Spanish, along with French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian is a Romance language. They derived from Latin, a Classical language. Among the Romance Languages, Spanish represents the one that moved farther away from its origin, yet remains without any doubt “romance” in its sounds, structure, syntaxes, and vocabulary. In contrast to the others, it is the official language of more than twenty countries, if we include United States and a growing Hispanic community in Canada. Spain is where it originated, and until recently, referred to as castellano by the Spaniards. Nowadays, and particularly on this side of the world, America, it is simply called español, believed to be more “politically correct”.
Spanish, in addition to Spain, is the official language in Mexico, Central America, most of South America and the Caribbean. Due to history and geography, Spanish reflects in its rich vocabulary a variety of words and expressions widely used in a country and not in others. Numerous indigenous words have remained and were absorbed into the common language of the people of the Americas. One can easily hear and appreciate the numerous accents among the Hispanic speakers.
Spanish is the most studied foreign language in the United States and rightfully so, if we consider the proximity with Mexico to the south of the border, and the enormous impact of the Hispanic presence in the USA. It is believed the Hispanic population will continue to increase at a record speed! It is no wonder English native speakers have chosen Spanish as “the language” to study. In addition, many Americans visit, work, and have family ties in Latin American countries.
In the United States, the Hispanic culture and Spanish have impacted history, media, literature (hence Chicano literature), economy, the arts, cuisine, sports, and certainly music. As the love and appreciation of the español continues to grow, it is not difficult to envision it as one of the two official languages of the United States. In some States, where the Hispanic population is numerous if not the majority, in many schools bilingual education is common a conscientious choice for educators, parents, and children.
One of the widely spread “myth” about Spanish consists in being considered an “easy” language” to learn.. No language is “easy”. All require will, and dedication to master, time, and patience to learn. It is important to enjoy the process as much as possible and hablar without fear, so the next time someone asks you: “¿Habla español?”, you can proudly reply: “Sí, hablo español”.