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The Spanish Language

The Spanish language is spoken as the official language in 21 countries by over 330 million people as a first language. A further 50 million also speak the Spanish language, but as a second language. The Spanish language is spoken to a significant and officially recognized degree in at least 33 countries worldwide.

When you consider languages spoken by native speakers, rather than the numbers of people who can speak the language, then Spanish comes in second in the world, ahead of English and behind Mandarin Chinese. This is surprising to many, and understandably so when you consider how ubiquitous English appears to be.

The Spanish language is one of the six official languages of the USA. Most of us think of English only as being the language of the United States, but in actual fact it is only one of them.

Over 28 million people speak Spanish as their language of choice at home in the USA, making it the second most commonly used language in that country. However, more than 40 million people living in the USA can speak the Spanish language fluently.

We all tend to think of the Internet as being driven by the English language, and by and large it is. However, the Spanish language comes in third as the most commonly used online after English and Chinese. In terms of influence online it is actually second with English leading.

Some languages, such as French, are not actually spoken by the highest numbers of people, but they nevertheless exert a considerable influence in the world. English still leads the world in terms of influence, followed by French with Spanish next, according to some sources.

Not surprisingly, the Spanish language has undergone some changes over the years in different places. While a Spaniard can usually understand someone from South America easily enough, certain words and colloquial usages may be confusing.

In certain parts of Latin America the innocent-sounding words for "to catch," "to step on," and "seashell" can be considered extremely rude! The word used for a car in Spain means a pig in Guatemala, and a word considered an obscenity in Mexico comes over as simply describing someone who likes to hold on tight to their money.

When addressing someone in the Spanish language you have three options. The second-person singular can be either "tu," "usted" or "vos." The option of "vos" is only really used in South America as Spain considers it to be an outdated mode of address used informally, but reserved for someone special.

The most common word used to informally address someone is "tu." If you are addressing someone in a formal manner, then "usted" is used. The use of "usted" is recognized in all the Spanish speaking countries as the proper form of formal address. It derives from "vuestra merced," which means "your grace." It is used universally in the Spanish-speaking world as a mark of respect to one's elders, or to strangers.

The Spanish Language is a rich expressive language. It has become a popular language to learn among English-speaking people. This is evidenced by the many popular Spanish language courses available both online and offline.


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10 secrets every spanish property buyer should know
10 Secrets Every Spanish Property Buyer Should Know
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