¡Feliz mes de la Hispanidad! Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Every year, we recognize Hispanic-Americans and their culture as well as the contributions they have made for the community. This month (September 15 - October 15) was founded in 1968 and celebrates the anniversary of independence of eight Latin American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Chile and Belize.
To celebrate this month, we have some fun facts for you about the Spanish language!
There are 400 million Spanish speakers in the world!
With over 400 million speakers worldwide, Spanish falls second as the most spoken language after Chinese (which is spoken by more than a billion people). English comes in third with over 300 million native speakers.
21 Countries claim Spanish as their official language
Spanish is a global language that can be found across many countries throughout Europe, Africa, Central, South and North America! It is an essential part of each country’s distinct culture and with exposure to many other groups (indigenous people, Europeans, etc.) it has been transformed into many different dialects.
The earliest Spanish texts are 1,000 years old
The oldest found Spanish texts are the “Cartularies of Valpuesa”, a medieval set of documents that can be traced back to the 9th century. The text was published by a local monastery in Valpuesta and was written in an evolved type of Latin that shared many similarities with modern Spanish. The second oldest set of texts are the Las Glosas Emilianenses (The Glosses of Saint Emilianus) and were written in 964. They were a collection of religious-related poems and prayers written by an unknown author. These texts are more than 1,000 years old and demonstrate the rich history of the Spanish language.
Spanish has been influenced by Arabic
When the Arabs conquered the Iberian Peninsula for 700 years (711 - 1492), they left a cultural footprint in the region. Within those seven decades, the culture, food, and language of Spain were heavily influenced by the Arabs. Today, Spanish retains almost 8,000 words with Arabic origin. Here are some similar words they share!
Azúcar (Spanish), sukkar (Arabic) | Sugar
Naranja (Spanish), nāranǧ (Arabic) | Orange
Barrio (Spanish), barrī (Arabic) | Neighborhood
Dado (Spanish), a‘dād (Arabic) | Dice