Here are our
20 Fun Facts about Spanish:
- Spanish is a very phonetic language. If you know how a word is spelled, you can surely know how it’s pronounced.
- Spanish is also said to be one of the easiest languages to learn. A native English speaker requires an average of between 575 and 600 classroom hours to become proficient in Spanish.
- With about 437 million native speakers (Ethnologue 2017), Spanish is the 2nd most spoken as well as the 2nd most studied language in the world. It is expected to become the largest by 2050.
- Spanish is the 3rd most used language on the internet.
- 22 countries over four continents have Spanish as the, or one of the official languages.
- There are 2 phrases in Spanish to say “I love you”: “Te amo” is used between lovers or close family members. “Te quiero” is mostly friendly, used in a non-romantic way.
- A text translated from English to Spanish is likely to increase by 15 to 25%; not because Spanish words are longer, but because Spanish is more detailed, expressive and very poetic.
- The first literary piece that was fully written in Spanish was “El Cantar de Mio Cid,” which dates back to the 13th century and whose author is unknown.
- Around 8% of Spanish vocabulary is of Arabic origin. Probably most well-known is the interjection ¡Ojalá!, which is derived from the phrase law šá lláh, meaning “if Allah wills [it].”
- Exclamation marks and questions in Spanish need to begin with an “inverted” exclamation mark (¡) or question mark (¿). These punctuation marks do not exist in other languages, except some minority languages in Spain.
- The letter “C”, when it appears before the letters “E” and “I”, is pronounced differently by speakers in Latin America and Spain. The people in Latin America pronounces it like an “S”, whereas the Spaniards pronounce it like a “TH” as in “Thanks”.
- The letter “ñ” is the only Spanish letter of Spanish origins.
- Spanish has two different verbs that mean “TO BE” in English: SER and ESTAR.
— The first one SER is for permanent states such as personality features of a person: Yo soy alto [I am tall].
— The second one ESTAR is for temporary states such as the location of something: Yo estoy en casa [I am at home].
- English and Spanish share some similarly-written words that don’t have same meaning. These are called ‘false cognates’ or ‘false friends’. Example: “Embarazada” means pregnant in English, not “embarrassed”.
- Many Spanish nouns are spelled the same but change meanings when they are used with the other gender: el papa (pope) – la papa (potato) OR el mañana (morning) – la mañana (future) OR el coma (coma) – la coma (comma).
- Also, many words in the Spanish language have completely different meanings depending on what syllable is stressed. E.g. la mamá (stressed on the second syllable: the mother) and la mama (stressed on the first syllable: the breast).
- There are plenty of homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently) in Spanish, too. Best known examples: hacia (towards) and Asia (Asia), and hola (hello) and ola (wave).
- Several Taíno words have made their way into the Spanish language. Amongst the best known are the words “maíz” (corn; derived from the Taíno words mahisi or mahis) and “batata” (sweet potato).
- Modern-technology related verbs have been created in the Spanish language by simply adding the suffix -ear to the English original word, like “escanear” (to scan) or “twittear” (to send tweets).
- Spanish (Castellano) is not the only language spoken in Spain. Other official languages are Galician, Basque, and Catalan.
April 23 is Spanish Language Day
Spanish Language Day was established by the United Nations in 2010 to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all its official working languages throughout the UN. The date was chosen to pay tribute to the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the author of the famous novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha”.