Spanish or Castilian (español or castellano in Spanish) is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia during the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile 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 fifteenth and nineteenth 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. Spanish is the second most studied language in the world, after English.
Castilian evolved from Vulgar Latin (common Latin) that had been introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by Romans during the Second Punic War around 210 BC, with influences from native languages such as Celtiberian, Basque and other paleohispanic languages, and later external influences, most notably Arabic of the Andalusian period.
Local versions of Vulgar Latin are thought to have evolved into Castilian in the central-north of the Iberia during the 9th and 10th centuries, in an area defined by the 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 near cousin, Leonese, with a strong degree of Basque influence, (see Iberian Romance languages). This distinctive dialect progressively spread south with the advance of the Reconquista.
Antonio de Nebrija author of the Gramática , the first Grammar of modern European languages.
In the fifteenth century, 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). Similar phenomena can be found in other Romance languages as well.
The first Spanish grammar(Gramática de la lengua castellana) — and, incidentally, the first grammar of any modern European language — was written in Salamanca, Spain, in 1492, by Elio Antonio de Nebrija. When he presented it to Queen Isabella, according to anecdote, she asked him what was the use of such a work, and he answered that language is the instrument of empire.
In his introduction to the grammar, dated August 18, 1492, Nebrija wrote that “… language was always the companion 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’s influence on the Spanish language from the 17th century has been so great 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. For details on borrowed words and other external influences upon Spanish, see Influences on the Spanish language.
Active learning of Spanish.
It is estimated that the combined total number of Spanish speakers is between 470 and 500 million, making it the third most spoken language by total number of speakers (after Chinese, and English). Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in terms of native speakers. Global internet usage statistics for 2007 show Spanish as the third most commonly used language on the Internet, after English and Chinese.
Spanish spoken in the European Union
In Europe, Spanish is an official language of Spain, the country after which it is named and from which it originated. It is widely spoken in Gibraltar, though English is the official language. It is the most spoken language in Andorra, though Catalan is the official language.
Spanish is spoken in 20 different countries worldwide. It is also spoken by small communities in other European countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Spanish is an official language of the European Union. In Switzerland, Spanish is the native language of 1.7% of the population, representing the largest minority after the 4 official languages of the country.
Names given to the Spanish language
In Spain and in some parts of the Spanish speaking world, but not all, Spanish is called castellano (Castilian) as well as español (Spanish), that is, the language of the Castile region, contrasting it with other languages spoken in Spain such as Galician, Basque, and Catalan. In this manner, the Spanish Constitution of 1978 uses the term castellano to define the official language of the whole Spanish State, as opposed to las demás lenguas españolas (lit. the rest of the Spanish languages). Article III reads as follows:
El castellano es la lengua española oficial del Estado. (…) Las demás lenguas españolas serán también oficiales en las respectivas Comunidades Autónomas…
Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State. (…) The rest of the Spanish languages shall also be official in their respective Autonomous Communities…
The Spanish Royal Academy uses the term español (rather than “castellano”) in its publications, due to the fact that “the term derives from the Provenzal word espaignol, which in turn derives from the Medieval Latin word Hispaniolus, which means ‘from — or pertaining to — Hispania'”. The Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas (a linguistic guide published by the Spanish Royal Academy) states that, although the Spanish Royal Academy prefers to use the term español in its publications when referring to the Spanish language, both terms (español and castellano) are regarded as synonymous and equally valid.
Currently, the name castellano, which refers directly to the historical context in which it was introduced in the Americas, is preferred in Spain due to the existence of regions where other official languages are spoken (Catalonia, Basque Country, Valencia, Balearic Islands and Galicia) as well as in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, instead of español, which is more commonly used to refer to the language as a whole when relating to a global context.
Most Spanish speakers are in Latin America; of all countries with a majority of Spanish speakers, only Spain and Equatorial Guinea are outside the Americas. Mexico has the most native speakers of any country. Nationally, Spanish is the official language—either de facto or de jure—of Argentina, Bolivia (co-official with Quechua and Aymara), Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico , Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay (co-official with Guaraní), Peru (co-official with Quechua and, in some regions, Aymara), Uruguay, and Venezuela. Spanish is also the official language (co-official with English) in Puerto Rico.
Spanish has no official recognition in the former British colony of Belize; however, per the 2000 census, it is spoken by 43% of the population.Mainly, it is spoken by the descendants of Hispanics who have been in the region since the 17th century; however, English is the official language.
Spain colonized Trinidad and Tobago first in 1498, introducing the Spanish language to the Carib people. Also the Cocoa Panyols, laborers from Venezuela, took their culture and language with them; they are accredited with the music of “Parang” (“Parranda”) on the island. Because of Trinidad’s location on the South American coast, the country is greatly influenced by its Spanish-speaking neighbors. A recent census shows that more than 1 500 inhabitants speak Spanish. In 2004, the government launched the Spanish as a First Foreign Language (SAFFL) initiative in March 2005. Government regulations require Spanish to be taught, beginning in primary school, while thirty percent of public employees are to be linguistically competent within five years.
Spanish is important in Brazil because of its proximity to and increased trade with its Spanish-speaking neighbors, and because of its membership in the Mercosur trading bloc and the Union of South American Nations. In 2005, the National Congress of Brazil approved a bill, signed into law by the President, making Spanish language teaching mandatory in both public and private secondary schools in Brazil. In many border towns and villages (especially in the Uruguayan-Brazilian and Paraguayan-Brazilian border areas), a mixed language known as Portuñol is spoken.
Spanish spoken in the United States. Darker shades of blue indicate higher percentages of Spanish speakers.
According to 2006 census data, 44.3 million people of the U.S. population were Hispanic or Latino by origin; 34 million people, 12.2 percent, of the population more than five years old speak Spanish at home. Spanish has a long history in the United States because many south-western states were part of Mexico, and Florida was also part of Spain, and it recently has been revitalized by Hispanic immigrants. Spanish is the most widely taught language in the country after English. Although the United States has no formally designated “official languages,” Spanish is formally recognized at the state level in various states in addition to English; in the U.S. state of New Mexico for instance, 40% of the population speaks the language. It also has strong influence in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Chicago and in the last decade, the language has rapidly expanded in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Phoenix, Richmond, Washington, DC, and Missouri. Spanish is the dominant spoken language in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. With a total of 33,701,181 Spanish (Castilian) speakers, according to US Census Bureau, the U.S. has the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking population. Spanish ranks second, behind English, as the language spoken most widely at home.
In Africa, Spanish is official in Equatorial Guinea (co-official with French and Portuguese), as well as an official language of the African Union. In Equatorial Guinea, Spanish is the predominant language when native and non-native speakers (around 500,000 people) are counted, while Fang is the most spoken language by number of native speakers. Today, in Western Sahara, a former spanish colony, an unknown number of Sahrawis are able to read and write in Spanish, and several thousands have received university education in foreign countries as part of aid packages (mainly in Cuba and Spain). It is also spoken in the Spanish cities in continental North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla) and in the autonomous community of Canary Islands (143,000 and 1,995,833 people, respectively). Within Northern Morocco, a former Franco-Spanish protectorate that is also geographically close to Spain, approximately 20,000 people speak Spanish as a second language. It is spoken by some communities of Angola, because of the Cuban influence from the Cold War, and in Nigeria by the descendants of Afro-Cuban ex-slaves.
Spanish was used by the colonial governments and the educated classes in the former Spanish East Indies, namely the Philippines, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. From 1565 to 1973 it was an official language of the Philippines. Up to 1899 it was the language of government, trade and education, and spoken as a first language mainly by Spaniards and Filipinos educated in Spanish. In the mid 19th century the colonial government set up a free public school system with Spanish as the medium of instruction. This increased the use of Spanish throughout the islands and led to a class of Spanish-speaking intellectuals called the Ilustrados. Although Spanish never became the language of a majority of the population, Philippine literature and press primarily used Spanish up to the 1940s. It continued as an official language until the change of Constitution in 1973. Following the U.S. occupation and administration of the islands in 1899, the American government increasingly imposed English, especially after the 1920s. The US authorities conducted a campaign of introducing English as the medium of instruction in schools, universities and public spaces, and prohibited the use of Spanish in media and educational institutions. After the country became independent in 1946, Spanish remained an official language along with English and Tagalog-based Filipino. However, the language lost its official status in 1973 during the Ferdinand Marcos administration. In 2007 the Arroyo administration announced that it would pass legislation to reintroduce Spanish in the Philippine education system. In 2010 a Memorandum was signed between Spanish and Philippine authorities to cooperate in implementing this decree. Today, Radio Manila broadcasts daily in Spanish. Worthy of mention is the Chabacano language spoken by 600,000 people both in the Philippines and Sabah. Chabacano, a Spanish-Philippine pidgin, sounds strange to Spanish speakers but is mutually intelligible.
The local languages of the Philippines retain much Spanish influence, with many words coming from or being derived from Castilian Spanish and Mexican Spanish, due to the control of the islands by Madrid through Mexico City.
Among the countries and territories in Oceania, Spanish is also spoken in Easter Island, a territorial possession of Chile. The U.S. Territories of Guam and Northern Marianas, and the independent states of Palau, Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia all once had majority Spanish speakers, since the Marianas and the Caroline Islands were Spanish colonial possessions until the late 19th century (see Spanish-American War), but Spanish is no longer used by the masses but there are still native and second-language speakers. It also exists as an influence on the local native languages and is spoken by Hispanic American resident populations.
The Antarctic Treaty regulates international relations with respect to Antarctica. Argentina and Chile, both Spanish speaking countries, claim territories according to this treaty. The Argentine Antarctica sector had a winter population of 169 in 1999, and in the Chilean Antarctic Territory, according to the national census of 2002, the population was 130 (115 male, 15 female).
Spanish dialects and varieties
There are important variations spoken among the regions of Spain and throughout Spanish-speaking America. One major phonological difference between Castilian, broadly speaking, the accents spoken in most of Spain, and the accent of much of southern Spain, the Canary Islands and all the Latin American accents of Spanish, is the absence of a voiceless dental fricative (/θ/ as in English thing) in the latter. In Spain, the Castilian accent is commonly regarded as the standard variety used on radio and television, although attitudes towards southern accents have changed significantly in the last 50 years. In addition to variations in pronunciation, minor lexical and grammatical differences exist. For example, loísmo is the use of slightly different pronouns and differs from the standard.
The variety with the most speakers is Mexican Spanish. It is spoken by more than the twenty percent of the Spanish speakers (107 million of the total 494 million, according to the table above). One of its main features is the reduction or loss of the unstressed vowels, mainly when they are in contact with the sound /s/.
An examination of the dominance and stress of the voseo dialect in Latin America. Data generated as illustrated by the Association of Spanish Language Academies. The darker the country, the stronger its dominance.
Spanish has three second-person singular pronouns: tú, usted, and vos. The use of the pronoun vos and/or its verb forms is called voseo. As the voseo was used during the Franco regime, it has now substituted for it the singular usted and the plural ustedes.
Vos is the subject form (vos decís) [you say] and object of a preposition (a vos digo) [to you I say], while “os” is the direct object form (os vi) [I saw you] and indirect object without express preposition (os digo) [I say to you].
Since vos is historically the 2nd-person plural, verbs are conjugated as such despite the fact the word now refers to a single person:
«Han luchado, añadió dirigiéndose a Tarradellas, […] por mantenerse fieles a las instituciones que vos representáis»
The possessive form is vuestro: Admiro vuestra valentía, señora. Adjectives, when used in conjunction with vos, do not agree with the pronoun but instead with the real referents in gender and number: Vos, don Pedro, sois caritativo; Vos, bellas damas, sois ingeniosas.
Two main types of voseo may be distinguished: reverential and American dialectal. In archaic solemn usage, voseo expressed special reverence and could be used to address both the second person singular and the second person plural. In contrast, the more commonly known American form of voseo is always used to address only one speaker and implies closeness and familiarity. Unlike the first type, the second one need not involve vos and may instead be expressed simply in the use of the plural form of the verb (even in combination with the pronoun tú).
The pronominal voseo employs the use of vos as a pronoun to replace tú and de ti, which are second-person singular informal.
As a subject vos employs: «Puede que vos tengás razón» instead of «Puede que tú tengas razón»
As a vocative: «¿Por qué vos la tenés contra Álvaro Arzú ?» instead of «¿Por qué tú la tienes contra Álvaro Arzú?»
As a term of preposition: «Cada vez que sale con vos, se enferma» instead of «Cada vez que sale contigo, se enferma»
And as a term of comparison: «Es por lo menos tan actor como vos» instead of «Es por lo menos tan actor como tú»
However, for the pronombre átono (that which uses the pronominal verbs and its complements without preposition) and for the possessive, they employ the forms of tuteo (te, tu, and tuyo), respectively: «Vos te acostaste con el tuerto» (Gené Ulf [Arg. 1988]); «Lugar que odio […] como te odio a vos» (Rossi María [C. Rica 1985]); «No cerrés tus ojos» (Flores Siguamonta [Guat. 1993]). In other words, in the previous examples the authors conjugate the pronoun subject vos with the pronominal verbs and its complements of tú.
The verbal voseo consists of the use of the second person plural, more or less modified, for the conjugated forms of the second person singular: vos vivís, vos comés. The verbal paradigm of voseante is characterized by its complexity. On the one hand, it affects, to a distinct extent, each verbal tense. On the other hand, it varies in functions of geographic and social factors and not all the forms are accepted in cultured norms.
Extension in Latin America
The voseo pronoun is used in Central America’s Nicaragua more frequently than in neighboring countries.
Vos is used extensively as the primary spoken form of the second-person singular pronoun, although with wide differences in social consideration. Generally, it can be said that there are zones of exclusive use of tuteo in the following areas: almost all of Mexico, the West Indies, Panama, most of Peru and Venezuela, Coastal Ecuador and the Andine coast of Colombia.
They alternate tuteo as a cultured form and voseo as a popular or rural form in: Bolivia, north and south of Peru, Andean Ecuador, small zones of the Venezuelan Andes, a great part of Colombia, and the oriental border of Cuba.
Tuteo exists as an intermediate formality of treatment and voseo as a familiar treatment in: Chile, the Venezuelan Zulia State, the Pacific coast of Colombia, and the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Areas of generalized voseo include Argentina, Costa Rica, East of Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Colombian region of Valle and Antioquia.
Spanish forms also differ regarding second-person plural pronouns. “Usted” (Ud.) was initially the written abbreviation of “vuestra merced” (your grace). The dialects of Latin America have only one form of the second-person plural for daily use, ustedes (formal or familiar, as the case may be, though vosotros non-formal usage can sometimes appear in poetry and rhetorical or literary style). In Spain there are two forms — ustedes (formal) and vosotros (familiar). The pronoun vosotros is the plural form of tú in most of Spain, but in the Americas (and in certain southern Spanish cities such as Cádiz and in the Canary Islands) it is replaced with ustedes. It is notable that the use of ustedes for the informal plural “you” in southern Spain does not follow the usual rule for pronoun–verb agreement; e.g., while the formal form for “you go”, ustedes van, uses the third-person plural form of the verb, in Cádiz or Seville the informal form is constructed as ustedes vais, using the second-person plural of the verb. In the Canary Islands, though, the usual pronoun–verb agreement is preserved in most cases. The ‘ustedeo’ is mainly used in Costa Rica and Colombia In Honduras especially in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, “usted” is used as a formal pronoun between couples. It is used to portray respect between the romantic couple, while between colleagues and friends “vos” is used. “Usted” is also used to portray respect between someone whom is a generation older or is of higher authority.
Some words can be different, even significantly so, in different Hispanophone countries. Most Spanish speakers can recognize other Spanish forms, even in places where they are not commonly used, but Spaniards generally do not recognize specifically American usages. For example, Spanish mantequilla, aguacate and albaricoque (respectively, ‘butter’, ‘avocado’, ‘apricot’) correspond to manteca, palta, and damasco, respectively, in Argentina, Chile (except manteca), Paraguay, Peru (except manteca and damasco), and Uruguay. The everyday Spanish words coger (‘to take’), pisar (‘to step on’) and concha (‘seashell’) are considered extremely rude in parts of Latin America, where the meaning of coger and pisar is also “to have sex” and concha means “vulva”. The Puerto Rican word for “bobby pin” (pinche) is an obscenity in Mexico, but in Nicaragua it simply means “stingy”, and in Spain refers to a chef’s helper. Other examples include taco, which means “swearword” (among other meanings) in Spain and “traffic jam” in Chile, but is known to the rest of the world as a Mexican dish. Pija in many countries of Latin America and Spain itself is an obscene slang word for “penis”, while in Spain the word also signifies “posh girl” or “snobby”. Coche, which means “car” in Spain, central Mexico and Argentina, for the vast majority of Spanish-speakers actually means “baby-stroller”, while carro means “car” in some Latin American countries and “cart” in others, as well as in Spain. Papaya is the slang term for “vagina” in the parts of Cuba and Venezuela, where the fruit is instead called fruta bomba and “lechosa”, respectively.
Spanish is written in the Latin alphabet, with the addition of the character ‹ñ› (eñe, representing the phoneme /ɲ/, a letter distinct from ‹n›, although typographically composed of an ‹n› with a tilde) and the digraphs ‹ch› (che, representing the phoneme /t͡ʃ/) and ‹ll› (elle, representing the phoneme /ʎ/). However, the digraph ‹rr› (erre fuerte, ‘strong r”, erre doble, ‘double r’, or simply erre), which also represents a distinct phoneme /r/, is not similarly regarded as a single letter. Since 1994 ‹ch› and ‹ll› have been treated as letter pairs for collation purposes, though they remain a part of the alphabet. Words with ‹ch› are now alphabetically sorted between those with ‹ce› and ‹ci› , instead of following ‹cz› as they used to. The situation is similar for ‹ll›.
Thus, the Spanish alphabet has the following 27 letters and 2 digraphs:
a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.
The letters “k” and “w” are used only in words and names coming from foreign languages (kilo, folklore, whiskey, William, etc.).
With the exclusion of a very small number of regional terms such as México (see Toponymy of Mexico), pronunciation can be entirely determined from spelling. Under the orthographic conventions, a typical Spanish word is stressed on the syllable before the last if it ends with a vowel (not including ‹y›) or with a vowel followed by ‹n› or ‹s›; it is stressed on the last syllable otherwise. Exceptions to this rule are indicated by placing an acute accent on the stressed vowel.
The acute accent is used, in addition, to distinguish between certain homophones, especially when one of them is a stressed word and the other one is a clitic: compare el (‘the’, masculine singular definite article) with él (‘he’ or ‘it’), or te (‘you’, object pronoun), de (preposition ‘of’), and se (reflexive pronoun) with té (‘tea’), dé (‘give’ [formal imperative/third-person present subjunctive]) and sé (‘I know’ or imperative ‘be’).
The interrogative pronouns (qué, cuál, dónde, quién, etc.) also receive accents in direct or indirect questions, and some demonstratives (ése, éste, aquél, etc.) can be accented when used as pronouns. The conjunction o (‘or’) is written with an accent between numerals so as not to be confused with a zero: e.g., 10 ó 20 should be read as diez o veinte rather than diez mil veinte (‘10,020’). Accent marks are frequently omitted in capital letters (a widespread practice in the days of typewriters and the early days of computers when only lowercase vowels were available with accents), although the Real Academia Española advises against this.
When ‹u› is written between ‹g› and a front vowel (‹e i›), it indicates a “hard g” pronunciation. A diaeresis (‹ü›) indicates that it is not silent as it normally would be (e.g., cigüeña, ‘stork’, is pronounced [θiˈɣweɲa]; if it were written ‹cigueña›, it would be pronounced [θiˈɣeɲa]).
Interrogative and exclamatory clauses are introduced with inverted question and exclamation marks (‹¿› and ‹¡›, respectively).
The phonemic inventory listed in the following table includes phonemes that are preserved only in some accents, other accents having merged them (such as yeísmo); these are marked with an asterisk (*). Sounds in parentheses are allophones. Where symbols appear in pairs, the symbol to the right represents a voiced consonant.
Spanish is a syllable-timed language, so each syllable has the same duration regardless of stress. Stress most often occurs on any of the last three syllables of a word, with some rare exceptions at the fourth last or earlier syllables. The tendencies of stress assignment are as follows:
In words ending in vowels and /s/, stress most often falls on the penultimate syllable.
In words ending in all other consonants, the stress more often falls on the last syllable.
Preantepenultimate stress (stress on the syllable that comes three before the last in a word) occurs rarely and only in words like guardándoselos (‘saving them for him/her/them’) where clitics follow certain verbal forms.
In addition to the many exceptions to these tendencies, there are numerous minimal pairs which contrast solely on stress such as sábana (‘sheet’) and sabana (‘savannah’), as well as límite (‘boundary’), limite (‘[that] he/she limits’) and limité (‘I limited’), or also “líquido”, “liquido” and “liquidó”.
An amusing example of the significance of intonation in Spanish is the phrase ¿Cómo “¿cómo como?”? ¡Como como como! (What do you mean, how do I eat? I eat the way I eat!).
V and B
The letters V and B are both normally pronounced identically as /b/ or similar, and academic authorities now state that this is the only correct pronunciation. The Royal Spanish Academy considers the /v/ pronunciation for the letter V to be incorrect and affected. However some Spanish speakers maintain the pronunciation of the /v/ sound as it is in other western European languages. The sound /v/ is used for the letter V, in the Spanish language, by a few second-language speakers in Spain whose native language is Catalan, in the Valencian Community, Mallorca, and southern Catalonia. In the USA it is also common due to the proximity and influence of English phonology, and the /v/ is also occasionally used in Mexico. Some parts of Central America also use /v/ which the Royal Academy attributes to the interference of local indigenous languages.
Historically, the /v/ pronunciation was uncommon but considered correct well into the 20th century. Spanish schools taught a /v/ pronunciation for most of the 20th century.
Some Spaniards consider the pronunciation of /v/ for the letter V to be more poetic, and it is used by many singers such as Julio Iglesias, Juan Pardo, Paloma San Basilio, Amaia Montero and Alejandro Sanz.
Spanish is a relatively inflected language, with a two-gender system and about fifty conjugated forms per verb, but limited inflection of nouns, adjectives, and determiners. (For a detailed overview of verbs, see Spanish verbs and Spanish irregular verbs.)
It is right-branching, uses prepositions, and usually, though not always, places adjectives after nouns, as do most other Romance languages. Its syntax is generally Subject Verb Object, though variations are common. It is a pro-drop language (or null subject language) (that is, it allows the deletion of pronouns which are pragmatically unnecessary) and is verb-framed.
The Instituto Cervantes (Cervantes Institute) is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991. This organization has branched out in over 20 different countries with 54 centres devoted to the Spanish and Hispanic American culture and Spanish Language. The ultimate goals of the Institute are to promote the education, the study and the use of Spanish universally as a second language, to support the methods and activities that would help the process of Spanish language education, and to contribute to the advancement of the Spanish and Hispanic American cultures throughout non-Spanish-speaking countries.