Category Archives: Spanish Language

The United States and the Battle for an Official Language

The United States and the Battle for an Official Language

Does the United States have an official language? In short, no, but in reality it is a much more complicated issue that can be difficult to understand. The original constitution of the United States did not enshrine any particular language as the official language, and there continues to be no federal legislation declaring any one language as the “official” language of the United States. Despite this, all legislation, regulations, treaties, ballots, and other federal communications are produced in the English language. Despite this, many states also produce official documents and communications in other languages, such as Spanish, German, Chinese, Korean, and other indigenous languages. This is even true when that state has passed a local law declaring English to be their only official language, because government officials understand the importance of using translation services to communicate with all of their constituents. In this article, we will discuss the question of an official language in the United States today and outline the following topics:

  • De facto official languages
  • Which states have declared an official language
  • Could Spanish be an official language
  • The “English Only Movement” to declare English as the sole official language

De Facto Official Languages

English is the de facto official language of the United States at a federal level, as well as at state levels. This means that all legislation, ballots, regulations and other government communications are produced in English. Some states also produce materials in other languages in addition to English for government communications. These states include Louisiana, which uses both English and French; Pennsylvania, which uses both English and German; New Mexico, which uses English and Spanish; and California, which has many Spanish language speakers in particular, and produces materials in at least nine languages.

States with Official Languages

31 of 50 states have adopted legislation declaring official languages; all 31 of those states recognize English as their official language, but some also recognize other languages. Hawaii has adopted both English and Hawaiian as their official languages while Alaska recognizes numerous indigenous languages as official alongside English. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico recognizes both English and Spanish as official languages, but most Puerto Ricans only speak Spanish.

In some states that have declared English as an official language, there is no further regulation for using English in official capacities. In these states, such as Illinois and Missouri, the designation is largely ceremonial and does not impose any limitations on translating communications and texts. In fact, in these states ballots and other official documents are often produced in many languages. In other states, such as Tennessee, the state requires that all communication produced by the government be only in English. In some states, the legislation is even stricter; for example, the constitution of California states that the government “take all steps necessary to insure that the role of English as the common language … is preserved and enhanced,” but this legislation does not seem to be particularly enforced.

 Could Spanish be an official language?

It is ironic that California, a state with a Spanish language name and where the Spanish language is so widespread, going as far back as the first settlements in the 17th and 18th century, would have a law preserving the English language. In fact, until 1870 the constitution of California recognized both the English language and the Spanish language as official.

California is not the only jurisdiction in the United States to declare Spanish as an official language. As previously mentioned, it is also one of the official languages of The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The majority of the population of Puerto Rico are Spanish language speakers, and as such, it is important that they conduct government business in that language. As the number of Spanish language speakers in the United States increases, it will become even more important for governments to provide services and documentation in the Spanish language, however not all Americans support that.

English as an Official Language Movement

In recent years, many Americans and lawmakers have pushed to create legislation declaring English as the official language of the United States, perhaps as a reaction to the increasing importance of the Spanish language across the country. The modern day “English-Only Movement” originated in the early 1980s when Virginia declared English as its official language. Around this time, a group called “U.S. English” started to lobby for English to be the official language of all states and the country as a whole at the federal level. In 1996, after extensive lobbying by the English-Only Movement, a bill proposing to make English the official language passed in the House of Representatives, but the Senate never signed it into law, leaving the country still without an official language.

More recently, in Nashville in 2009, voters rejected a law that would have prohibited the government from using languages other than English. While in 2012, ex-Senator Rick Santorum publicly stated that he believed Puerto Rico, a predominantly Spanish speaking territory, should adopt English as its primary language if it wants to gain statehood. Santorum was widely criticized for ignoring the importance of the Spanish language in the lives of Puerto Ricans. Today, five states are considering establishing English as their one and only official language, these states are Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

There is widespread support for English as an official language, according to a 2010 poll, 87% of Americans support making English an official language. However, many people are critical of the movement. Critics argue that it is not a unifying endeavor, and it promotes xenophobia. The ACLU believes that efforts to make English the only official language, and to limit the availability of government communication in other languages is a violation of the first amendment rights of free speech and the ability to communicate with the government.

 English is the most common language spoken in the United States, so governments consistently produce communications, legislation and regulations in English. However, today there are more than 35 million native Spanish language speakers in the United States, with millions more speaking Spanish as a second language or currently studying the Spanish language. State and federal governments are aware of the importance of this demographic so they translate all of their official documents, ballots and other communications into the Spanish language. Governments understand the importance of using translation and copy-editing services such as Spanish with Style to ensure that the quality of the translated text they are distributing to their constituents is impeccable.

Spanish Language: An Integral part of the History of the United States

Spanish Language An Integral part of the History of the United States

The Spanish language is becoming increasingly important in the United States every year, with more Spanish speakers coming into the country both as tourists and as new residents. Since 1990 the number of native Spanish language speakers in the United States has increased from 11 million to 41 million. This demographic is more important than ever both culturally and economically, and cannot be ignored by businesses. But did you know that even though the English language is the official language in the United States, that the Spanish language actually predates English? This article will discuss the history of the Spanish language in the United States from the first European explorers through the official creation of the United States.

Colonial Use of the Spanish Language

After Christopher Columbus’ expedition under the purview of the Spanish Throne, Spain continued to expand their territories in the so-called “New World”. Spain saw the great potential that existed in the Americas and set out to exploit it as best they could. They sent their ships throughout the area and made sure to explore and conquer as much of the land as they could.

The first European explorer to touch ground on the continental United States was the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León in 1513. He landed on the southern part of the United States and named it La Florida, meaning “the land of flowers”, the name that the state still retains today. He continued to explore the southern Floridian coast as well as the Florida Keys. Ponce de León was the first in a long line of Spanish explorers on the continent. Over the next few decades, Spanish explorers would travel throughout the continental United States including to the Grand Canyon, Mississippi River, and the Gulf of California.

Two other important early explorers from Spain were Hernando de Soto and Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. In 1540 they both began exploring different regions in the continental United States. Hernando de Soto explored the southeastern United States from Tampa Bay to to South Carolina crossing the Mississippi River. He explored modern day Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. At the same time, Vásquez de Coronado traveled across the Mexican-Arizona border and all the way to Kansas. About 50 years later, in 1592, Juan de Fuca explored the western coast of the United States. He sailed up the west coast of Mexico to Vancouver Island looking for a passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

Spanish Language Settlements

Spanish explorers founded some of the first settlements and colonies in the United States. As early as 1527 the Spanish had already created the first settlement in the United States, San Miguel de Guadalupe in Georgia. That settlement only lasted 3 months, but within 40 years the explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés had also founded St. Augustine, Florida. This settlement is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States and even predates even the Plymouth Colony at Plymouth Rock by more than 50 years (settled in 1620). The Spanish even held a Thanksgiving feast in St Augustine, 56 years before the English speaking pilgrims.

More settlements were created in the years that followed as farmers and craftsmen journeyed across the ocean, and explorers brought their families over. They established a settlement at modern day Parris Island, South Carolina called Santa Elena to protect the treasure they were taking from their newly explored landed and sending back to Europe. Spanish settlers also landed in the town of Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is now the oldest state capital in the United States. At the time, in 1610, Santa Fe was inhabited by indigenous peoples who had been living in the area for about 500 years. Santa Fe was under continuous Spanish control except from 1680 – 1692 when it was conquered by the indigenous Pueblo people. After the Spanish regained control, it remained so until the Mexican War of Independence.

Colonization of the Western United States by the Spanish was slower. The first settlements were missions established in California after 1697, first in Baja California then expanding throughout the region. By the 1800s there were many Spanish missions in California, predominantly along El Camino Real, “The Royal Road”, that allowed easy passage between each mission and still exists today. The purpose of these missions was to spread Christianity to indigenous peoples, and with that they also spread Spanish language and culture. Many indigenous people in California also learned to speak Spanish while working on Spanish ranches.

 Territories Change Hands and Gain Independence

Many territories passed hands between Spain and Great Britain because of wars or trading of land. Spain traded control of Florida to Great Britain in exchange for Havana, Cuba, in 1763. But Florida only remained under Great Britain’s command until 1783 when the American Revolutionary War ended. The American Revolutionary War was fought by mostly English speaking settlers in the British owned colonies, but they had foreign support from Spain, who provided them with weapons and other supplies. After the war ended Florida was returned to Spain. It was only in 1821 that Florida became an American state through the Adams-Onis Treaty.

Throughout the time of colonization, Spain had a large influence on much of the Americas. The Spanish conquered much of the Caribbean and West Indies, including what is now Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, along with parts of Central and South America. The most significant area of conquer for the Spanish was arguably Mexico, where they conquered the powerful Aztec Empire. After the conquest the Spanish took control over the area and made many settlements.

Through these settlements the Spanish language became pervasive in the region.

Mexico eventually gained independence from Spain in 1821, but at this time Mexican territory expanded across many areas that are now part of the United States. Texas, was one of the states originally a part of Mexico and was full of native Spanish language speakers.

After the Mexican War of Independence, many American English language speakers immigrated to Texas. By 1836 so many Americans were living in Texas that they demanded independence from Mexico and fought their own war of independence. Texas remained an independent state from 1836 until it was finally integrated into the United States in 1846.

Territories in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Utah were also a part of Mexico after the Mexican War of Independence until the Mexican – American War in 1846. America won much of the Northern part of Mexico’s territory in the war, and in doing so incorporated many Spanish language speakers into the United States. These Spanish language speakers were now Americans and continued to speak their native language despite their country’s border changing.

Spanish Language in America Today

The United States is uniquely situated in the world with such a rich cultural history of both Spanish language speakers and English language speakers. However, the influence of the Spanish language on American culture is not only historical, it is also the future of the nation as more Spanish language speakers immigrate every year.

This is why it is increasingly important for businesses in the United States and businesses with customers in the United States, to provide accurate materials in both English and Spanish to remain relevant and communicate effectively with all potential customers. This is why it is so important that companies use Spanish language translation and copy-editing services such as Spanish with Style to guarantee they have the highest quality translated text.

Blending Cultures: Spanish Words English Speakers Use Everyday

Blending Cultures Spanish Words English Speakers Use Everyday

It is common to hear Spanish language words like bodega, fiesta or burritos daily across the United states. With 45 million Spanish language speakers, the Spanish language is influencing the everyday language of Americans. With many immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries, words for Mexican and other Latin foods are pervasive.  Culturally significant words like quinceañera have also been adopted by Americans. Many other words with Spanish origins, such as chocolate, used in the United States today were passed down from the Spanish colonists to the Americas.

Food with a Spanish Language Influence

Mexican food is very popular in the United States, and with it we have adopted many Spanish language words. For example, salsa simply means sauce in the Spanish language but is not used to refer to a specific type of (often spicy) tomato based sauce commonly used on tacos or eaten with nacho chips. Taco is the Spanish language name for one of the most common and beloved foods in America, which of course originated in Mexico. Another popular food with a Mexican influence and Spanish name are burritos, which have similar flavors and ingredients as tacos, but actually originated in the United States and not Mexico. Burrito comes from the Spanish language word, burro, meaning a small donkey. Cilantro, a common ingredient in Mexican food, is actually the Spanish language word for the herb that is known in other English speaking countries as coriander. The piña colada, a popular cocktail, made with pineapple and coconut milk is Spanish for strained pineapple.

Cultural Influences

Many common words that are used daily have a Spanish language origin. For example, the word bodega comes from the Spanish language word meaning a cellar or place where wine is stored, but in the United States it means a corner store. Macho, a Spanish word denoting masculinity, has become a popular way to describe tough or very masculine men in the United States. Siesta, meaning the afternoon nap commonly taken at midday in Spain, can also be commonly heard when people discuss taking an afternoon break. The similarly sounding fiesta, from the Spanish word for party, has been adapted by many English language speakers. Another common word for a party is quinceañera, a Spanish language compound of quince and años, translates directly to fifteen years. The popular quinceañera parties (or fiestas) celebrate the coming of age of Mexican girls on their fifteenth birthday, similar to the “sweet 16” parties popular in English speaking United States.

Colonial influence

Many of the Spanish language words that you will hear regularly in the United States were words that Spanish colonists borrowed from indigenous languages. Barbecue, from barbacoa, was taken from the Taino language by Spanish explorers to the Bahamas. Potatoes, which are native to South America, comes from the Spanish patate but was originally batata in Taino. Chocolate was developed from the Nahuatl word xocolatl and was subsequently adapted into English.

Importance of Spanish in Everyday American Life

Spanish words have been adapted by the English language for centuries and are becoming increasingly prevalent as an increasing amount of the population of the United States are now Spanish language speakers. As such, the Spanish language is increasingly more important to daily life in the United States and it is important to use Spanish words appropriately with an understanding of their historical, cultural and social implications. As businesses and individuals are using more Spanish daily and seeking translation and copy editing services, the Spanish language experts and copy writing professionals at Spanish with Style will guarantee that your text is translated into perfect Spanish with an understanding of all the nuances of the language.

The Historical Roots of the Spanish Language

The historical roots of the Spanish language

The Spanish language is one of the fastest growing languages on the planet. Currently there are almost 400 million Spanish speakers globally, and it is the official language in 21 countries. It is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be 900 million Spanish speakers globally- that’s 10% of the world’s population. Additionally, at this time it is estimated that the United States will be home to the largest population of these speakers. So, just how did the Spanish language come to be so popular and widespread?

In this blog, we will discuss the historical roots of the Spanish language, and trace the language through from its origins to the modern day by highlighting the following important points:

  • The Origins of The Spanish Language
  • The Spanish Language and the ‘New World’
  • Modern day Spanish Language

The Origins of the Spanish Language

The Spanish language is part of what we call today the ‘Romance Language’ family, with ‘Romance’ referring to its 5th Century Roman origins. As with most other Romance languages such as French, Portuguese and Italian, Spanish has its roots firmly planted in the Latin language, which was spoken by most of Europe at that time as well as parts of North Africa and even the Middle East, Turkey and parts of West Asia. The Spanish language in particular is said to have so many similarities to Latin that it is both the mother and the father of what we know today as the modern Spanish language. The emergence of Spanish form its Latin parents began after the fall of the Roman Empire, and slowly but surely became the dominant language of the Iberian Peninsula.

Beginning in the early 700’s CE, Arab armies began to head North with the express intent of conquering the Iberian Peninsula, and were largely successful. They stayed for over 600 years, and Arabic left a lasting impression on the Spanish Language. To this day, there are thousands of words in the Spanish language dictionary that are derived from Arabic. In fact, second to Latin, Arabic had more influence on the Spanish language than any other language. Most of these ‘borrowed’ words are in the industrial fields like agriculture, science and trade such as algoritmo (algorithm) and algebra. It’s often easy to spot many words with Arabic origin, as they tend to begin with the letter A, such as aceituna (olive), which is is zeitun in Arabic, Azúcar (sugar) from its Arabic counterpart sikkar and Aceite (oil) which is zeit.

The start of the standardization of the Spanish language can be traced as far back as the 13th century when King Alfonso X of Castile decreed that all of the official documents would now be written in Castilian, the formal dialect of the Spanish language. King Alfonso, also known as Alfonso the wise, supervised his scribes in the writings of astronomy, history, law and many other fields, firmly establishing consistency of the Spanish language.

The Spanish Language and the ‘New World’

It wasn’t until 1492 that Spanish armies were finally able to able to re-conquer the last remaining Arab stronghold in Granada, expelling them from the Iberian Peninsula for good. Now that Spain was not preoccupied with removing their invaders, they were free to start exploring the world. This is exactly what a man named Christopher Columbus did when he set off for the new world, bringing a brand new language with him. Despite being Italian himself, he was sent across the Atlantic under the orders of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. It was this voyage that began the Spanish colonization of the New World.

1492 was one of the most important years in the history of the planet, as this was the first time what we refer to as the ‘Old World’: Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, would be connected to the ‘New World’: the Americas. Initially, when Columbus arrived the Spanish language did not spread very quickly. The natives had their own deeply ingrained languages, cultures and traditions, and were reluctant to be assimilated into Spanish culture. The biggest advancements in spreading the Spanish language came when Catholicism was introduced to the ‘New World’, often forcefully. Jesuits and Franciscans used Spanish to teach the young children of Central and South America their religion, and tried to recruit as many of the indigenous populations as possible to Catholicism. Within a generation, Spanish became the de facto lingua franca of the Americas, bridging the gap between the hundreds of regional languages that existed before and facilitating trade in the region. As the populations of these regions grew and became established over time, their unique cultures shaped the original Spanish language into many regional varieties. While all forms of Spanish are generally mutually intelligible and still based on the original Castilian, they have their own unique accents, expressions, and slang. This makes Spanish a very unique and incredibly diverse language that continues to grow and evolve.

Modern day Spanish Language

Today, the Spanish language is one of the most popular languages in the world with over 560 million speakers, and has the largest number of native speakers second only to Mandarin. It is also the third most widely used language on the internet, behind only English and Mandarin. This means that it is important for businesses to translate their materials into Spanish, lest they miss out on such a large market share. Using a professional Spanish translation and copy editing service such as Spanish with Style gives businesses the tools to communicate with such a large group of people. The Spanish language is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations as well as an official language of the European Union, the Organization of American States and the Union of South American Nations among other organizations. These are very important organizations that also use professional Spanish language translation and copy editing services for their needs.

The Spanish language is natively spoken by 8% of the world with another 7% having it as their second language. In Europe, it is the official language of Spain but also counts many speakers in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. The Americas have the largest population of Spanish speakers, with most countries in the region counting Spanish as an official language: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela all officially use the Spanish language, albeit with regional differences. Even countries that don’t officially list Spanish as an official language are home to large populations of Spanish speakers such as Brazil with over one million native Spanish speakers in their very large, mostly Portuguese speaking country, as well as the United States. All these countries can have different accents, but more interestingly they often have very different vocabularies. Simple words for fruits and vegetables, for example, can vary widely between Spanish speaking communities. With different words for small things like fruits and vegetables, it is important to have a professional Spanish translation and copy editing experts like Spanish With Style tailor your documents to the specific group of speakers with whom you are trying to communicate, or at the very least into what some call ‘neutral’ Spanish.

With all the different dialects, accents and slang words around the world, Spanish With Style can guarantee your translations are professional, clear, concise and most importantly tailored for your specific audience. With the variances in the Spanish language being so different from each other, from Chile to Spain to Mexico, and even Texas and Cuba, the need for professional translation and copy editing services is more prevalent than ever.

Eager to Learn Spanish? Here is what you need to Know

Eager to learn Spanish

Looking to learn another language? Spanish is a very popular option and one of the most widely spoken languages worldwide. Learning the Spanish language will allow you to communicate with almost 500 million native Spanish speakers and millions more that speak it as their second language.

So what kind of steps should you take to prepare to learn another language? In this article we will discuss some of the most important things to consider:

  • Finding the motivation to learn Spanish
  • Where to begin? Tips for Incorporating Spanish into your Daily Life
  • The benefits of speaking Spanish


Finding the motivation to learn Spanish

The first thing you have to ask yourself is why you want to learn the Spanish language. Having a clear motivation to learn something, particularly a new language, makes it infinitely easier to persevere and sort through the barrage of new vocabulary you will need to learn. Are you taking a trip? Hoping to communicate with Spanish speaking friends and family? Keeping your goals in mind can help you get through if you feel like you are struggling. Perseverance is probably the most important aspect of learning a new language and if you have the motivation then you are halfway there. Practicing the Spanish Language as much as possible is the best way to learn and keep fluency.

Learning a second, or even third language, especially as an adult is very different from when you learned your first language as a child. As a child, you are virtually a blank canvas. Your entire life revolves around learning how to exist in the world and communication is a large part of that. As an adult, we don’t have this luxury. We have many other responsibilities and it can be difficult to set aside the time needed to learn. Patience is a necessity for people learning a new language. It’s important to remember that if you are struggling or feel as if you are speaking like a small child would, that this is not a reflection of your intelligence, but rather just a normal part of the learning process.

Where to Begin? Tips for Incorporating Spanish into your Daily Life

Now that you have clearly established why you want to learn Spanish, the second question is: where to begin? While registering for Spanish classes or hiring a Spanish tutor is obviously helpful, there are a few other steps you can take to maximize your chances of success.

The most common starting place is to begin building your vocabulary. Start by thinking about all the basic items around you in everyday life and learning the Spanish names for them. One of my favorite tricks is to put sticky notes on items around your house; this way every time you see an everyday household object, you will be reminded of its Spanish name. When setting out on learning a new language it can be frustrating to search for the most basic of words and committing these to memory will help you gain confidence.

A great way to practice is by conversing with a native speaker. One of the best ways, by far, to learn a language is to be ‘thrown into the deep end’ so to speak. This means seeking out situations where no one speaks English which could be a Spanish speaking country, or simply sitting at a table of native speakers a local bar or cafe. Just speaking about regular, everyday things will greatly increase your vocabulary and, more importantly, increase your comfort level speaking the Spanish language.

Getting used to asking questions and being comfortable knowing you may not understand all the words that are being spoken to you is key. Native Spanish speakers will also often speak very quickly, making it that much harder to follow the conversation. When you are trying to communicate with someone who is speaking the Spanish language and they are saying too much for you to process, don’t worry. Asking for them to slow down or letting them know you don’t understand (no entiendo!) is not an insult and they more likely that not will be happy to explain what they are saying.

If you can’t find a native Spanish speaker to practice with, try watching a telenovela. For those who don’t know, a telenovela is basically a Spanish soap opera and they are wildly popular in the Spanish speaking world. The actors on these shows often speak clear, concise Spanish, both to ramp up the dramatic aspect of the show but also so they can appeal to Spanish speakers across multiple geographical areas. This makes it relatively easy to follow along, learning both the language as well as a little bit about the culture. Making the Spanish language a part of your daily life helps keep Spanish fresh in your mind. Simple things like changing your computer or your cell phone to Spanish will keep you on your toes and thinking about Spanish every day.

The Benefits of Speaking Spanish

There are immeasurable benefits to learning a new language, Spanish in particular. It can help you feel more confident traveling to far-flung destinations, knowing you will be able to communicate. It can help you meet new and interesting people you wouldn’t have been able to communicate with before as well as making new friends. If you need a medical reason, learning two languages actually decreases your chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to several studies, learning a second language stimulates creativity and critical thinking skills which keep your brain thinking longer and harder, slowing down age-related mental illness.

Being bilingual can also increase your career prospects, especially as we live in a world that is becoming increasingly connected. We here at Spanish with Style understand the importance of being able to communicate clearly across linguistic boundaries, as we help companies day in and day out expand their audience by taking care of their Spanish translation and copy editing needs.

All in all, there is no downside to learning Spanish and there is a wealth of material available to get you started. The most important thing to remember is of course: practice, practice, practice!

The Evolution of the Spanish Language

The Evolution of the Spanish Language

The Spanish language is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, with more than 500 million speakers in 21 countries. It is no wonder that so many businesses are taking advantage of professional translation and copy editing services such as Spanish with Style in order to reach this massive audience. But just how did the Spanish language evolve to become the language we know today?

In this article we will trace the evolution of the Spanish language throughout history on its journey from its Latin roots through to its spread across the globe by discussing the following factors:

  • The Latin Roots of the Spanish Language
  • The significant impact Arabic has had on the Spanish Language
  • The canonization of official Castilian Spanish

The Latin Roots of the Spanish Language

The Spanish language was originally derived from Latin on the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans in 210 BC. Over time, the Spanish language began borrowing words and grammar from several other Roman languages such as Iberian, Celtic, Celtiberian and Basque. The Spanish language began to be heavily influenced by many of what we know today as Romance languages such as French, Italian and Portuguese. We are still able to see today just how similar these languages are to each other, and the Spanish language in particular. The largest contributor to most Romance languages and especially the Spanish language is of course, Latin. Some even go as far as to say Latin is both the mother and the father of modern Spanish.

The Significant Impact Arabic has had on the Spanish Language

Surprising to some, Arabic is another language that has heavily influenced Spanish. In the early 700’s CE, Arab armies invaded the Iberian Peninsula and began an occupation that lasted hundreds of years. This occupation had a tremendous influence on the modern Spanish language because a significant amount of Arabic words were integrated into Spanish at this time. To this day there are about 4000 words, or 8% of the Spanish language, with Arabic origins.

The Canonization of Official Castilian Spanish

Shortly after the Arabs were expelled from the majority of the Iberian Peninsula in the 13th century, King Alfonso X declared Spanish as the official language of Spain and mandated that all official documents were to be written Spanish. This is where the standard Castilian version of Spanish was formally introduced that is still in use today. It was after this time the Spanish language began to become distinctive from the other Romance languages, particularly Latin, in the way it pronounced its words. The Latin language in general is ‘harder’ while the Spanish language is ‘softer’. For instance, ‘stone’ in Latin is petra with a hard‘t’ but is piedra in the Spanish language with a soft “d”. This change gradually began to take hold throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. During this time the first official book on Spanish language grammar was written called Gramática de la Lengua Castellana and everything changed. In 1492, the Spanish language spread to the far reaches of the Americas with Christopher Columbus. Spanish is now spoken across the majority of South America, Central America and into Mexico and the United States.  This widespread growth has transformed the Spanish language into many unique, local dialects and is now one of the most popular languages today.

Speaking Academese: Tailoring your Message to your Audience’s Academic Level

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We’ve previously covered the importance of culturally and geographically tailoring your message to your target audience, but it’s also important to consider their academic and expertise level.