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Language is a prevalent force of everyday life. We use it to express ourselves and connect with those that share a common understanding of the culture behind the spoken words. In today’s global climate there is an abundance of languages available for studying purposes, leisure, or to expand one’s linguistical knowledge. However, no language is more distinctive and widely prevalent than the Spanish language. Though it is only considered the fourth official language on the international spectrum, it still remains a regularly spoken language for many countries and territories. Through an understanding of the rich history to the conception of the Spanish language, one can gain some valuable insights into the origins of the language. It will shed some light into what lead to its worldwide distribution, and how it has managed to establish itself as the world’s second-most spoken native language today.

Origins of the Spanish language

The language we have all come to know today as Spanish, has a complicated history that is filled with the rise and fall of great empires, which have attributed to its unique flair. For many individuals the language remains a symbolic cultural identity, as well as, a connection to a greater past. Spanish was originally derived from a dialect of spoken Latin, known today as, Vulgar Latin. This dialect was brought by the Romans during the expansion of the Roman Empire into the Iberian Peninsula, and remained the official language throughout its reign. However, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the dialect began to evolve by integrating the local language of the inhabitants of neighbouring countries and started to take its own unique form. Various dialects would arise from the ancient Latin of the Romans, so much so, that much of the spoken dialect that is prominent in modern Europe is referred to as Castilian Spanish. Eventually, Spanish colonization would expand the language through the Atlantic Ocean to different parts of the world and form variations of the language, all with a unique twist.

Global distribution of the Spanish language

After the establishment of the Spanish Empire in 1492, Spanish colonization expanded throughout the Atlantic Ocean and brought the language to the Americas, Africa, Philippines, and Mexico. Majority of the colonies settled in Central America, where the spoken language still remains largely Spanish. Under the rule of Spanish imperialism, Castilian Spanish became greatly influenced by the language of the native countries. During this time, Spanish would borrow missing words and vocabulary that did not exist in their own language from the natives, and incorporate them into modern Latin American Spanish. With the gradual expansion of colonialism, Spanish would establish itself throughout multiple countries worldwide.

Prevalence of Spanish in today’s language spectrum

As a result of Spanish colonialism, the language was able to flourish throughout different parts of the world and take on its own unique form through the influence of various native languages. Today, Spanish is thriving as the world’s second-most spoken native language. It remains the official language of 20 countries and is spoken by 400 million native speakers. Its influence in the US also remains prominent through the exposure from modern media, and is the second most taught language in the states. Spanish remains strong today, and its deep-rooted cultural identity gave life to an ever-diverse language.

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