Spanish language

Spanish language
Pronunciation [kasteˈʎano]
Spoken in (see below)
Native speakers First language 329[1] million to 400[2][3][4] million.
500 million as first or second language.[5]  (date missing)
Language family
Writing system Latin (Spanish alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by Association of Spanish Language Academies
(Real Academia Española and 21 other national Spanish language academies)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 es
ISO 639-2 spa
ISO 639-3 spa
Linguasphere 51-AAA-b
Map-Hispanophone World.png
  Countries where Spanish has official status.
  Countries and U.S. states where Spanish has no official status but is spoken by 25% or more of the population.
  Countries and U.S. states where Spanish has no official status but is spoken by 10-20% of the population.
  Countries and U.S. states where Spanish has no official status but is spoken by 5-9.9% of the population.

Castilian (castellano or lengua castellana), commonly known as Spanish (español), is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century[6] and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile (present northern Spain) into central and southern Iberia during the later Medieval period.

Modern Castilian developed with the readjustment of consonants (reajuste de las sibilantes) that began in 15th century. The language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages as well as developing new words. Castilian was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade.[7]

In 1999, there were according to Ethnologue 358 million people speaking Castilian as a native language and a total of 417 million speakers[8] worldwide. Currently these figures are up to 400[3][4] and 500[5] million people respectively. Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese.[9] Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and is used as an official language by the European Union and Mercosur.

Due to its increasing presence in the demographics and popular culture of the United States, particularly in the fast-growing states of the Sun Belt, Spanish is widely considered to be the most beneficial second language for a native speaker of American English. The increasing political stability and economies of many larger Hispanophone nations, the language's immense geographic extent in Latin America and Europe for tourism, and the growing popularity of warmer, more affordable, and culturally vibrant retirement destinations found in the Hispanic world have contributed significantly to the growth of learning Spanish as a foreign language across the globe.



A page of Cantar de Mio Cid, the oldest preserved Spanish epic poem, in mediaeval Castilian.

Castilian emerged from its ancestral Vulgar Latin (common Latin) dialects in the 9th century. Latin had been brought to Iberia by the Romans during the Second Punic War around 210 BC, absorbing influences from the native Iberian languages such as Celtiberian, Basque and other paleohispanic languages. Later, it gained other external influences, most notably from the Arabic of the later Al-Andalus period.[10]

Local versions of Vulgar Latin evolved into Castilian in the central-north of Iberia, in an area defined by the then remote crossroad strips of Alava, Cantabria, Burgos, Soria and La Rioja, within the Kingdom of Castile (see Glosas Emilianenses). In this formative stage, Castilian developed a strongly differing variant from its close cousin, Leonese, and was distinguished by a heavy Basque influence (see Iberian Romance languages). This distinctive dialect progressively spread south with the advance of the Reconquista, and so gathered a sizable lexical influence from Al-Andalus Arabic, especially in the later Medieval period.

Antonio de Nebrija author of the Gramática, the first Grammar of modern European languages.

In the fifteenth century, in a process similar to that affecting other Romance languages, Castilian underwent a dramatic change with the Readjustment of the Consonants (Reajuste de las sibilantes). Typical features of Spanish diachronic phonology include lenition (Latin vita, Spanish vida), palatalisation (Latin annum, Spanish año, and Latin anellum, Spanish anillo) and diphthongisation (stem-changing) of stressed short e and o from Vulgar Latin (Latin terra, Spanish tierra; Latin novus, Spanish nuevo).

The Gramática de la lengua castellana, written in Salamanca in 1492 by Elio Antonio de Nebrija, was the first grammar written for a modern European language.[11] According to a popular anecdote, when Nebrija presented it to Queen Isabella I, she asked him what was the use of such a work, and he answered that language is the instrument of empire.[12]

In his introduction to the grammar, dated August 18, 1492, Nebrija wrote that "... language was always the companion of empire."[13]

From the 16th century onwards, the language was taken to the Americas and the Spanish East Indies via Spanish colonization. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is such a well-known reference in the world that Spanish is often called la lengua de Cervantes ("the language of Cervantes").[14]

In the 20th century, Castilian was introduced to Equatorial Guinea and the Western Sahara, and to areas of the United States that had not been part of the Spanish Empire, such as Spanish Harlem in New York City. For details on borrowed words and other external influences upon Spanish, see Influences on the Spanish language.

Geographic distribution

Castilian is recognised as one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the African Union, the Union of South American Nations, the Latin Union, and the Caricom and has legal status in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Country Population [15] Spanish as a native language speakers[16] Bilingual and as a second language speakers (in countries where Spanish is official)[17] or as a foreign language (where it is not official)[18] Spanish speakers as percentage of population[19] Total number of Spanish speakers
 Mexico 112,336,538 [20] 104,135,971 [21] 6,515,519 98.5% [19] 110,651,490
 United States 307,006,550 [22] 35,468,501 [23] 14,531,499 16.3% 50,000,000[24][25]
 Spain 47,150,819 [26] 41,964,229 [27] 4,620,780 98.8% [19] 46,585,009
 Colombia 46,240,000 [28] 45,740,000 [29] 130,080 99.2% [19] 45,870,080
 Argentina 40,900,496 [30] 36,333,605 [31] 4,321,488 99.4% [19] 40,655,093
 Venezuela 29,434,660 [32] 28,357,707 [33] 725,281 98.8% [19] 29,081,444
 Peru 29,797,694 [34] 25,059,861 [35] 744,942 86.6% [19] 25,804,803
 Chile 17,291,300 [36] 17,041,797 [37] 85,914 99.3% [19] 17,127,711
 Ecuador 14,306,000 [38] 11,907,200 [39] 2,126,986 98.1% [19] 14,034,186
 Guatemala 14,361,666 [40] 8,617,000 [41] 3,116,482 86.4% [19] 12,408,479
 Cuba 11,235,863 [42] 11,235,863 [43] 99.4% [19] 11,168,448
 Dominican Republic 10,225,000 [42] 10,006,500 [44] 177,600 99.6% [19] 10,184,100
 Bolivia 10,426,154 [45] 6,047,169 [46] 3,117,420 87.9% [19] 9,164,589
 Honduras 8,215,313 [47] 8,007,563 [48] 125,597 99.0% [19] 8,133,160
 El Salvador 6,183,002 [49] 6,168,902 [50] 99.7% [19] 6,164,453
 France 65,821,885 [51] 440,106 [52] 5,721,380 9.4% 6,161,486 [17]
 Nicaragua 5,822,000 [42] 5,331,876 [53] 315,464 97.0% [19] 5,647,340
 Morocco 31,759,997[54] 20,000 [55] 5,480,000 17.32% 5,500,000 [56][57]
 Brazil 190,732,694 [58] 460,018 [59] 5,000,000[60] 2.86% 5,460,018
 Costa Rica 4,615,646 [61] 4,530,228 [62] 48,493 99.2% [19] 4,578,721
 Paraguay 6,460,000 3,682,200 [63] 446,145 69.5% [19] 4,489,700
 Puerto Rico 3,998,000 [42] 3,802,098 [64] 147,926 98.8% [19] 3,950,024
 United Kingdom 62,041,708 [65] 184,867 [66] 3,737,633 6.4% 3,922,500 [17]
 Uruguay 3,372,000 [42] 3,221,800 [67] 113,108 98.9% [19] 3,334,908
 Panama 3,508,000 [42] 3,006,957 [68] 258,991 93.1% [19] 3,265,948
 Philippines 94,013,200 [69] 2,930 [70] 3,013,843 3.2% 3,016,773 [71]
 Germany 81,802,000 [72] 178,976 [73] 2,527,996 3.3% 2,706,972 [17]
 Italy 60,605,053 [74] 422,249 [75] 1,968,320 3.5% 1,635,976 [17]
 Equatorial Guinea 1,170,308 [76] 1,683 [77] 1,057,446 90.5% [19][78] 1,059,129
 Canada 33,212,696 909,000 [79] 92,853 [18] 3% 1,001,853
 Portugal 10,636,888 [80] 9,570 [81] 727,282 6.9% 737,026 [17]
 Netherlands 16,665,900 [82] 59,578 [83] 622,516 4.1% 682,094 [17]
 Belgium 10,918,405 [84] 85,990 [85] 515,939 5.5% 601,929 [17]
 Romania 22,246,862 544,531 2.4% 544,531 [17]
 Sweden 9,045,389 101,472 [86] 442,601 6% 544,073 [17]
 Australia 21,007,310 106,517 [87] 374,571 [88] 2.3% 481,088 [18]
 Poland 38,500,696 316,104 0.8% 316,104 [17]
 Austria 8,205,533 267,177 3.3% 267,177 [17]
 Ivory Coast 20,179,602 235,806 [18] 1.2% 235,806
 Algeria 33,769,669 223,000 [89] 0.7% 223,379
 Denmark 5,484,723 219,003 4% 219,003 [17]
 Israel 7,112,359 130,000 [90] 45,231 2.5% 175,231 [91]
 Japan 127,288,419 78,952 [92] 60,000 [18] 0.1% 138,952
 Switzerland 7,581,520 123,000 [93] 14,420 1.7% [94] 137,420
 Bulgaria 7,262,675 133,910 1.8% 133,910 [17]
 Belize 301,270 106,795 [95] 21,848 42.7% 128,643 [95]
 Netherlands Antilles 223,652 10,699 114,835 56.1% 125,534
 Ireland 4,156,119 123,591 3% 123,591 [17]
 Senegal 12,853,259 101,455 [18] 0.8% 101,455
 Greece 10,722,816 86,742 0.8% 86,742 [17]
 Finland 5,244,749 85,586 1.6% 85,586 [17]
 Hungary 9,930,915 85,034 0.9% 85,034 [17]
 Aruba 100,018 6,800 68,602 75.3% 75,402
 Croatia 4,491,543 73,656 1.6% 73,656 [17]
 Andorra 84,484 29,907 [96] 25,356 68.7% [97] 58,040
 Slovakia 5,455,407 43,164 0.8% 43,164 [17]
 Norway 4,644,457 12,573 23,677 0.8% 36,250 [17]
 Russia 140,702,094 3,320 20,000 [98] 0.01% 23,320
 New Zealand 4,173,460 21,645 [99] 0.5% 21,645
 Guam 154,805 19,092 12.3% 19,092 [100]
United States Virgin Islands US Virgin Islands 108,612 16,788 15.5% 16,788
 China 1,345,751,000 2,292[101] 12,835 [18] 0.001124% 15,127
 Lithuania 3,565,205 13,943 0.4% 13,943 [17]
 Gibraltar 27,967 13,857 49.5% 13,857
 Cyprus 792,604 1.4% 11,044 [17]
 Turkey 71,892,807 380 8,000 [102] 0.01% 8,380
 Jamaica 2,804,322 8,000 0.3% 8,000
 Luxembourg 486,006 3,000 4,344 1.5% 7,344 [17]
 Malta 403,532 6,458 1.6% 6,458 [17]
 Trinidad and Tobago 1,047,366 4,100 0.4% 4,100
 Western Sahara 513,000 [15] n.a.[103] n.a. n.a. n.a.
Other immigrants in the E.U. 906,816 [104]
Other Spanish students 4,862,033 [105]
Total native speakers in the world + bilingual and as a second language where Spanish is official: 6,974,970,386 (Total World Population)[106] 424,188,295 [2] 29,242,608 6.5% 453,430,903 [107]
Total with Spanish speakers as a foreign language: 78,109,665 7.23% 504,264,431 [5][108]


Active learning of Spanish.[109]

It is estimated that the combined total number of Spanish speakers is between 470 and 500 million, making it the second most widely spoken language in terms of native speakers.[110][111] Spanish is the third most spoken language by total number of speakers (after Mandarin and English). Global internet usage statistics for 2007 show Spanish as the third most commonly used language on the Internet, after English and Mandarin. [112]


Spanish spoken in the European Union

In Europe, Spanish is an official language of Spain, the country after which it is named and from which it originated. It is widely spoken in Gibraltar, although English is the official language.[113] It is also commonly spoken in Andorra, although Catalan is the official language.[114]

Spanish is spoken in 20 different countries worldwide. It is also spoken by small communities in other European countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.[115] Spanish is an official language of the European Union. In Switzerland, Spanish is the native language of 1.7% of the population, representing the largest minority after the 4 official languages of the country.[116]

Spanish is the fourth most widely studied second language in Western Europe after English, French, and German. In countries where those languages are natively spoken (chiefly the United Kingdom, France, and Germany), Spanish is often the third most popular foreign language. Neighboring Portugal and France have considerable minorities of their population with a high degree of competency in Spanish.


In Spain and in some parts of the Spanish speaking world, but not all, Spanish is called castellano (Castilian) as well as español (Spanish), that is, the language of the Castile region, contrasting it with other languages spoken in Spain such as Galician, Basque, and Catalan. In this manner, the Spanish Constitution of 1978 uses the term castellano to define the official language of the whole Spanish State, as opposed to las demás lenguas españolas (lit. the rest of the Spanish languages). Article III reads as follows:

El castellano es la lengua española oficial del Estado. (...) Las demás lenguas españolas serán también oficiales en las respectivas Comunidades Autónomas... Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State. (...) The rest of the Spanish languages shall also be official in their respective Autonomous Communities...

The Spanish Royal Academy uses the term español (rather than "castellano") in its publications, due to the fact that "the term derives from the Provenzal word espaignol, which in turn derives from the Medieval Latin word Hispaniolus, which means 'from—or pertaining to—Hispania'".[117] The Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas (a linguistic guide published by the Spanish Royal Academy) states that, although the Spanish Royal Academy prefers to use the term español in its publications when referring to the Spanish language, both terms (español and castellano) are regarded as synonymous and equally valid.[118]

Currently, the name castellano, which refers directly to the historical context in which it was introduced in the Americas, is preferred in Spain[citation needed] due to the existence of regions where other official languages are spoken (Catalonia, Basque Country, Valencia, Balearic Islands and Galicia) as well as in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, instead of español[citation needed], which is more commonly used to refer to the language as a whole when relating to a global context.


Latin America

Most Spanish speakers are in Latin America; of all countries with a majority of Spanish speakers, only Spain and Equatorial Guinea are outside the Americas. Mexico has the most native speakers of any country. Nationally, Spanish is the official language—either de facto or de jure—of Argentina, Bolivia (co-official with Quechua and Aymara), Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay (co-official with Guaraní),[119] Ecuador and Peru (co-official with Quechua and, in some regions, Aymara), Uruguay, and Venezuela. Spanish is also the official language (co-official with English) in Puerto Rico.[120]

Spanish has no official recognition in the former British colony of Belize; however, per the 2000 census, it is spoken by 43% of the population.[121][122] Mainly, it is spoken by the descendants of Hispanics who have been in the region since the 17th century; however, English is the official language.[123]

Spain colonized Trinidad and Tobago first in 1498, introducing the Spanish language to the Carib people. Also the Cocoa Panyols, laborers from Venezuela, took their culture and language with them; they are accredited with the music of "Parang" ("Parranda") on the island. Because of Trinidad's location on the South American coast, the country is greatly influenced by its Spanish-speaking neighbors. A recent census shows that more than 1 500 inhabitants speak Spanish.[124] In 2004, the government launched the Spanish as a First Foreign Language (SAFFL) initiative in March 2005.[125] Government regulations require Spanish to be taught, beginning in primary school, while thirty percent of public employees are to be linguistically competent within five years.[124]

Spanish is important in Brazil because of its proximity to and increased trade with its Spanish-speaking neighbors, and because of its membership in the Mercosur trading bloc and the Union of South American Nations.[126] In 2005, the National Congress of Brazil approved a bill, signed into law by the President, making Spanish language teaching mandatory in both public and private secondary schools in Brazil.[127] In many border towns and villages (especially in the Uruguayan-Brazilian and Paraguayan-Brazilian border areas), a mixed language known as Portuñol is spoken.[128]

United States

Spanish spoken in the United States. Darker shades of blue indicate higher percentages of Spanish speakers.

According to 2006 census data, 44.3 million people of the U.S. population were Hispanic or Latino by origin;[129] 34 million people, 12.2 percent, of the population more than five years old speak Spanish at home.[130] Spanish has a long history in the United States because many south-western states were part of Mexico, and Florida was also part of Spain, and it recently has been revitalized by Hispanic immigrants. Spanish is the most widely taught language in the country after English. Although the United States has no formally designated "official languages," Spanish is formally recognized at the state level in various states in addition to English; in the U.S. state of New Mexico for instance, 40% of the population speaks the language. It also has strong influence in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, New York City, Tampa, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Chicago and in the last decade, the language has rapidly expanded in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Richmond, Washington, DC, and Missouri. Spanish is the dominant spoken language in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. With a total of 33,701,181 Spanish (Castilian) speakers, according to US Census Bureau,[131] the U.S. has the world's second-largest Spanish-speaking population.[132] Spanish ranks second, behind English, as the language spoken most widely at home.[133]


In Africa, Spanish is official in Equatorial Guinea (co-official with French and Portuguese), as well as an official language of the African Union. In Equatorial Guinea, Spanish is the predominant language when native and non-native speakers (around 500,000 people) are counted, while Fang is the most spoken language by number of native speakers.[134][135]

Today, in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, an unknown number of Sahrawis are able to read and write in Spanish, and several thousands have received university education in foreign countries as part of aid packages (mainly in Cuba and Spain). Sahrawi Press Service, the official news service of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic of Western Sahara, has been available in Spanish since 2001,[136] the official site of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is in Spanish[137] and RASD TV, the official television channel of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, broadcasts in Spanish.[138] The Sahara Film Festival, Western Sahara's only film festival, mainly shows Spanish-language films. Spanish is used to document Sahrawi poetry and oral traditions and has also be used in Sahrawi literature.[139] Despite Spanish having been used by the Sahrawi people for over a century due to Western Sahara's history as a former Spanish colony, the Cervantes Institute has denied support and Spanish-language education to Sahrawis in Western Sahara and the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria.[140] A group of Sahrawi poets known as 'Generación de la Amistad saharaui' produce Sahrawi literature in Spanish.[141]

Spanish is also spoken in the Spanish cities in continental North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla) and in the autonomous community of Canary Islands (143,000 and 1,995,833 people, respectively). Within Northern Morocco, a former Franco-Spanish protectorate that is also geographically close to Spain, approximately 20,000 people speak Spanish as a second language.[142] It is spoken by some communities of Angola, because of the Cuban influence from the Cold War, in South Sudan among South Sudanese natives that relocated to Cuba during the Sudanese wars and returned in time for their country's independence, and in Nigeria by the descendants of Afro-Cuban ex-slaves.[citation needed]


Spanish was used by the colonial governments and the educated classes in the former Spanish East Indies, namely the Philippines, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. From 1565 to 1973 it was an official language of the Philippines. Up to 1899 it was the language of government, trade and education, and spoken as a first language by Spaniards and educated Filipinos. In the mid 19th century the colonial government set up a free public school system with Spanish as the medium of instruction. This increased the use of Spanish throughout the islands and led to a class of Spanish-speaking intellectuals called the Ilustrados. Although Spanish never became the language of a majority of the population,[143] Philippine literature and press primarily used Spanish up to the 1940s. It continued as an official language until the change of Constitution in 1973. Following the U.S. occupation and administration of the islands in 1899, the American government increasingly imposed English, especially after the 1920s. The US authorities conducted a campaign of introducing English as the medium of instruction in schools, universities and public spaces, and prohibited the use of Spanish in media and educational institutions.

After the country became independent in 1946, Spanish remained an official language along with English and Tagalog-based Filipino. However, the language lost its official status in 1973 during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. In 2007 the Arroyo administration announced that it would pass legislation to reintroduce Spanish in the Philippine education system. In 2010 a Memorandum was signed between Spanish and Philippine authorities to cooperate in implementing this decree. Today, Radio Manila broadcasts daily in Spanish. Worthy of mention is the Chabacano language spoken by 600,000 people both in the Philippines and Sabah. Chabacano, a Spanish-Philippine pidgin, sounds strange to Spanish speakers but is mutually intelligible.[dubious ]

The local languages of the Philippines retain much Spanish influence, with many words being derived from Castilian Spanish and Mexican Spanish, due to the control of the islands by Spain through Mexico City until 1821, and directly from Madrid until 1898.[144]


Among the countries and territories in Oceania, Spanish is also spoken in Easter Island, a territorial possession of Chile. The U.S. Territories of Guam and Northern Marianas, and the independent states of Palau, Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia all once had majority Spanish speakers, since the Marianas and the Caroline Islands were Spanish colonial possessions until the late 19th century (see Spanish-American War), but Spanish is no longer used by the masses but there are still native and second-language speakers. It also exists as an influence on the local native languages and is spoken by Hispanic American resident populations.


The Antarctic Treaty regulates international relations with respect to Antarctica. Argentina and Chile, both Spanish speaking countries, claim territories according to this treaty. The Argentine Antarctica sector had a winter population of 169 in 1999, and in the Chilean Antarctic Territory, according to the national census of 2002, the population was 130 (115 male, 15 female).[145]

Royal Spanish Academy

Arms of the Royal Spanish Academy.
The Royal Spanish Academy Headquarters in Madrid, Spain

The Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy), founded in 1713,[146] together with the 21 other national ones (see Association of Spanish Language Academies), exercises a standardizing influence through its publication of dictionaries and widely respected grammar and style guides.[citation needed] Because of influence and for other sociohistorical reasons, a standardized form of the language (Standard Spanish) is widely acknowledged for use in literature, academic contexts and the media.[citation needed]

Accent variation

There are important variations spoken among the regions of Spain and throughout Spanish-speaking America. One major phonological difference between Castilian, broadly speaking, the accents spoken in most of Spain, and the accent of much of southern Spain, the Canary Islands and all the Latin American accents of Spanish, is the absence of a voiceless dental fricative (/θ/ as in English thing) in the latter.[147] In Spain, the Castilian accent is commonly regarded as the standard variety used on radio and television,[148][149][150][151] although attitudes towards southern accents have changed significantly in the last 50 years. In addition to variations in pronunciation, minor lexical and grammatical differences exist. For example, loísmo is the use of slightly different pronouns and differs from the standard.

The variety with the most speakers is Mexican Spanish. It is spoken by more than the twenty percent of the Spanish speakers (107 million of the total 494 million, according to the table above). One of its main features is the reduction or loss of the unstressed vowels, mainly when they are in contact with the sound /s/.[152][153]


An examination of the dominance and stress of the voseo dialect in Latin America. Data generated as illustrated by the Association of Spanish Language Academies. The darker the country, the stronger its dominance.

Spanish has three second-person singular pronouns: , usted, and vos. The use of the pronoun vos and/or its verb forms is called voseo.


Vos is the subject form (vos decís) [you say] and object of a preposition (a vos digo) [to you I say], while "os" is the direct object form (os vi) [I saw you] and indirect object without express preposition (os digo) [I say to you].[154]

Since vos is historically the 2nd-person plural, verbs are conjugated as such despite the fact the word now refers to a single person:

«Han luchado, añadió dirigiéndose a Tarradellas, [...] por mantenerse fieles a las instituciones que vos representáis» (GaCandau Madrid-Barça [Esp. 1996]).

The possessive form is vuestro: Admiro vuestra valentía, señora. Adjectives, when used in conjunction with vos, do not agree with the pronoun but instead with the real referents in gender and number: Vos, don Pedro, sois caritativo; Vos, bellas damas, sois ingeniosas.[154]

Two main types of voseo may be distinguished: reverential and American dialectal. In archaic solemn usage, voseo expressed special reverence and could be used to address both the second person singular and the second person plural. In contrast, the more commonly known American form of voseo is always used to address only one speaker and implies closeness and familiarity.[154] Unlike the first type, the second one need not involve vos and may instead be expressed simply in the use of the plural form of the verb (even in combination with the pronoun ).

The pronominal voseo employs the use of vos as a pronoun to replace and de ti, which are second-person singular informal.

  • As a subject vos employs: «Puede que vos tengás razón» (Herrera Casa [Ven. 1985]) instead of «Puede que tú tengas razón»
  • As a vocative: «¿Por qué vos la tenés contra Álvaro Arzú ?» (Prensa [Guat.] 3.4.97) instead of «¿Por qué tú la tienes contra Álvaro Arzú?»
  • As a term of preposition: «Cada vez que sale con vos, se enferma» (Penerini Aventura [Arg. 1999]) instead of «Cada vez que sale contigo, se enferma»
  • And as a term of comparison: «Es por lo menos tan actor como vos» (Cuzzani Cortés [Arg. 1988]) instead of «Es por lo menos tan actor como tú»

However, for the pronombre átono (that which uses the pronominal verbs and its complements without preposition) and for the possessive, they employ the forms of tuteo (te, tu, and tuyo), respectively: «Vos te acostaste con el tuerto» (Gené Ulf [Arg. 1988]); «Lugar que odio [...] como te odio a vos» (Rossi María [C. Rica 1985]); «No cerrés tus ojos» (Flores Siguamonta [Guat. 1993]). In other words, in the previous examples the authors conjugate the pronoun subject vos with the pronominal verbs and its complements of .[154]

The verbal voseo consists of the use of the second person plural, more or less modified, for the conjugated forms of the second person singular: vos vivís, vos comés. The verbal paradigm of voseante is characterized by its complexity. On the one hand, it affects, to a distinct extent, each verbal tense. On the other hand, it varies in functions of geographic and social factors and not all the forms are accepted in cultured norms.[154]

Extension in Latin America

The voseo pronoun is used in Central America's Nicaragua more frequently than in neighboring countries.

Vos is used extensively as the primary spoken form of the second-person singular pronoun, although with wide differences in social consideration. Generally, it can be said that there are zones of exclusive use of tuteo in the following areas: almost all of Mexico, the West Indies, Panama, most of Peru and Venezuela, Coastal Ecuador and the Andean coast of Colombia.

They alternate tuteo as a cultured form and voseo as a popular or rural form in: Bolivia, north and south of Peru, Andean Ecuador, small zones of the Venezuelan Andes and most notably in the state of Zulia, a great part of Colombia, and the oriental border of Cuba.

Tuteo exists as an intermediate formality of treatment and voseo as a familiar treatment in: Chile, the Venezuelan Zulia State, the Pacific coast of Colombia, and the Mexican state of Chiapas.

Areas of generalized voseo include Argentina, Costa Rica, East of Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Colombian region of Valle and Antioquia.[154]


Spanish forms also differ regarding second-person plural pronouns. "Usted" (Ud.) was initially the written abbreviation of "vuestra merced" (your grace). The dialects of Latin America have only one form of the second-person plural for daily use, ustedes (formal or familiar, as the case may be, though vosotros non-formal usage can sometimes appear in poetry and rhetorical or literary style). In Spain there are two forms — ustedes (formal) and vosotros (familiar). The pronoun vosotros is the plural form of in most of Spain, but in the Americas (and in certain southern Spanish areas such as Seville, Cádiz and in the Canary Islands) it is replaced with ustedes. It is notable that the use of ustedes for the informal plural "you" in southern Spain does not follow the usual rule for pronoun–verb agreement; e.g., while the formal form for "you go", ustedes van, uses the third-person plural form of the verb, in Seville, Cádiz and other parts of Western Andalusia the informal form is constructed as ustedes vais, using the second-person plural of the verb. In the Canary Islands, though, the usual pronoun–verb agreement is preserved in most cases. The 'ustedeo' is mainly used in Costa Rica and Colombia In Honduras especially in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, "usted" is used as a formal pronoun between couples. It is used to portray respect between the romantic couple, while between colleagues and friends "vos" is used. "Usted" is also used to portray respect between someone who is a generation older or is of higher authority.


Some words can be different, even significantly so, in different Hispanophone countries. Most Spanish speakers can recognize other Spanish forms, even in places where they are not commonly used, but Spaniards generally do not recognize specifically American usages. For example, Spanish mantequilla, aguacate and albaricoque (respectively, 'butter', 'avocado', 'apricot') correspond to manteca, palta, and damasco, respectively, in Argentina, Chile (except manteca), Paraguay, Peru (except manteca and damasco), and Uruguay. The everyday Spanish words coger ('to take'), pisar ('to step on') and concha ('seashell') are considered extremely rude in parts of Latin America, where the meaning of coger and pisar is also "to have sex" and concha means "vulva". The Puerto Rican word for "bobby pin" (pinche) is an obscenity in Mexico, but in Nicaragua it simply means "stingy", and in Spain refers to a chef's helper. Other examples include taco, which means "swearword" (among other meanings) in Spain and "traffic jam" in Chile, but is known to the rest of the world as a Mexican dish. Pija in many countries of Latin America and Spain itself is an obscene slang word for "penis", while in Spain the word also signifies "posh girl" or "snobby". Coche, which means "car" in Spain, central Mexico and Argentina, for the vast majority of Spanish-speakers actually means "baby-stroller" or "pushchair", while carro means "car" in some Latin American countries and "cart" in others, as well as in Spain. Papaya is the slang term for "vagina" in the parts of Cuba and Venezuela, where the fruit is instead called fruta bomba and lechosa, respectively.[155][156]

Association of Spanish Language Academies

Countries members of the ASALE.[157]

The Association of Spanish Language Academies (Spanish: Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, or ASALE) is the entity which regulates the Spanish language. It comprises the academies of 22 countries, ordered by date of Academy foundation: Spain (1713),[158] Colombia (1871),[159] Ecuador (1874),[160] Mexico (1875),[161] El Salvador (1876),[162] Venezuela (1883),[163] Chile (1885),[164] Peru (1887),[165] Guatemala (1887),[166] Costa Rica (1923),[167] Philippines (1924),[168] Panama (1926),[169] Cuba (1926),[170] Paraguay (1927),[171] Dominican Republic (1927),[172] Bolivia (1927),[173] Nicaragua (1928),[174] Argentina (1931),[175] Uruguay (1943),[176] Honduras (1949),[177] Puerto Rico (1955),[178] and United States (1973).[179]

Classification and related languages

Spanish is closely related to the other Iberian Romance languages: Asturian, Catalan, Galician, Ladino, Leonese and Portuguese. Catalan, an Iberian language is more similar to Occitan to the north than to Spanish or Portuguese to the west. It should be noted that although Portuguese and Spanish are very closely related, particularly in vocabulary (89% lexically similar according to the Ethnologue of Languages), syntax and grammar, there are also some differences that don't exist between Catalan and Portuguese. While Spanish and Portuguese are widely considered to be mutually intelligible, it has been noted that while most Portuguese speakers can understand spoken Spanish with little difficulty, Spanish speakers face more difficulty in understanding spoken Portuguese.[180] The written forms are considered to be equally intelligible, however.


Judaeo-Spanish (also known as Ladino),[181] which is essentially medieval Spanish and closer to modern Spanish than any other language, is spoken by many descendants of the Sephardi Jews who were expelled from Spain in the 15th century.[181] Therefore, its relationship to Spanish is comparable with that of the Yiddish language to German. Ladino speakers are currently almost exclusively Sephardi Jews, with family roots in Turkey, Greece or the Balkans; current speakers mostly live in Israel and Turkey, and the United States, with a few pockets in Latin America.[181] It lacks the Native American vocabulary which was influential during the Spanish colonial period, and it retains many archaic features which have since been lost in standard Spanish. It contains, however, other vocabulary which is not found in standard Castilian, including vocabulary from Hebrew, French, Greek and Turkish, and other languages spoken where the Sephardim settled.

Judaeo-Spanish is in serious danger of extinction because many native speakers today are elderly as well as elderly olim (immigrants to Israel) who have not transmitted the language to their children or grandchildren. However, it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardi communities, especially in music. In the case of the Latin American communities, the danger of extinction is also due to the risk of assimilation by modern Castilian.

A related dialect is Haketia, the Judaeo-Spanish of northern Morocco. This too tended to assimilate with modern Spanish, during the Spanish occupation of the region.

Vocabulary comparison

Spanish and Italian share a similar phonological system. At present, the lexical similarity with Italian is estimated at 82%.[182] The lexical similarity with Portuguese is greater at 89%. Mutual intelligibility between Spanish and French or Romanian is lower (lexical similarity being respectively 75% and 71%[182]): comprehension of Spanish by French speakers who have not studied the language is low at an estimated 45% – the same as English. The common features of the writing systems of the Romance languages allow for a greater amount of interlingual reading comprehension than oral communication would.

Latin Spanish Galician Portuguese Astur-Leonese Aragonese Catalan Italian French Romanian English
nos nosotros nós(outros)¹ nós nós, nosotros nusatros nosaltres
(archaically also nós)
noi (altri)² nous (autres)³ noi we
frater germanum (lit. "true brother") hermano irmán irmão hermanu chirmán germà
(archaically also frare)5
fratello frère frate brother
dies Martis (Classical)

feria tertia (Ecclesiastical)

martes martes terça-feira martes martes dimarts martedì mardi marţi Tuesday
cantiō (nem, acc.), canticum canción canción/cançom4 canção canción (in Asturian canciu) canta cançó canzone chanson cântec song
magis or plus más
(archaically also plus)
máis mais
(archaically also chus/plus)
más más,"més" més
(archaically also pus)
più plus mai/plus more
manum sinistram (acc.) mano izquierda
(also mano siniestra)
man esquerda mão esquerda
(archaically also sẽestra)
mano esquierda (in Asturian manzorga) man cucha mà esquerra mano sinistra main gauche mâna stângă left hand
nihil or nullam rem natam (acc.)
(lit. "no thing born")
nada nada/ren nada
(neca and nula rés in some expressions; archaically also rem)
nada (in asturian un res is the same of nada) cosa res niente/nulla rien/nul nimic/nul nothing

1. also nós outros in early modern Portuguese (e.g. The Lusiads)
2. noi altri in Southern Italian dialects and languages
3. Alternatively nous autres
4. Depending on the written norm used. See Reintegracionismo
5. Medieval Catalan, e.g. Llibre dels feits del rei en Jacme


A defining feature of Spanish was the diphthongization of the Latin short vowels e and o into ie and ue, respectively, when they were stressed. Similar sound changes are found in other Romance languages, but in Spanish, they were significant. Some examples:

  • Lat. petram > Sp. piedra, It. pietra, Fr. pierre, Rom. piatrǎ, Port./Gal. pedra, Ar. piedra, Ast. piedra, Cat. pedra "stone".
  • Lat. moritur > Sp. muere, It. muore, Fr. meurt / muert, Rom. moare, Port./Gal. morre, Ar. muere, Ast. muerre, Cat. mor "die".

Peculiar to early Spanish (as in the Gascon dialect of Occitan, and possibly due to a Basque substratum) was the mutation of Latin initial f- into h- whenever it was followed by a vowel that did not diphthongize. Compare for instance:

  • Lat. filium > It. figlio, Port. filho, Ar. fillo, Gal. fillo, Ast. fíu, Fr. fils, Cat. fill, Occitan filh, Rom. fiu, (but Gascon hilh) Sp. hijo (but Ladino fijo);
  • Lat. fabulare > Lad. favlar, Port./Gal. falar, Ar. fablar, Ast. falar, Sp. hablar;
  • but Lat. focum > It. fuoco, Port./Gal. fogo, Rom. foc, Ar. fuego, Ast. fueu Cat. foc, Sp./Lad. fuego.

Some consonant clusters of Latin also produced characteristically different results in these languages, for example:

  • Lat. clamare, acc. flammam, plenum > Lad. lyamar, flama, pleno; Sp. llamar, llama, lleno. However, in Spanish there are also the forms clamar, flama, pleno; Port. chamar, chama, cheio; Rom. chema, flacără, plin; Gal. chamar, chama, cheo; Ast. llamar, llama, llenu.
  • Lat. acc. octo, noctem, multum > Lad. ocho, noche, muncho; Sp. ocho, noche, mucho; Port. oito, noite, muito; Gal. oito, noite, moito; Rom. opt, noapte, mult; Ast. ocho, nueche, munchu.

By the 16th century, the consonant system of Spanish underwent the following important changes that differentiated it from neighbouring Romance languages such as Portuguese and Catalan:

  • Initial /f/, when it had evolved into a vacillating /h/, was lost in most words (although this etymological h- is preserved in spelling and in some Andalusian and Caribbean dialects it is still aspirated in some words).
  • The consonant written ⟨u⟩ or ⟨v⟩ (in Latin, this was [w], at the time of the merger it may have been a bilabial fricative /β/) merged with the consonant written ⟨b⟩ (a voiced bilabial plosive, /b/). In contemporary Spanish, there is no difference between the pronunciation of orthographic ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩, excepting emphatic pronunciations that cannot be considered standard or natural.[citation needed]
  • The voiced alveolar fricative /z/ which existed as a separate phoneme in medieval Spanish merged with its voiceless counterpart /s/. The phoneme which resulted from this merger is currently spelled s.
  • The voiced postalveolar fricative /ʒ/ merged with its voiceless counterpart /ʃ/, which evolved into the modern velar sound /x/ by the 17th century, now written with j, or g before e, i. Nevertheless, in most parts of Argentina and in Uruguay, y and ll have both evolved to /ʒ/ or /ʃ/.
  • The voiced alveolar affricate /d͡z/ merged with its voiceless counterpart /t͡s/, which then developed into the interdental /θ/, now written z, or c before e, i. But in Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Americas this sound merged with /s/ as well. See Ceceo, for further information.

The consonant system of Mediaeval Spanish has been better preserved in Ladino and in Portuguese, neither of which underwent these shifts

Writing system

Spanish is written in the Latin alphabet, with the addition of the character ⟨ñ⟩ (eñe, representing the phoneme /ɲ/, a letter distinct from ⟨n⟩, although typographically composed of an ⟨n⟩ with a tilde) and the digraphs ⟨ch⟩ (che, representing the phoneme /t͡ʃ/) and ⟨ll⟩ (elle, representing the phoneme /ʎ/). However, the digraph ⟨rr⟩ (erre fuerte, 'strong r", erre doble, 'double r', or simply erre), which also represents a distinct phoneme /r/, is not similarly regarded as a single letter. Since 1994 ⟨ch⟩ and ⟨ll⟩ have been treated as letter pairs for collation purposes, though they remain a part of the alphabet. Words with ⟨ch⟩ are now alphabetically sorted between those with ⟨cg⟩ and ⟨ci⟩, instead of following ⟨cz⟩ as they used to. The situation is similar for ⟨ll⟩.[183][184]

Thus, the Spanish alphabet has the following 27 letters and 2 digraphs:

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.[185]
ch,[186] ll.[187]

The letters "k" and "w" are used only in words and names coming from foreign languages (kilo, folklore, whiskey, William, etc.).

With the exclusion of a very small number of regional terms such as México (see Toponymy of Mexico), pronunciation can be entirely determined from spelling. Under the orthographic conventions, a typical Spanish word is stressed on the syllable before the last if it ends with a vowel (not including ⟨y⟩) or with a vowel followed by ⟨n⟩ or an ⟨s⟩; it is stressed on the last syllable otherwise. Exceptions to this rule are indicated by placing an acute accent on the stressed vowel.

The acute accent is used, in addition, to distinguish between certain homophones, especially when one of them is a stressed word and the other one is a clitic: compare el ('the', masculine singular definite article) with él ('he' or 'it'), or te ('you', object pronoun), de (preposition 'of'), and se (reflexive pronoun) with ('tea'), ('give' [formal imperative/third-person present subjunctive]) and ('I know' or imperative 'be').

The interrogative pronouns (qué, cuál, dónde, quién, etc.) also receive accents in direct or indirect questions, and some demonstratives (ése, éste, aquél, etc.) can be accented when used as pronouns. The conjunction o ('or') is written with an accent between numerals so as not to be confused with a zero: e.g., 10 ó 20 should be read as diez o veinte rather than diez mil veinte ('10,020'). Accent marks are frequently omitted in capital letters (a widespread practice in the days of typewriters and the early days of computers when only lowercase vowels were available with accents), although the Real Academia Española advises against this.

When ⟨u⟩ is written between ⟨g⟩ and a front vowel (⟨e i⟩), it indicates a "hard g" pronunciation. A diaeresis (⟨ü⟩) indicates that it is not silent as it normally would be (e.g., cigüeña, 'stork', is pronounced [θiˈɣweɲa]; if it were written ⟨cigueña⟩, it would be pronounced [θiˈɣeɲa]).

Interrogative and exclamatory clauses are introduced with inverted question and exclamation marks (⟨¿⟩ and ⟨¡⟩, respectively).


The phonemic inventory listed in the following table includes phonemes that are preserved only in some accents, other accents having merged them (such as yeísmo or seseo); these are marked with an asterisk (*), marginal phonemes are represented in parentheses (). Where symbols appear in pairs, the symbol to the right represents a voiced consonant.

Table of consonant phonemes of Spanish[188]
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ
Plosive p b t  d k  ɡ 
Fricative f θ* s (ʃ)  ʝ  x 
Trill r
Tap ɾ
Lateral l ʎ*

Lexical stress

Spanish is a syllable-timed language, so each syllable has the same duration regardless of stress.[189][190] Stress most often occurs on any of the last three syllables of a word, with some rare exceptions at the fourth last or earlier syllables. The tendencies of stress assignment are as follows:[191]

  • In words ending in vowels and /s/, stress most often falls on the penultimate syllable.
  • In words ending in all other consonants, the stress more often falls on the last syllable.
  • Preantepenultimate stress (stress on the syllable that comes three before the last in a word) occurs rarely and only in words like guardándoselos ('saving them for him/her/them') where clitics follow certain verbal forms.

In addition to the many exceptions to these tendencies, there are numerous minimal pairs which contrast solely on stress such as sábana ('sheet') and sabana ('savannah'), as well as límite ('boundary'), limite ('[that] he/she limits') and limité ('I limited'), or also "líquido", "liquido" and "liquidó".

The spelling system unambiguously reflects where the stress occurs: in the absence of an accent mark, the stress falls on the last syllable unless the last letter is "n", "s", or a vowel, in which cases the stress falls on the next-to-last syllable; if and only if the absence of an accent mark would give the wrong stress information, an acute accent mark appears over the stressed syllable.

An amusing example of the significance of intonation in Spanish is the phrase ¿Cómo "¿cómo como?"? ¡Como como como! (What do you mean, how do I eat? I eat the way I eat!).

V and B

The letters V and B are both normally pronounced identically as /b/ or similar, and academic authorities[citation needed] now state that this is the only correct pronunciation. The Royal Spanish Academy considers the /v/ pronunciation for the letter V to be incorrect and affected. However some Spanish speakers maintain the pronunciation of the /v/ sound as it is in other western European languages. The sound /v/ is used for the letter V, in the Spanish language, by a few second-language speakers in Spain whose native language is Catalan, in the Balearic Islands, Valencian Community and southern Catalonia.[192] In the USA it is also common due to the proximity and influence of English phonology, and the /v/ is also occasionally used in Mexico. Some parts of Central America also use /v/ which the Royal Academy attributes to the interference of local indigenous languages.

Historically, the /v/ pronunciation was uncommon but considered correct well into the 20th century. Spanish schools taught a /v/ pronunciation for most of the 20th century.[citation needed]

Some Spaniards consider the pronunciation of /v/ for the letter V to be more poetic, and it is used by many singers such as Julio Iglesias, Juan Pardo, Paloma San Basilio, Amaia Montero and Alejandro Sanz.[citation needed]


Spanish is a relatively inflected language, with a two-gender system and about fifty conjugated forms per verb, but limited inflection of nouns, adjectives, and determiners. (For a detailed overview of verbs, see Spanish verbs and Spanish irregular verbs.)

It is right-branching, uses prepositions, and usually, though not always, places adjectives after nouns, as do most other Romance languages. Its syntax is generally subject–verb–object, though variations are common. It is a pro-drop language (or null subject language) (that is, it allows the deletion of pronouns which are pragmatically unnecessary) and is verb-framed.

Instituto Cervantes

Cervantes Institute headquarters, Madrid

The Instituto Cervantes (Cervantes Institute) is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991. This organization has branched out in over 20 different countries with 54 centres devoted to the Spanish and Hispanic American culture and Spanish Language. The ultimate goals of the Institute are to promote the education, the study and the use of Spanish universally as a second language, to support the methods and activities that would help the process of Spanish language education, and to contribute to the advancement of the Spanish and Hispanic American cultures throughout non-Spanish-speaking countries.

See also

Spanish language institutions
Spanish-speaking world
Romance languages
Influences on the Spanish language
Dialects and languages influenced by Spanish
Spanish dialects and varieties


  1. ^ Spanish language total. Ethnologue. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  2. ^ a b Demografía de la lengua española (page 38). 359.5 million people where Spanish is official and 40.5 where it is not official with native knowladges of Spanish, and another 40 million with limited knowladges. The figures of the census used are from 2000 to 2005.
  3. ^ a b "IV CILE. Paneles y ponencias. Hiram Vivanco Torres". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b c / / 5th International Congress on Spanish Language ( / / / Antonio Molina, director of the Instituto Cervantes in 2006 (, / Luis María Anson of the Real Academia Española ( / International Congress about Spanish, 2008 / Mario Melgar of the México University (, / Enrique Díaz de Liaño Argüelles, director of Celer Solutions multilingual translation network ( / Feu Rosa - Spanish in Mercosur ( / / / /
  6. ^ La RAE avala que Burgos acoge las primeras palabras escritas en castellano (Castilian).
  7. ^ "Spanish languages "Becoming the language for trade" in Spain and". Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  8. ^ "(SPANISH: a language of Spain)". Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  9. ^,, (see "World" file), (according to Ethnology (journal)), Encarta (Chinese 800 million, Spanish 358 million, English 350 million).
  10. ^ "Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 July 2008. 
  11. ^ "Spanish Language Facts". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  12. ^ Crow, John A. (2005). Spain: the root and the flower. University of California Press. p. 151. ISBN 9780520244962. 
  13. ^ Thomas, Hugh (2005). Rivers of Gold: the rise of the Spanish empire, from Columbus to Magellan. Random House Inc.. p. 78. ISBN 9780812970555. 
  14. ^ (in Spanish) (PDF) La lengua de Cervantes. Ministerio de la Presidencia de España. Retrieved 2008-08-24. [dead link]
  15. ^ a b "UN 2009 estimate" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  16. ^ Britannica Books of the years 2003 to 2009 es:Anexo:Hablantes de español como lengua materna en el 2003 (según el Britannica Book). Sources used by the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Ethnologue -14th edition, Joshua Project 2000 —People's List, U.S. Census Bureau.)[unreliable source?]
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y eurobarometer (2006), es:Anexo:Hablantes de español en la U.E. según el Eurobarómetro (2006) for Europe countries
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Spanish students for countries out of Europe according to Instituto Cervantes 06-07 (There aren't concrete sources about Spanish speakers as a second language except to Europe and Latin America countries).
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Demografía de la lengua española (page 28) to countries with official spanish status.
  20. ^ CONAPO (2010).
  21. ^ Spanish only 92.7%
  22. ^ Population figure for 2009 from U.S. Population in 1990, 2000, and 2009, U.S. Census Bureau
  23. ^ Hispanics older than 5 years old (US Census Bureau 2009)
  24. ^ Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española:, José Ma. Ansón: noticias, Jorge Ramos Avalos:, Elbio Rodríguez Barilari: , III Acta Internacional de la Lengua Española, (The United States is now the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, with more Spanish speakers than Spain, and exceeded only by Mexico).
  25. ^ There are 50,477,594 Hispanic people from a total US population of more than 308 million according to the Census Bureau 2010. 35,468,501 Hispanics older than 5 speak Spanish at home, so there are 15 million posible Spanish speakers as a second language with differents knowladges. In addition, there are 6 ( or 7.8 ( million Spanish students in USA, many of them are not Hispanics. Finally, there are 9 million illegal Hispanics in USA, some of them aren't in the census (
  26. ^ "INE Datos básicos ... acceso directo (1/1/2010)". 2001-05-28. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  27. ^ 89.0% speak Spanish as a first language (eurobarometer (2006))
  28. ^ "DANE". DANE. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  29. ^ There are 500,000 speakers of American Indian languages (Ethnologue)
  30. ^ "SINTITUL-7" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  31. ^ There are 4,566,891 people who speak other language as their mother tongue (main languages: 1,500,000 Italian, 1,000,000 Arabic, 855,000 Quechua, 400,000 German, 200,000 Paraguayan Guaraní, 200,000 Eastern Yiddish): Ethnologue. Spanish is the only official language and is spoken by nearly all the population. Italian, Arabic and the indigenous South American language Quechua are also spoken by about 1 million or more people
  32. ^ "(30 Aug., 2010)". INE. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  33. ^ There are 1,076,953 people who speak other language as their mother tongue (main languages: Chinese 400,000, Portuguese 254,000, Wayuu 170,000, Arabic 110,000): Ethnologue.
  34. ^ Ezio Quispe Fernández. "(2011)". INEI. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  35. ^ Spanish (official) 84.1%, Quechua (official) 13%, Aymara 1.7%, Ashaninka 0.3%, other native languages (includes a large number of minor Amazonian languages) 0.7%, other 0.2% (2007 Census): There are 5,782,260 people who speak other language as mother tongue (main languages: Quechua (among 32 Quechua's varieties) 4,773,900 , Aymara (2 varieties) 661 000, Chinese 100,000). Ethnologue
  36. ^ "INE (Chile - 10/10/2011, page 36)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  37. ^ There are 249,503 people who speak another language, mainly Mapudungun (200.000): Ethnologue
  38. ^ "Ecuador en Cifras". INEC. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  39. ^ There are 2,398,800 people who speak another language, mainly American Indian languages (2,300,000).: Ethnologue
  40. ^ "Información Demógrafica 2010". INE. 2007-09-21. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  41. ^ Spanish (official) 60%, Amerindian languages 40%:
  42. ^ a b c d e f "UN (2010)". Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ There are 218,500 people who speak other language as mother tongue (main language: Haitian with 159,000 speakers). Ethnologue
  45. ^ "(2010)". INE. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  46. ^ According to the 1992 Census, 58 per cent of the population speaks Spanish as its mother tongue.
  47. ^ "INE (2011)". Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  48. ^ There are 207,750 people who speak another language, mainly Garifuna (98,000).: Ethnologue
  49. ^ Census 2010 estimation (page 32)
  50. ^ There are 14,100 people who speak other language as their mother tongue (main language, Kekchí with 12,300 speakers): Ethnologue.
  51. ^ Official INSEE estimate to 1/1/2011
  52. ^ 1% of 44,010,619 (population of France older than 15 years in 2005). Source: Eurobarometer 2006. There are 189,909 immigrants from Spain according to INE (1/1/2011)
  53. ^ There are 490,124 people who speak another language, mainly Mískito (154,000).: Ethnologue
  54. ^ Morocco census
  55. ^ "". Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  56. ^ there are between 4 and 7 million Spanish speakers in Morocco (Ammadi, 2002)
  57. ^ According to a survey made in 2005 by CIDOB, 21.6% of the population speak Spanish (, According to the Morocco Census of 2004, the Morocco population is 29,680,069 (
  58. ^ IBGE 2010
  59. ^ 50% of 733,000 foreigners in Brazil are from Mercosur (Page 32 [1] + 92,260 spanish immigrants (INE (1/1/2011)) + 1,258 (in 2000).
  60. ^ 2009 Annuary of the Instituto Cervantes: More than 5 million students are learning Spanish.,, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil: Near 9 million students are learning Spanish and the forecast is 12 million in 2010. Instituto Cervantes: More than 1 million of spanish students in the private school and almost 11 million estimated for 2010 in the public school.
  61. ^ "Primera variación del año registró un 0,68%". INEC. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  62. ^ [There are 85,418 people who speak another language.: Ethnologue]
  63. ^ According to the 1992 census, 50% use both Spanish and the indigenous language Guarani at home, 37% speak Guarani only, 7% speak Spanish About 75 percent can speak
  64. ^ 95.10% of the population speaks Spanish (U.S. Census Bureau)
  65. ^ Eurostat 2010
  66. ^ 90,000 Colombians (in 2003) + 64,317 Spanish (in 2011) + 10,455 Mexicans (in 2009) + 7,554 Argentinians (in 2008) + 5,131 chileans (in 2004) + 7,410 Peruvians (en 2008)
  67. ^ There are 150,200 people who speak another language as mother tongue Ethnologue
  68. ^ There are 501,043 people who speak another language as mother tongue.: Ethnologue
  69. ^ National Statistics Office medium projection (Mid-2010)
  70. ^ There are 2,930 immigrants from Spain according to INE (1/1/2011)
  71. ^ 1,816,773 Spanish + 1,200,000 Spanish creole: Antonio Quilis "La lengua española en Filipinas", 1996 pag.234, (page 23), (page 249),, The figure 2,900,000 Spanish speakers, we can find in "Pluricentric languages: differing norms in different nations" (page 45 by R.W.Thompson), or in More than 2 million Spanish speakers and around 3 million with Chavacano speakers according to "Instituto Cervantes de Manila" (
  72. ^ German census (1/1/2011)
  73. ^ 108,469 Spanish (INE 1/1/2011) + 27,108 Peruvians (en 2008) + 13,313 Colombians (in 2003) + 12,520 Mexicans ([2]) + 7,140 Argentinians (in 2008) + 6,704 chileans ([3]) + 3,724 Ecuatorians ([4])
  74. ^ ISTAT 1/1/2011
  75. ^ 201,934 Peruvians (in 2008) + 120,000 Ecuatorians ([5]) + 64,000 Colombians (en 2003) + 18,116 Spanish (INE 2011) + 11,576 Argentinians (en 2008) + 3,485 Mexicanos + 3,138 Chileans
  76. ^ "Equatorial Guinea census (2010)". Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  77. ^ Spanish according to INE 2011
  78. ^ 13,7% of the population speaks Spanish with native knowladge and other 74% as a second language
  79. ^ PMB Statistics 2006 (Spanish-speaking people over the age of 12). Although Canada Census told about 345,345 people who speaks Spanish in 2006, Hispanic organizations claim about 520,260 Hispanics in 2001, and more than 700,000 in 2006 ([dead link],, and currently there are near 1 million: (
  80. ^ Eurostat 1/1/2010
  81. ^ Spanish immigrants (INE 1/1/2011)
  82. ^ Netherland Census ClockPop
  83. ^ 30,300 colombians (in 2003), Spanish residents (INE 1/1/2011) + 7.804 Peruvians (en 2008 + 1.206 mexicans + 918 Chileans)
  84. ^ Eurostat estimate to 1/1/2011
  85. ^ 1% of 8,598,982 (population of Belgium older than 15 years in 2005). Source: Eurobarometer 2006
  86. ^ Sweden Census SCB (2002)
  87. ^ Page 32 of the "Demogeafía de la lengua española". 104,000 according to Britannica Book of the Year 2003
  88. ^ Page 32 of the Demografía de la lengua española "Demografía de la lengua española"
  89. ^ Between 150,000 and 200,000 in Tinduf ( + 48,000 in Wilaya of Oran (page 31 of Demografía de la lengua española
  90. ^ 50,000 sefardíes (Britannica Book of the Year 1998)[6] + 80,000 from Iberoamerica [7]
  91. ^ Pages 34, 35 of the "Demografía de la lengua española".
  92. ^ (There are in 2009 344,932 immigrants from latin america - 267,456 from Brazil + 1,476 from Spain in 2010 accordind to INE)
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  96. ^ 35.4% speak Spanish as a first language
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  99. ^ New Zealand census (2006)
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  103. ^ The Spanish 1970 census claims 16.648 Spanish speakers in Western Sahara ([8]) but probably most of them were people born in Spain who left after the Moroccan annexation
  104. ^ According to Demografía de la lengua española (page 37), there are 2,397,380 Spanish or Latinoamerican immigrants in the E.U., but 1,490,564 are already counted
  105. ^ According to the Instituto Cervantes, there are 20,000,000 Spanish students (,, but 15,137,967 are already counted, like 5 million students in Brazil. To avoid double counting, 6,000,000 students from U.S. are cosidered into the 14,531,499 second language speakers, 3,385,000 students are considered into the 18,922,281 speakers in the EU out of Spain according to the Eurobarometer, and 58,382 and 20,492 students are considered counted into the Morocco and Philippines Spanish speakers as a secondary language. es:Anexo:Estudiantes de español
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  107. ^ 450 million Spanish speakers (I and IV International minutes of the Spanish language, and Instituto Cervantes). 460 million Spanish speakers (,
  108. ^ In addition to 453,430,903 speakers with native knowledges, there are other Spanish speakers as a second language: 14,531,499 speakers as a second language in USA. There are 18,922,281 speakers in the EU without Spain (es:Anexo:Hablantes de español en la U.E. según el Eurobarómetro (2006)), but 2,397,380 as a first language (page 37) are already counted. There are 5,480,000 and 3,014,115 speakers as a secondary language in Morocco and Philippines. There are 20,000,000 students according to the Instituto Cervantes (
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  162. ^ "Academia Salvadoreña de la Lengua". Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
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  164. ^ "Academia Chilena de la Lengua". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  165. ^ "Academia Peruana de la Lengua". Academia Peruana de la Lengua. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
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  169. ^ "Academia Panameña de la Lengua". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  170. ^ "Academia Cubana de la Lengua". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  171. ^ "Academia Paraguaya de la Lengua Española". Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  172. ^ "Academia Dominicana de la Lengua". Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  173. ^ "Academia Boliviana de la Lengua". Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
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