Language is one of the most reflective evidences on the diversity and change in culture. Language is the basic way by which culture is transferred from one generation to another and in studying culture language constitutes and important consideration that cannot be ignored (Pharies 8). For instance, in understanding the diversity of culture in the contemporary world one only needs to look at the number of languages in the world, which is only placed at an approximation at a value of 5,000 (Calvet 1). These observations underscore the importance of language in studying culture. Spanish is a major language of the world considering that Spanish speakers can be found in almost all continents and the language is used by the United Nations during conferences and meetings as one of the official languages. In addition, the language has been identified as an official language in most countries and a major language of communication. Furthermore, the language is also old having many native speakers currently. The diversity of the Spanish language is also evidence of its popularity and effect other languages has had on it over the years. Therefore, by studying Spanish language one can understand significant aspects about the culture of Spanish speaking people. This paper will critically look at the various aspects of the Spanish culture with respect to its origin and history, the evolutionary stages it hs undergone and the effect other major languages has had on Spanish language.
Advent of the Spanish Language
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The Spanish language is idenfified as having originated from the Indo-European that was spoken more than 5,000 years ago (Penny 17)The Spanish language together with other languages such as French and Italian are usually reffered to as romantic languages due to the realization that they originated from Latin. After the conquer of th Iberia region by the Latin speaking Romans in approximately between 206 and 25 BC, Lating language began penetrating the local languages that consisted of Iberian and Centiberian. However, the Basque language was not penetrated and it has managed to survive until the present time (Edgren 1). The locals mostly adopted Latin in their languages as a way of prestige and in identifying with the Roman settlers and solders. However, as one moved from the administrative centers to the interior areas of ancient Spanish the kind of Latin that was being used became more primitive with latin words being incorporated win local dialects. Particularily interesting is the fact that historians are of the idea that the area of origin of the true predecessor to the current Spanish was in Burgos region which was a remote area (Penny 21). A cominbination of political factors then led to the emergence of the early variations in the Spanish language.
Evolution of the Spanish Language
After the initial introduction of Latin by the Romans, the consequent conquest of Spain by the Visigoths who spoke Latin but incorporated Eastern German Languages, brought new aspects in the bilingual Hispano-Romance that had since emerged. The proof for this is the Latinization of German names that led to the emergence of the –ez and –oz suffixes. For instance, the German name Roderiks became Rodriguez. The invasion by Muslims of Spain in 711 also led to significant developments in the Spanish consequently led to the adoption of certain Arabic words in the Hipano-Romance language. The invasion did not completely drive away the Christians that were living in Spain during this time and the Christians also contributed towards developments in variations (Penny 23). The Christians mostly lived in the North and North West region. Castilian is also said to have evolved in remote areas that had resisted the conquest by Romans, Visigoths and Muslims. Castilian is the language that later came to be mostly spoken most significantly following the creation of the Kingdom of Castille in 1035. The Andalusian which later became the American variety of Spanish emerged as a result of contact of the Castilian speaking people and Arabic and Mozarabic (Penny 28). The prestige that was at that time a characteristic of the Kingdom of Castile is what led to the spread of Castilian to other areas of Spain. The creation of the standardized Spanish was promoted by the literal writings of Alfonso X who was the King of Castile and Leon between 1252 and 1284 (Penny 32). Alfonso invented a writing system that reflected the way the various words in Spanish were pronounced. The writing style that was later adopted reflected the regions that the writers came from and there was no evidence suggesting the adoption of an inter-regional writing style. Alfonso also promoted the developments in Spanish language because he adopted the language for use in administrative administrative duties. The general realization is that the current diversity with regard to regions where Spanish is spoken is as a result of the emergence of the Spanish empire that sought to conquer regions.
As outlined earlier, Spanish is currently one of the major languages of the world with many countries speaking Spanish with some countries adopting the language as a first language while other as a second language. The general realization is that Spanish is currently spoken in 21 different countries in the world distributed in Europe, Africa, North, Central and Southern America and the Caribbean. In the US alone, there are 45 million people who speak Spanish. In California there are 12 million, in Texas 7million, Arizona 1.6 million, Nevada 0.4 million, Florida 3.3 million, New York 3 million, New Jersey 1 million, Illinois 1 million, Colorado 0.5 million, Rhode Island 0.1 million, Utah 0.2 million, Oregon 0.2 million, Washington 04. Million, Georgia 0.6 million, Kansas 0.6 million, Delaware 61,000, North Carolina 0.5 million, Nebraska 98,000, Virginia 0.6 million, Maryland 0.6 million, Oklahoma 0.17million, Arkansas 0.116 million, Indiana 0.254 million, Wisconsin 0.217 million, Wyoming 29,000 Tennessee 0.17 million and South Carolina 0.14 million. The countries where Spanish is the official languages are: Colombia, Spain, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Honduras, El Salvador, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Panama and Equatorial Guinea. The countries where Spanish is the second language include: Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Uruguay. Spanish has historically enjoyed a wide Academia with Spanish being widely written in Spanish. An example of a renown Spanish is Miguel Cervantes, known for his poetry and literal works including the “Don Quixote De La Mancha” where the first art of the book was written in 1605 and the second part written in 1615 (Literature). The Spanish language is roughly 5,000 years old.
Learning the history and developments in the Spanish language has led to a clear understanding of the importance of language in learning of culture. The general observation is that the language emerged as a result of contact between the Visigoths, the ancient dialects in Spain, Arabic, Mozarabic and Latin. Politics played a particular role in the popularization of Spanish caused by the emergence and developments of the Castile Kingdom and the emergence and developments in the Spanish Empire. The language saw the introduction of variations characterized by the American version and the Spanish version of the language. Currently more that 4 million people in the world speak Spanish and as result the language has been adopted as one of the official languages of use by the United Nations.