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The town of Shakhty, the Rostov region, 85-B Pobeda Revolutsii Str., 3rd floor, office 5

Office tel./fax: +7 (8636) 279-161. Mobile phone numbers: +7 (918) 529-09-62, +7 (903) 437-42-26

e-mail: info@jbs-ltd.com 

The Spanish language

Spanish (español or lengua española), also known as Castilian (castellano or lengua castellana), is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile (present northern Spain) into central and southern Iberia during the later Medieval period.

Modern Spanish developed with the readjustment of consonants (reajuste de las sibilantes) that began in 15th century. The language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages as well as developing new words. Spanish was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade.

In 1999, there were according to Ethnologue 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million speakers worldwide. Currently these figures are up to 400 and 500 million people respectively. Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and used as an official language of the European Union, and Mercosur.

Due to its increasing presence in the demographics and popular culture of the United States, particularly in the fast-growing states of the Sun Belt, Spanish is widely considered to be the most beneficial second language for a native speaker of American English. The increasing political stability and economies of many larger His panophone nations, the language's immense geographic extent in Latin America and Europe for tourism, and the growing popularity of warmer, more affordable, and culturally vibrant retirement destinations found in the Hispanic world have contributed significantly to the growth of learning Spanish as a foreign language across the world.

History

Castilian emerged from its ancestral Vulgar Latin (common Latin) dialects in the 9th century. Latin had been brought to Iberia by the Romans during the Second Punic War around 210 BC, absorbing influences from the native Iberian languages such as Celtiberian, Basque and other paleohispanic languages. Later, it gained other external influences, most notably from the Arabic of the later Al-Andalus period.

Local versions of Vulgar Latin evolved into Castilian in the central-north of Iberia, in an area defined by the then remote crossroad strips of Alava, Cantabria, Burgos, Soria and La Rioja, within the Kingdom of Castile (see Glosas Emilianenses). In this formative stage, Castilian developed a strongly differing variant from its close cousin, Leonese, and was distinguished by a heavy Basque influence. This distinctive dialect progressively spread south with the advance of the Reconquista, and so gathered a sizable lexical influence from Al-Andalus Arabic, especially in the later Medieval period.

In the fifteenth century, in a process similar to that affecting other Romance languages, Castilian underwent a dramatic change with the Readjustment of the Consonants (Reajuste de las sibilantes). Typical features of Spanish diachronic phonology include lenition (Latin vita, Spanish vida), palatalisation (Latin annum, Spanish año, and Latin anellum, Spanish anillo) and diphthongisation (stem-changing) of stressed short e and o from Vulgar Latin (Latin terra, Spanish tierra; Latin novus, Spanish nuevo).

The Gramática de la lengua castellana, written in Salamanca in 1492 by Elio Antonio de Nebrija, was the first grammar written for a modern European language. According to a popular anecdote, when Nebrija presented it to Queen Isabella I, she asked him what was the use of such a work, and he answered that language is the instrument of empire.

From the 16th century onwards, the language was taken to the Americas and the Spanish East Indies via Spanish colonization. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is a so well-known reference in the world that Spanish is often called la lengua de Cervantes ( «the language of Cervantes»).

In the 20th century, Spanish was introduced to Equatorial Guinea and the Western Sahara, and to areas of the United States that had not been part of the Spanish Empire, such as Spanish Harlem in New York City.

(from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia)


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