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Spanish – A Brief Overview, Part 2

Antonio de Nebrija

Antonio de Nebrija

Spanish Dialects

Spanish evolved from Vulgar Latin and was also influenced by Arabic and some Germanic languages. It evolved ‎from the idiom spoken in the north-central part of the Iberian Peninsula. In its early written records, it is often ‎referred to as Old Spanish, becoming Modern Spanish starting in the 16th century. Linguists have not identified a ‎‎“middle” evolutionary stage of the language, though standardization of Castilian was a fait accompli by 1492, ‎when Antonio de Nebrija wrote the first grammar of Spanish in honor of Queen Isabella of Castille.

Premised that ‎the term dialect is not applicable to Catalan, Galician, and Basque, which are languages in their own right, there ‎are several dialectal variations of Castilian Spanish. There are variations within present day Castilian-speaking ‎Spain and those between European/Peninsular Spanish and Latin American Spanish. With respect to the former, ‎linguists identify the following dialects: Andalusian, Canarian, Extremaduras, and Marcian Spanish. Ultimately, the ‎differences among these dialects as well as those between Peninsular and Latin American Spanish are less ‎syntactical and more phonetic and lexical in nature. Furthermore, a peculiar form of medieval Spanish called ‎Ladino, or Judaeo-Spanish is still spoken by many descendants of Sephardic Jews, who relocated to the Balkans ‎region, as well as Turkey and Israel, following their expulsion from Spain in the 15th century. Ladino is considered ‎close to Modern Spanish, though it also contains lexical borrowings from Hebrew, French, Greek and Turkish.

The ‎standards of the Spanish language are set, monitored and upheld by the Association of Spanish Language ‎Academies in Spain and 21 additional academies in Spanish-speaking countries.‎

Posted August 31, 2014

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