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Spanish – A Brief Overview, Part 1

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Spanish (or Español) or Castilian (or Castellano) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. The term ‎Spanish is generally used by Spaniards when referring to their language in contrast to other foreign languages, ‎though they prefer to use the word Castilian (spoken by 74% of Spain’s population) when distinguishing their idiom ‎from other languages spoken in Spain, such as Catalan (17%), Galician (7%) and Basque (2%). Likewise, most ‎South American countries refer to their official language as Castilian.‎

The Hispanophone community counts 350 million native-speakers living in Spain, small communities in the United ‎Kingdom, Germany and France, and, predominantly, in Latin America. Mexico contains the largest number of ‎Spanish speakers, followed, in alphabetical order, by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the ‎Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay and ‎Venezuela. Spanish has a co-official status in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru, where native Quechua, Aymara and ‎Guaraní are also spoken, and along with English, in Puerto Rico. Alongside French and Portuguese, it is also one ‎of Equatorial Guinea’s official languages. In addition, Spanish is the language of choice of 34 million Hispanics ‎living in the United States, where it is also the most widely taught foreign language.‎

Posted August 28, 2014

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