good night|
|¿Qué hay de nuevo?, ¿Qué hay?, ¿Qué onda?, ¿Qué pasa?||What's up?|
|No mucho.||Not much.|
|Hasta luego.||See you later.|
|Hasta mañana.||See you tomorrow.|
|Hasta la vista.||See you later.|
|Hablamos (translated 'Nos mantendremos en contacto').||Keep in touch.|
|Te veo pronto.||See you soon.|
|Frases útiles||Useful phrases|
|¿Podría decirme dónde puedo encontrar un baño? (polite)
¿Dónde hay un baño?
|Could you tell me where I can find a bathroom?
Where is the bathroom?
|¿Cuánto cuesta?, ¿Cuánto es?||How much does it cost?|
|Quiero leche por favor.||I want milk please.|
|Me caes bien.||I like you.|
|Te quiero, Te amo.||I love you|
|Mi perro se comió mi tarea.||My dog ate my homework.|
|De nada.||You're welcome.|
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
Hola, mis amigos, ¿cómo están?
|Hola, mis amigos, ¿cómo están?
|Hello, How Are You My Friends?
|Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
|Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
La pequeñita araña
|La pequeñita araña
|The Itsy Bitsy Spider
|The Cute Little Spider
Introduction • Glossary • Authors and Contributing • Print Version