Spanish language facts: Celebrando español

23We celebrate 23rd April ‘Spanish Language Day’. UNESCO established this day with the main purpose – celebrating multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote the Spanish language.

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Origines of spanish – the language of romance lies in the Castile region of Spain. Total number of Spanish speakers is near to 500 million, which makes it the second most widely spoken language. Like French, Spanish was also derived from Latin language. Spain has always been a popular destination. Be it for travelling or studying. And in recent years, the use of Spanish has risen by an incredible rate. Let’s celebrate the ‘Spanish language day’ with some of the interesting and fun facts about the language.

It’s time for ‘Origin Story’

  • Spanish is the 3rd most used language on the internet.
  • Ñ is a unique letter and it is a symbol of the Spanish language, even the translation is Español, and it includes it. (FYI: The sign above n is ‘virgulilla’)
  • Spanish speakers often refer to their language as español, which means, ‘it comes from Spain’, as well as Castellano, which means, ‘it comes from Castilla, Spain’.
  • Spanish is a very phonetic language. If you know how a word is spelled, you can surely know how it’s pronounced. But, if you know how a word is pronounced, you cannot be sure of how it’s spelled.
  • Another interesting fact about the Spanish language is the use of inverted question and exclamation marks in front of sentences. Exclamation and questions in Spanish always begin with an inverted exclamation and question mark.

Here are some fun facts about the Spanish language

  • Letter ‘E’: Letter E is the most pronounced letter of Spanish.
  • Letter ‘W’ is least pronounced letter of Spanish.
  • Letters b and v sound the same in Standard Modern Spanish.
  • Containing 23 letters, ‘Electroencefalografista’ is the longest Spanish word.
  • ‘Vowelly’ words OR pentavocálicas: About 30,500 words in Spanish contain all the vowels.
  • Special words: For some Spanish words, it is difficult to get one-word translation. For example: empalagarse, it means to feel sick because of too much sweetness in food
  • Many nouns in Spanish are spelled the same but change meanings if they are used with different grammatical gender. For example, el cura (it means the Catholic priest) changes its meaning when ‘el’ is replaced by ‘la’. (La cura means the cure)
  • Similarly, Many words have completely different meanings depending on the stressed syllable.
  • Flexibility: Just add the suffix ‘ear’ and voila, you get a new verb, for example ‘to scan’ becomes ‘escanear’
  • Considering Indicative, Subjunctive and imperative moods, there are 17 tenses in Spanish. (And I struggled with only 12 types of tenses!)

Here are some more interesting facts about the Spanish language

  • There have been 11 literature Nobel Prizes in Spanish (A seriously ‘wow’ fact).
  • Spanish is official in Argentina, Equatorial Guinea, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama, Uruguay, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain, and Venezuela
  • Even though nouns ending in -o are usually masculine, la mano is a feminine word. On the other hand, if taken literally, the word la persona is feminine, even though it may refer to a man or a woman
  • Different from English, Spanish has a relatively free word order, that means, changing Subject-Verb-Object order will not be grammatically incorrect or will not change the meaning of the sentence. For example, translation of the sentence “Tony ate an apple” can be “Tony comió una manzana,” “Comió Tony una manzana” or “Una manzana comió Juan,” for some literary effect. (Isn’t it confusing and somewhat relieving at the same time?)
  • You will not find a verb with literal translation to ‘like’ (Isn’t this strange, being a ‘romantic language’?)
  • On the other hand, one can translate “I love you” as : Te amo (for lovers or closely-related family members) and te quiero (friendly gesture).

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