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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Fascinating Historical past of Spanish: A Concise Overview

Have you ever ever puzzled the place, precisely, Spanish comes from?

And the way a lot did Spanish evolve over time? How is the Spanish we communicate at this time completely different from the language up to now?

It seems the Spanish we now know and love is the results of hundreds of years of language growth and cultural influences.

Be a part of me on a journey to be taught in regards to the origin and historical past of Spanish and its evolution to at this time’s kinds of the language.


The Historical past of Spanishthe-history-of-spanish-language

1. The Roots of Spanish

Time interval: 3400 – 200 BCE

Linguists theorize {that a} widespread mom language referred to as Proto-Indo-European was spoken till round 3,400 BCE. This language, because the identify implies, was spoken over an unlimited geographical space from India to Europe.

Since this historical language was by no means written or recorded, we don’t know a lot about it, though linguists have recreated some phrases and sounds primarily based on theoretically knowledgeable guesses.

However we do know that from its humble beginnings close to the Black Sea, Indo-European was unfold far and vast as teams of individuals fanned out throughout Europe and Asia.

Over time, languages advanced and branched out into Anatolian, Indo-Iranian, Greek, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Armenian, Tocharian, Balto-Slavic and Albanian. Linguist Mark Damen explores one side of this evolution over time in a TEDx speak right here:

However we’re right here for the historical past of Spanish, we’re specializing in the Italic department of the Indo-European languages as a result of it’s from that department that we finally received to Latin. And Spanish is firmly rooted in Latin: Vulgar Latin to be particular.

2. Spanish Emerges From Vulgar Latin

Time interval: 200 BCE – 710 AD

Because the Romans unfold out throughout Europe, they settled within the Iberian Peninsula, bringing their Latin language with them. Throughout these a whole lot of years of occupation, the locals needed to discover a option to talk with the Roman newcomers.

Thus, a language was born: Spanish originated on the Iberian Peninsula and developed from Vulgar Latin, which is the spoken type of Latin.

If you happen to’re within the variations between traditional and vulgar Latin, NativeLang has an attention-grabbing exploration of the sounds within the video under:

3. Spanish Is Strongly Influenced by Arabic

Time interval: 710 – 1450 AD

Simply when Spanish was getting comfy on the Iberian Peninsula, one thing groundbreaking occurred. The Romans have been out and Spain was overtaken by Muslim Moors from the south. In actual fact, they continued to rule the peninsula for over 800 years.

Throughout this time, not solely did the Moors construct unimaginable buildings in Spain just like the Alhambra, a however huge array of Arabic phrases have been integrated into Spanish. In actual fact, greater than 4,000 fashionable Spanish phrases are Arabic in origin!

You possibly can hear how comparable Arabic and Spanish are on this video:

4. The Castilian Spanish Dialect Emerges

Time interval: 1200s

Because the languages within the space combined collectively, dialects started to take form inside the spoken language.

Across the finish of the 11th century, the Castilian dialect developed in northern Spain. That is the earliest level the place we may hear the origins of contemporary Spanish.

What began as an area dialect unfold and gained a foothold when the kingdoms of Castile, Leon and Aragon joined collectively to type the beginnings of Spain within the late fifteenth century, and in 1492, Castilian grew to become the area’s official language.

With this newly widespread use, literature started to emerge from the realm. Folks began to write down down the tales that have been beforehand unfold via oral storytelling, additional evolving and refining the language.

Different literature started to be translated into Castilian, as nicely. A surge of written language is usually an indication of a excessive level for a society, and Spain was no exception. 

In Charles E. Chapman’s “A Historical past of Spain,” we be taught that there was a big mental surge main as much as the tip of the 15th century.

To at the present time, Castilian Spanish stays the official language of the nation, though different kinds of Spanish are additionally spoken.

5. Spanish Is Launched within the Americas 


Time interval: 1490s – 1830s

Chances are you’ll be questioning how Spanish ended up being spoken so removed from the Iberian Peninsula in Latin and South America. The reply is exploration and colonialism.

The journey of the language throughout the Atlantic is basically because of an Italian (or possibly Portuguese) explorer whose identify you may acknowledge—Christopher Columbus.

Beginning together with his voyage in 1492, Columbus traveled on behalf of Spain (talking Castilian Spanish) to the Americas 4 instances.

He and his crews introduced the language to many locations, together with the Bahamian islands, Trinidad, the South American mainland, Panama, present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

And he wasn’t the one Spanish explorer who explored the Americas: Spain’s Juan Ponce de León additionally made a number of journeys beginning in 1513 to Florida. In actual fact, Spanish and English co-existed in North America as the principle languages for over 400 years.

All this exploration by the Spanish led to the institution of a number of Spanish-speaking colonies in present-day Florida and California.

6. Latin American Spanish Develops

Time interval: 1500s – current

Languages don’t dwell in isolation, and Spanish continued to evolve after it arrived within the Americas, and lengthy after the Spanish explorers had left.

Castilian Spanish might have arrived in its pure, unique type to the Americas, however it didn’t stay that manner: Dialects emerged, and Latin American Spanish advanced. There are distinctive variations of Spanish spoken in Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico—in actual fact, there are 12 dialects of Spanish simply in South America.

Even at this time, relying on the place you go, you’ll hear variations within the accent and vocabulary of the language, generally refined and generally fairly drastic, as you’ll be able to see within the following video:

Over time, the sounds and vocabulary of Latin American Spanish grew to become fairly completely different from these of Castilian Spanish, as you’ll be able to hear by evaluating the fantastic kinds of Latin American Spanish within the earlier video to Alberto Jorrin’s pitch good Castilian pronunciation right here:

In order for you extra perception on the variations between Castilian and Latin American Spanish, FluentU has many examples of those variations of Spanish in its huge video library, displaying how actual folks all over the world use Spanish.

FluentU makes use of genuine media clips to show each Castilian and Latin American Spanish.

Native content material is made approachable at any degree with the assistance of interactive subtitles, multimedia flashcards and adaptive quizzes that be taught as you do.

You may as well discover FluentU on iOS and Android, so you’ll be able to brush up in your Spanish wherever you go. 

So, that’s a concise overview of how Spanish got here to be! If you happen to additionally be taught nicely by watching movies, this informative TED Ed video may assist cement your new information on the topic. It traces the historical past of Spanish from the third century BCE in Iberia to the current day:

The Spanish Language At present

Spanish Language Info

At present, Spanish is probably the most extensively spoken Romance language on Earth. In actual fact, it’s the native language to virtually 490 million folks in 20 nations. While you rely those that use it as a second language, the full goes as much as practically 600 million audio system.

Spanish can also be used extensively in nations the place Spanish isn’t an official language. The USA is a chief instance of a spot the place Spanish is used extensively regardless of not being one of many nation’s official languages. Practically 45 million People have Spanish as their native tongue.

Spanish can also be thought of the second world language in worldwide communication and the third world language in politics, economics and tradition.

Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish

Castilian Spanish—castellano in Spanish—is spoken predominantly in Spain. Although Castilian is mutually intelligible with different Spanish varieties, there are some pronunciation variations, and some vocabulary variations.

In Spain, they’ve a pronunciation characteristic referred to as the seseo, which principally implies that the <c/s> sound present in phrases like el centro (town heart) or Barcelona are extra like a <th> sound.

In Spain you drive un coche (a automobile) whereas in South America, you trip in un carro (a automobile).

In Spain, the usted (you, formal) type is reserved for officers and elders, whereas in Argentina, virtually everybody you realize is usted (you, formal) and the tú (you, casual) is rarely used.

The Royal Spanish Academy 

Initially based in 1713 to protect and defend the Spanish language, the Actual Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy) nonetheless operates at this time, recording and guiding the language when new phrases are required.

Though there are linguistic variations between the Spanish-speaking nations and territories, one of many Academy’s foremost functions is to preserve a sure commonplace and degree of uniformity inside the varied kinds of the language.

The Academy engages in tutorial exercise and releases a dictionary that’s up to date each few years, however this doesn’t imply the Academy resists all change. They know that Spanish is the results of linguistic evolution, and it’ll proceed to alter as time strikes on, as new phrases are coined, and as new regional accents develop.

FAQs About Spanish

When Was Spanish First Spoken?

Spanish, which emerged from Indo-European’s Italic department, was first spoken within the northern Iberian Peninsula. The earliest textual proof of Spanish is from paperwork written within the ninth century, present in and round Toledo in Spain, however it’s possible the language was spoken a pair hundred years earlier than this. Most linguists agree that the language was standardized by the thirteenth century.

The place Did the Spanish Language Initially Come From?

Spanish emerged from a mixture of Indo-European languages that got here to the Iberian Peninsula by way of migrants from the Black Sea area, and the introduction of Vulgar Latin, the spoken language of the colonizing Romans within the territory that’s modern-day Spain.

What Did They Communicate in Spain Earlier than Spanish?

Earlier than occupation by the Romans, folks in Spain spoke all kinds of languages, most of which emerged from Indo-European languages from the Black Sea area. The key language of indigenous Iberians was often called Iberian, which has little in widespread with fashionable Spanish. Some folks additionally spoke non-related languages equivalent to Basque.

Who Speaks “Unique” Spanish?

Most linguists at this time say the folks of northern and central Spain communicate “unique” Spanish, which is the place the Castilian number of the language developed. Usually referred to as European Spanish, this selection can also be the official language of Spain.


In brief, Spanish is like una hermosa mariposa (a beautiful butterfly).

By way of varied processes of change and transformation, the language that we all know and love emerged, in all its wonderful colours and variations.

It unfold its wings and flew—and now calls the worldwide group its dwelling!

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