Spanish is a Romance language that has an estimated 400 million native speakers making it one of the biggest languages in the world. Here in Spanish Marks we have decided to share what we think are five interesting facts about the language.
1. After Latin the second biggest influence on Spanish is Arabic.
If you speak Spanish you will also know a bit of Arabic! This dates back to the 8th century where Arabs from North Africa (Moors) invaded the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain). Even though they were expelled in 1492, their 700 year presence had an influence on the Spanish language as we know today. Here are just a few words that derive from Arabic:
Aceite (oil) in Arabic is ‘az – zayt’.
Aceituna (olive) in Arabic is ‘az – zaytun’.
Hasta (until) in Arabic is ‘hatta’.
Zumo (fruit juice) in Arabic is ‘zum’.
For a more extensive list click here.
2. The word ‘amarillo’ (yellow) derived from bile!
Amarillo is a diminutive from the Spanish word ‘amargo’ which means bitter. In the Middle Ages, doctors believed that the body had four humors. The ‘bitter humor’ referred to bile which is yellow.
3. Mexico has the largest population of Spanish speakers and the United States is second.
By 2050 it is estimated that the United States will have the most Spanish Speakers in the world. Spain is number 4 on the list!
4. English speakers would recognise many Spanish words.
This is because they both share many words from Latin. For example, many English words that end in ‘-tion’ end in ‘-cion’ for Spanish; attention (atención).
There are also ‘loan words’ in English of Spanish origin; barbecue (barbacoa).
5. There are 355 words in the Spanish language that have all 5 vowels.
We hope you enjoyed these facts as much as we do!