Spanish language

(redirected from Espanol)
Also found in: Dictionary.

Spanish language,

member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Romance languagesRomance languages,
group of languages belonging to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Italic languages). Also called Romanic, they are spoken by about 670 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
..... Click the link for more information.
). The official language of Spain and 19 Latin American nations, Spanish is spoken as a first language by about 330 million persons and as a second language by perhaps another 50 million. It is the mother tongue of about 40 million people in Spain, where the language originated and whence it was later brought by Spanish explorers, colonists, and empire-builders to the Western Hemisphere and other parts of the world during the last five centuries. It is the native language of over 17 million people in the United States, and is one of the official languages of the United Nations.

Spanish is a descendant of the Vulgar Latin brought to the Iberian peninsula by the soldiers and colonists of ancient Rome (see Latin languageLatin language,
member of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Latin was first encountered in ancient times as the language of Latium, the region of central Italy in which Rome is located (see Italic languages).
..... Click the link for more information.
). Thus the Spanish vocabulary is basically of Latin origin, although it has been enriched by many loan words from other languages, especially Arabic, French, Italian, and various indigenous languages of North, Central, and South America. The oldest extant written records of Spanish date from the middle of the 10th cent. A.D.

The Spanish language employs the Roman alphabet, to which the symbols ch, ll, ñ, and rr have been added. The tilde (˜) placed over the n (ñ) indicates the pronunciation ni, as in English pinion. The acute accent (´) is used to make clear which syllable of a word is to be stressed when the regular rules of stress are not followed. The acute accent is also employed to distinguish between homonyms, as in ("I know") and se ("self").

There are a number of Spanish dialects; however, the Castilian dialect was already the accepted standard of the language by the middle of the 13th cent., largely owing to the political importance of Castile. There are several striking differences in pronunciation between Castilian and major dialects of Latin American Spanish. In the former, c before e and i, and z before a, o, and u, are pronounced th, as in English think; in the latter, they are sounded as s in English see. Moreover, the alphabetical symbol ll in Castilian is pronounced as lli in English billion; but in Latin American Spanish, as y in English you. On the whole, however, the differences between the Spanish dialects of Europe and of Latin America with reference to pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar are relatively minor.

One interesting feature of Spanish is that there are two forms of the verb "to be": estar, which denotes a relatively temporary state, and ser, which denotes a relatively permanent condition and which is also used before a predicate noun. Reflexive verbs often perform the same function in Spanish that passive verbs do in English. Because the inflection of the Spanish verb indicates person very clearly, subject pronouns are not necessary. A another peculiarity of Spanish is the use of an inverted question mark (¿) at the beginning of a question and of an inverted exclamation point (¡) at the beginning of an exclamation.

Bibliography

See W. J. Entwistle, The Spanish Language, Together with Portuguese, Catalan and Basque (2d ed. 1962); Y. Malkiel, Linguistics and Philology in Spanish America (1972); J. Amastae and L. Elias-Olivares, Spanish in the United States (1982); R. Wright, Late Latin and Early Romance in Spain and Carolingian France (1982); M. Harris and N. Vincent, The Romance Languages (1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
For the third consecutive year, Festival PEOPLE en Espanol reinforced its commitment to education and the community by presenting scholarships to San Antonio youth.
Live MLB Action Begins on Fox Sports en Espanol Saturday, April 7
PEOPLE EN ESPANOL "CHICAS PODEROSAS" CONCERT POWERED BY DISNEY FEATURES BECKY G AND ZENDAYA AUGUST 30 - LILA COCKRELL THEATER
LOS ANGELES -- Fox Sports en Espanol today announced it has acquired the exclusive Spanish-language rights to the September 20 encounter between Mexican club teams Toluca and America.
LOS ANGELES -- Capping off a tremendously successful and collaborative partnership, The Vidal Partnership, Animus Group, Zeal Television, and Fox Sports en Espanol nabbed "Best Variety or Reality Show" honors for "El Reto Final Nissan" at the 21st Annual Imagen Awards.
The PALS espanol assessments measure the fundamental components of Spanish literacy development for kindergarten and grades 1-3.
The Copa Toyota Libertadores continues to be among our most successful tournaments, both among viewers and advertisers looking to reach the coveted 18-49 male demographic," said David Sternberg, executive vice president and general manager of Fox Sports en Espanol.
rd] annual Festival PEOPLE en Espanol this Labor Day weekend in San Antonio, TX at the Henry B.
NEW YORK, July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Billboard climbing pop sensation Becky G was announced as the latest talent added to the Chicas Poderosas Concert powered by Disney during this year's Festival PEOPLE en Espanol in San Antonio, Texas.
The new package includes a wide variety of popular content, including Discovery Travel & Living en Espanol, Gol TV, and Once Mexico, plus several kids' entertainment and educational channels, including Toon Disney en Espanol, Discovery for Kids en Espanol and Sorpresa.