Brief History of Spanish Language & Learn with Conversation Based Chunking

¿Hablas español? (Do you speak Spanish?)

The history of Spanish language is full of twist, turns and intricacies. Just like the best Spanish TV shows or the best Spanish movies!

From its roots in the Iberian Peninsula to its global spread through exploration and colonization, Spanish has evolved into one of the world’s most widely spoken tongues.

In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything we know so far about Spanish. And more importantly, how you can learn it!

Olly Richards, the mind behind StoryLearning made a short but fun video on the history of the Spanish language. Check it out, then read in-depth about it!

1. Where did the Spanish language originate from?

The Spanish language is a romance language that originated from the Castile region of Spain. The origin of Spanish can be traced back to the Latin language spoken in the region of Spain during the Roman Empire.

It grew as a distinct language during the 9th century, after the fall of the Roman Empire. Spanish is derived from Vulgar Latin, which was the colloquial form of Latin spoken by Roman soldiers and settlers in the Iberian Peninsula.

Castilian spanish was the dominant variant of the language in the Kingdom of Castile, and its use gradually spread throughout the regions that eventually became modern Spain. As the Spanish Empire expanded during the 15th and 16th centuries, the Castilian variety of Spanish was brought to the Americas, the Philippines, and also other parts of the world.

Over time, the language evolved and had influences from other languages, like Arabic and Basque, which were spoken in the Iberian Peninsula.

The evolution of Spanish was also shaped by the cultural and literary traditions of the region.

2. Old Spanish characteristics

Old Spanish (also known as Medieval Spanish) was the form of the language spoken in the Iberian Peninsula from the 9th to the 15th century. It had its own characteristics that set it apart from the Modern Spanish we know today.

old spanish paper in the history of spanish language

One of its features its Spanish phonology. This included sounds and pronunciations that have since disappeared from the language!

For example, the letter “f” was pronounced as a labio-dental fricative, similar to the English “v” sound.

Another characteristic of Old Spanish was its written language.

During this period, the influence of written language on the development of the language was huge. That’s because the liturgical texts had their role in shaping the culture and thus, the language.

Old Spanish also had a more complex system of verb conjugations and gender agreements than Modern Spanish.

The vocabulary of Old Spanish was influenced by Arabic, because of the interactions between the Christian and Muslim populations.

3. Modern Spanish properties

Modern Spanish is the form of the language that has evolved since the 16th century. It is mainly the same language that’s spoken by the vast majority of Spanish speakers today.

One of the defining characteristics of Modern Spanish is its relative standardization across different regions. This standardization was largely due to the efforts of the Royal Spanish Academy, which was established in 1713 with the purpose of standardizing the language (more on this later!).

Modern Spanish has a simplified system of verb conjugations and gender agreements compared to Old Spanish. It also has a more consistent orthography (spelling system) and a more standardized vocabulary – although Spanish dialects still exist!

Modern Spanish has also been influenced by other languages: this time, not by Arabic but particularly English. You can guess why! Because of globalization and cultural exchanges, many Spanish words have been borrowed from English – and also vice versa.

4. What is the Royal Spanish Academy?

The Royal Spanish Academy, officially known as the Real Academia Española (RAE), is the principal institution responsible for overseeing the Spanish language. It was founded in 1713 with the primary objective of stabilizing the Spanish language, and to unite in across different regions.

royal spanish academy is an important part of the history of spanish langauge
Exterior view of the Royal Spanish Academy

The RAE is based in Madrid, Spain, and works in collaboration with language academies from 20 countries where Spanish is an official language – are you familiar with Spanish-speaking countries?

Together, these institutions form the Association of Spanish Language Academies (ASALE), which is dedicated to the study, promotion, and preservation of the Spanish language and culture.

One of the primary functions of the RAE is to publish authoritative dictionaries, grammar guides, and style manuals. These resources are a reference for standard Spanish.

The RAE also plays a role in adapting the language to new technological developments. It monitors the evolution of the language and adds new Spanish words and expressions into its publications.

This is why Spanish is still an up-to-date language.

5. How many Spanish dialects are there?

The languages spoken in Spain are:

  1. Castilian Spanish
  2. Catalan
  3. Galician
  4. Basque
  5. Aranese

In Latin America, the Latin American Spanish has its own dialects: Mexican Spanish, Colombian Spanish, Argentine Spanish, Caribbean Spanish, and more!

According to the Berges Institute, there are around 480 million Spanish speakers worldwide, with the vast majority of spanish speakers concentrated in Spain and Latin America.

And Spanish is also the second most spoken native language in the world.

6. Explore the history of Spanish language and learn with Conversation Based Chunking

Learning the history of the Spanish language through Conversation Based Chunking allows you to actively explore the evolution and its development across regions. Spanish is a fun language to learn and to follow up with different dialects and a global reach.

That’s exactly why it’s a good idea to learn Spanish. Is it hard to learn Spanish? It depends. But with Conversation Based Chunking, you can tackle this challenge!

This interactive method breaks down complex information into manageable chunks. It is an immersive way to understand all of the Spanish-speaking world.

What are you waiting for? Grab your Spanish Conversation Based Chunking Starter Pack now, and learn Spanish!

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