12 Interesting Facts about the Spanish Language, Alphabet, Letters and Pronunciation
Learners of Spanish alphabet, letters and pronunciation, as well as words, grammar rules and small talk formulas, this article is for you! Get on speaking terms with the second most studied and spoken language of the world!
- Spanish is currently spoken by around 559 million people living in Spanish speaking countries and other locations around the world. Among those lucky ones there are native speakers, students of Spanish (over 21 million!) and people with a modest command of the Spanish language.
- Spanish holds the second place in the world by the population of native speakers, by frequency of use for international communication and on two most popular social networks: Twitter and FB, and by the number of visitors in Wikipedia.
- The only language that is spoken by more people is Mandarin Chinese, but Spanish is keeping up and spreading at a quicker pace than most languages. It has even been estimated that the number of Spanish speakers will grow by 100 million by 2050, reaching 600 million in total.
- There are 22 Spanish speaking countries in the world, scattered on four continents.
- The biggest of the Spanish speaking countries is Mexico, with a population of over 121 million. Surprisingly, it is followed by the U.S., which is home to 53 million Spanish speakers (more than the total population of Spain!), and then Colombia, Spain, and Argentina.
- Depending on the country, Spanish can be referred to as ‘Español’ or ‘Castellano’. The words are synonymous, but if you want to show off your advanced knowledge of the Spanish speaking countries, use Español for Spanish and Castellano for the language used by the inhabitants of Castilla – an area in Spain.
- Spanish is a Romance language, which means that Spanish alphabet, letters and pronunciation stemmed from spoken Latin at a certain point in the time period from the 6th to 9th centuries A.D. About 70% of words in Spanish originated from Latin.
- Another language that influenced the development of Spanish alphabet, letters, pronunciation and language on the whole is Arabic. About 4,000 Spanish words are of Arabic origin; they penetrated the language during the 9-century-long Arab conquest in Spain.
- Spanish alphabet, letters, and pronunciation, as well as the language in general, are considered to be among the easiest for native English-speaking learners. Experts believe that the professional level of proficiency can be achieved in about 24 weeks. However, if you want to reach the level that will be sufficient for traveling to Spanish speaking countries, you will need much less to get ready for a small talk.
- One of the reasons for this ease is that Spanish is a phonetic language - a language where words are written in the way they are pronounced. It is also why Spanish uses accent marks – to point at the stressed vowel in a word.
- The longest word of the Spanish language is not as impressive as, say, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at 34 letters long, but still has an impressive length of 25 letters and it is ‘esternocleidomastoiditis’, a medical term.
- The least used Spanish letter is ‘w’, while ‘e’ is the most used one.