Languages of the World: 1.Spanish

Languages of the world:

In this section we are going to talk about clichés, topics and other interesting information related to languages throughout the world.

We are starting this trip with the Spanish language.

Spanish (also called Castilian) is a Romance language that originated in Spain. It is estimated that there are more than 420 million people all around the world with Spanish as mother tongue, making it the second most widely spoken language in terms of native speakers (after Chinese). 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.

It is spoken officially in 21 countries:

Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, SADR, Spain and Venezuela. Being “de facto” in: Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua and Uruguay.

Spanish is also a very important language in the United States, where more than 50 million people use it every day.


  • From year 1252 to 1284, King Alfonso X standardized the official language in Castile and Leon.  He was known also as Alfonso the Wise, or Learned, because of his ardent study of Roman philosophy of law and social mores.
  • The Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española) is the accepted authority of correct, standard Spanish. Beginning in the 18th century.
  • Spanish is one of the world’s most phonetic languages. If you know how a word is spelled, you can almost always know how it is pronounced.
  • The first Spanish grammar was created by Elio Antonio de Nebrija and published in 1492, the same year Columbus discovered America.
  • Spanish is expected to be the first language of 50% of the population of the United States within 50 years.
  • If you learn Spanish, you will have a head start in learning other languages such as French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan or Romanian
  • The demand for Spanish courses has doubled worldwide in ten years.
  • The most difficult words for foreigners are probably the rolled r (-rr) sound such as in jarra, ferrocarril, carretera or zorro and the dr sound which we can find in the words dromedario or cocodrilo.
  • Some false friends that we can find in Spanish are as follows:
    • Asistir meansto attend; to say assist, the word ayuda is used.
    • Carpeta is not acarpet, it is a folder.
    • Constiparse is tocatch a cold.
    • decepciónis a disappointment, not a deception (engaño).
    • Embarazada is apregnant woman, if someone is embarrassed, he or she is avergonzado/a.
    • Éxito is asuccess, not an exit.
    • Recordar means to rememberor to remind.
    • Sensible is the Spanish word for sensitive and not sensible (sensato)
    • Tuna is a college musical club, if you want to order the fish tuna you had better ask for atún.

Here, at the University of Almería, you can find Spanish courses in our “centro de lenguas”.

¡ Hasta la próxima !



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