We’re sure you know the Spanish language and culture are cool. Probably you are also thinking about learning Spanish. Perhaps you’re planning a trip to one of the beautiful Spanish-speaking countries, but after reading these lines you’d be amazed at how interesting Spanish can be both as a language and as a culture.
Spanish is a language with a lot of culture behind it. In this post, you’ll find out how the Spanish language was shaped after the rich history that took place in the Iberian peninsula since the times of Roman emperors.
Then, if you are looking for a foreign language, Spanish should be your first option; come on and be a master of this romantic language.
Latin, Roman, and Arabic cultures have been three of the most important drivers of the modern Spanish language and culture. They all come together to shape a beautiful language born in the Iberian peninsula. Alongside its beauty, Spanish is also full of rich history and passion.
Battles have been fought, continents have been colonized, food has been eaten… All these gave birth to one of the most romantic languages of all: Spanish.
Because you are going to dive into all the interesting facts we’ve prepared for you, let’s take a moment to talk about Spain as a country.
Spain is located in Europe and is part of the European Union. Spain is composed of mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands. Spain got a lot of influences from the Roman empire and it has a long tradition as a Roman Catholic nation.
Spanish traditions and language started spreading all over the world when Christopher Columbus accidentally discovered, in 1492, the continent -called America nowadays- in a journey in which he was trying to find another path to get to India and bring commodities and spices to Spain.
Although Christopher Columbus was Italian, he was on that particular trip under the commandments of the Spanish Royal family. Columbus’ discovery started an era of colonization (by Spain) throughout the continent where many native Americans lost their lives. Spain spread its culture, religion, and language all over Latin America.
11 Fun Facts about the Spanish language that makes it so popular to learn
1. Spanish is the second most spoken language
The Spanish language is the second most spoken language in the world: Surprisingly, more people are speaking Spanish at this moment than people speaking the English language.
Isn’t it an amazing fact that there are far more native Spanish speakers than native English speakers all around the world?
493 million of the world’s population are Spanish native speakers, only surpassed by Mandarin Chinese with over a billion native speakers. Just think about all the people who speak Spanish and how you can interact with them by speaking their own language.
2. More than 20 countries have the Spanish language as their official language
More than 20 countries in the world have Spanish as their official language: Spanish is all over the world. Although the Spanish language originated in Spain, today Latin America is the region where Spanish is dominant (Spanish-speaking countries are all over the continent, with Brazil the most important exception).
Spanish also has a small presence in Africa and Oceania. Do you want to travel to Argentina and enjoy good football? The Spanish language is its official language. What about Mexico and all its delicious food? You guessed it, the Spanish language is the official language.
Want to learn more interesting facts about the Hispanic World? Check out our article on Spanish-speaking countries of the world.
3. Spanish is romantic
Spanish is as romantic and poetic as French: Spanish belongs to the romance language family alongside French, Italian, Romanian, and many others. This language has its root in Vulgar Latin.
4. Have you ever heard about Castilian?
Spanish or Castilian: This language can be called both ways, being Castilian a name more related to the Castilla region where it first originated. The name Spanish is more universal and more commonly used internationally.
5. It sounds just as it is written
Spanish is a phonetic language: This language has a very strict pronunciation and each letter is related to a particular sound that remains the same throughout words and phrases. Don’t expect to find big surprises in the pronunciation of Spanish words.
6. The Royal Spanish Academy
Long live the King: The Royal Spanish Academy -located in Madrid, Spain- is the guardian of the language and its sole role is to take care of the proper use of the language around the world.
If somebody in the world has any doubt about how to conjugate a verb or the proper use of a preposition, the Royal Spanish Academy will be glad in sending him a tweet (Yes, a tweet from Twitter) with the correct use of the Spanish language.
If you still can’t find the right reason to learn Spanish. We will give you plenty on why you should study Spanish as a second language.
7. Fifty shades of the Spanish language
As a heavily spread language, Spanish has naturally evolved into very different accents around the world. It’s very common to find areas in America where they have their own Spanish vocabulary. For example, it is known the use of the word “vos” instead of “tú” in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
8. Arabic roots
The second most influential language in Spanish has been Arabic. Spain was once conquered by Muslims, therefore Arabic culture helped to model this beautiful language after theirs.
9. The Spanish language is perfect for literature and reading lovers
“Las Glosas Emilianensas” -thought to be the first Spanish text– was written over 1000 years ago. Also, Don Quixote -considered by many, the first modern novel- was written in Spanish by Miguel De Cervantes. Until now, Don Quixote is awarded as one of the best and most complete novels of all time ever written.
Don’t miss the opportunity to also learn Spanish through literature and poetry with these lovely Romantic Spanish Poems and Sayings .
10. Long beautiful sentences and poetry
Spanish is poetic. If you translate a sentence from English into Spanish you’d probably end up with a sentence ranging from 15% to 25% longer than the original. This makes Spanish perfect for rhythm and poetry. Think about this word: “esternocleidomastoiditis” -known as the inflammation of the muscles from the neck.
11. Spanish offers so many opportunities
Spanish is hot: There is an increased demand for Spanish speakers around the world. Spanish is the second most studied language around the world and the third language most commonly used on the web.
Because of the immigration of Latin American people to the United States, this country is thought to be by 2050 the country with more Spanish speakers around the world. Mexico holds this position right now as the largest Spanish-speaking country.
I’m sure you are amazed at how cool Spanish is. But, what about the culture? Well, Spanish culture is legendary not only for its age but also for its achievements, conquests, gastronomy and entertainment.
Now that you are on the path of learning Spanish, you should get familiarized with Spanish history and culture as well.
25 Most Interesting Facts about Spain that makes the country so unique
We can’t get enough facts. In fact, there are so many cool facts about Spanish culture we want to share with you along with other fun facts about Spain that perhaps we would need another blog post, but here are some you should definitely know:
1. Separate kingdoms
Spain was once a number of separate kingdoms. This leads to the next fun fact about Spain.
2. Different languages
Not all native Spaniards speak Spanish. This is due to the different kingdoms and regions having their own language. There are several other languages in Spain: Basque is spoken in the Basque country; Catalan is a beautiful language spoken in Barcelona; Galician, among others.
3. Constitutional monarchy
Spain is a constitutional monarchy. The King of Spain is considered the Head of State while the Prime Minister is considered the Head of Government and he is who has all the executive power.
4. Second largest country in their continent
Spain is the second-largest country in the European Union.
5. Huge population
Spain has the fifth largest population in Europe.
Spain has the biggest olive oil production in the world.
7. Almost immortal
Spain has a high life expectancy, the highest among all European countries. Average Spaniards live about 83 years. Some scientists think this is due to the Mediterranean diet which is rich in olive oil and nuts. This leads to the next fun fact.
8. Pretty old
Spain has an aging population. Around 30% of Spain’s population consists of elderly people.
9. They love drinks
Spanish know how to live their lives. Spain has the highest beverage serving establishment per citizen rate. Is very common in Spain to enjoy some time with your friends drinking some alcohol at the closest bar.
10. Tolerance is the key
Spain has a very tolerant society. As high as 80% of the people agree with same-sex marriage and this has been legal since 2005.
11. Civil War
After the Spanish Civil War, Spain remained a dictatorship from 1939 until 1975 under the commands of Francisco Franco. After Franco’s death, the monarchy came back to Spain with King Juan Carlos.
12. Oldest restaurant
Restaurante El Botín is thought to be the oldest restaurant still ongoing in the world. It’s been open since 1725.
“La Paella” is considered internationally the Spanish national dish. However, this is a typical dish from Valencia and many Spaniards don’t consider this dish as the Spanish national dish. Remember that Spain has a lot of different regions with interesting cultures and even their own languages.
14. High volume of tourists
Spain has the second-largest tourism industry around the globe. About 50 million people visit Spain every year. Spanish cities are commonly visited by travelers from the whole world.
Also, Spanish beaches located in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea are beautiful and the main reason why so many visitors travel to Spain. Only France gets more visitors a year than Spain.
15. La Liga
Spain is also the home country of the most famous football league in the world, called La Liga. In this league, you can enjoy two of the most powerful teams in the world: Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain’s national team is also one of the best national teams in the world. It was ranked first between 2008 and 2013 by FIFA as the best team worldwide.
16. Artist streak
Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Antoni Gaudi… Have you heard from them? They are three of the most famous Spanish artists that have ever lived. Spain is well-known for its artistic streak through the centuries.
Spain occupies the third position in UNESCO’s ranking due to its cultural heritage. One of those heritage sites is the iconic “La Sagrada Familia“, a huge church designed by Antoni Gaudi and located in Barcelona.
You’ll be amazed once you know this church has been under construction since 1882. It’s promised to be finished by 2026.
18. Not a single word
Spain’s national anthem doesn’t have a single word.
19. Land of the rabbits
The name Spain comes from “Ispania”. The latter word means “land of the rabbits”.
20. Sun’s Gate
Madrid is the center of Spain. As you probably guessed, Madrid is the political, economic, and legal center of Spain. But you need to be aware that Madrid is also the geographical center of the country.
Located in Madrid, you can find ‘Puerta del Sol’ where all the railway systems of the country originate.
21. Proud family
Double surname. In Spanish culture, you carry both surnames, your father’s and your mother’s surname.
22. Nudity is legal
Yes, nudity is legal in Spain. Spain is well known for its hot summers, and due to this fact, no law prohibits Spaniards from taking their clothes off. But don’t get too excited or disturbed, most likely than not you won’t find a single person naked on the street.
23. Delicious food
If you like chocolate, you owe a big one to the Spaniards. Chocolate comes from cocoa, a fruit native to South and Central America.
When the Spaniards colonized America and then took some commodities back to Spain, they discovered how delicious mixing grounded cocoa beans with sugar is.
This first attempt to make the chocolate that we know nowadays was a luxury and only to be eaten by royalty.
24. New Year’s grapes
All the grapes you can swallow. In Spain, there is this tradition of chewing and swallowing 12 grapes just before New Year. Each grape represents a single month. If you are able to successfully complete this task, you’ll have an amazing year.
Christmas and New Year’s customs are strong among the Spanish people and Hispanic cultures. Check out our 14 Essential Spanish Christmas Songs To Brighten Your Holidays With Joy.
25. Highest peak
Spain’s highest mountain is not even in Spain. ‘Pico del Teide’ is Spain’s highest mountain, but in fact, this mountain is located on the Canary islands. Its height is about 3.715 km above sea level.
As fascinating and romantic as it is, mastering the Spanish travel language will give you another perspective of the world, and an opportunity to get to know how others think, feel and understand their surroundings.
Here at SpanishVIP, we would love to accompany you on this journey. If you’re ready to take your practice to the next level, our team can support you. Try a free private class or 7-day trial of our group classes to see why thousands of students choose to trust us.
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