Improve your Spanish
Spanish is the second most-widely spoken native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. It is the national language of twenty-one countries, and is spoken across North and South America, as well as in Spain. Each Spanish-speaking country has its own slight variations in pronunciation, vocabulary, and, in some cases, structure. Even within Spain there are some marked differences between regional dialects, but Castilian Spanish eventually became Spain’s official language in the 13th century.
Even if you are a complete beginner, you are probably familiar with a number of Spanish words, from matador, fiesta, and siesta, to tapas, cava, and tortilla.
Spanish has also borrowed some English vocabulary over the years. For example, el fútbol, el hotel, and los jeans are a few examples of English words that have been adopted by Spanish.
There are a few general differences between Spanish and English. Unlike English, Spanish is a phonetic language: within the limits of a few simple rules, letters are pronounced consistently. This makes it a comparatively easy language to learn to speak. The regular sound-to-letter correlations also mean there are rarely any surprises in spelling.
As Spanish (like French and Italian) derives from Latin, nouns are either masculine or feminine, and articles and adjectives have to agree with the nouns they accompany. Spanish has a greater range of tenses and more variation in verb parts than English, as well as two ways of addressing people (tú being the informal and usted the formal ‘you’ form), which affects pronouns, possessives, and verb forms.
Explore the links below to improve your Spanish:
- About the Spanish language
- Varieties of present-day Spanish
- Calendar of traditions, festivals, and holidays in Spanish-speaking countries
- Useful Spanish phrases