Spanish (language): Wikis

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Spanish, Castilian
Español, Castellano
Pronunciation /espaˈɲol/, /kast̪eˈʎano/
Spoken in (see below)
Total speakers First language 329 [1] to 400 [2] million.
As first or second language 450 [3] to 500 [4]
Ranking 2 (native speakers)[5], 3 (total speakers)[6]
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Latin (Spanish variant)
Official status
Official language in 21 countries, United Nations, European Union, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States, Union of South American Nations, North American Free Trade Agreement, Andean Community of Nations, Mercosur, Caricom, Inter-American Development Bank, Latin Union, Antarctic Treaty.
Regulated by Association of Spanish Language Academies (Real Academia Española and 21 other national Spanish language academies)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 es
ISO 639-2 spa
ISO 639-3 spa
Map-Hispanophone World.png

     Countries where Spanish has official status.      States of the U.S. where Spanish has no official status but is spoken by 25% or more of the population.      States of the U.S. where Spanish has no official status but is spoken by 10-20% of the population.      States of the U.S. where Spanish has no official status but is spoken by 5-9.9% of the population.

Spanish or Castilian (español or castellano) is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects and languages in the northern fringes of the Iberian Peninsula during the 10th century and gradually spread through the Kingdom of Castile, becoming the foremost language for government and trade in the Spanish Empire.

Latin, the basic foundation of the Spanish language, was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by Romans during the Second Punic War around 210 BC. During the 5th century, Hispania was invaded by Germanic Vandals, Suevi, Alans, and Visigoths, resulting in numerous dialects of Vulgar Latin. After the Moorish Conquest in the 8th century, Arabic became an influence in the evolution of Iberian languages including Castilian.

Modern Spanish developed with the Readjustment of the Consonants (es: Reajuste de las sibilantes del castellano) that began in 15th century. The language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as developing new words. Castilian 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.

As of 2010, 329 to 358 million people speak Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million people [7] speak it worldwide. It is the second most natively-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. [8] Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.



A page of Cantar de Mio Cid, in medieval Castilian.

Spanish evolved from Vulgar Latin introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by Romans during the Second Punic War around 210 BC, with some loan words from Arabic during the Andalusian period[9] and other surviving influences from Basque and Celtiberian, as well as Germanic languages via the Visigoths.

Castilian is thought to have evolved in the northern fringes of the Iberian Peninsula during the 10th century along the remote crossroad strips among the Alava, Cantabria, Burgos, Soria and La Rioja provinces of Northern Spain (see Glosas Emilianenses), as a strongly innovative and differing variant from its nearest cousin, Leonese, with a higher degree of Basque influence in these regions (see Iberian Romance languages). Modern Spanish developed in Castile with the Readjustment of the Consonants (es:Reajuste de las sibilantes del castellano) during the 15th century. Typical features of Spanish diachronical phonology include lenition (Latin vita, Spanish vida), palatalization (Latin annum, Spanish año, and Latin anellum, Spanish anillo) and diphthongation (stem-changing) of 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.

This northern dialect from Cantabria was carried south during the Reconquista, and remains a minority language in the northern coastal Morocco.

The first Latin-to-Spanish grammar (Gramática de la lengua castellana) was written in Salamanca, Spain, in 1492, by Elio Antonio de Nebrija. When it was presented to Isabel de Castilla, she asked, "¿Para qué querría yo un trabajo como éste, si ya conozco la lengua?" ("What would I want a work like this for, if I already know the language?"), to which he replied, "Su alteza, la lengua es el instrumento del Imperio" ("Your highness, the language is the instrument of the Empire.")[10] In his introduction to the first Spanish grammar, dated August 18, 1492, Nebrija wrote that "... language was always the companion of empire."[11]

From the 16th century onwards, the language was taken to the Americas and the Spanish East Indies via Spanish colonisation. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 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).[12]

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.

Geographic Distribution

Spanish is recognized as one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the African Union, the Union of South American Nations, the Latin Union, and the Caricom and has legal status in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Country Population [13] Number of Spanish speakers (first language)[14] Speakers as a second language (in countries with Spanish official) or as a foreign language[15][16] Spanish speakers as percentage of population[17] Total number of Spanish speakers
Mexico 108,396,211 [18] 99,908,787 6,861,481 98.5% 106,770,268
United States 304,059,724[19] 42,859,894 [20] 7,140,106 15.4% [21] 50,000,000[22] + 7,820,000 students[23]
Spain 46,745,807 [24] 41,603,769 [25] 4,581,088 98.8% 46,184,857
Colombia 45,360,000 [26] 44,920,008 77,112 99.2% 44,937,600
Argentina 40,518,951 [27] 38,866,177 1,037,285 99.4% 40,275,837
Venezuela 28,705,000 [28] 27,694,584 665,956 98.8% 28,360,540
Peru 29,461,933[29] 23,501,784 2,012,250 86.6% 25,514,034
Chile 17,094,270 [30] 15,225,828 1,600,024 99.3% 16,974,610
Ecuador 14,150,000 [31] 13,153,840 727,310 98.1% 13,881,150
Brazil 196,342,587 445,005 [32] 12,000,000 [33] 6.3% 12,445,005
Guatemala 14,027,000 9,075,469 3,043,859 86.4% 12,119,328
Cuba 11,204,000 11,136,776 99.4% 11,136,776
Dominican Republic 10,090,000 9,987,082 62,558 99.6% 10,049,640
Bolivia 10,426,154[34] 4,350,833 4,813,756 87.9% 9,164,589
El Salvador 7,913,743[35] 7,913,743 99.7% 7,890,002
Honduras 7,876,197[36] 7,652,513 144,922 99.0% 7,797,435
Morocco 29,680,069 [37] 20,000 [38] 6,479,935 21.9% [39] 6,499,935
France 64,057,790 440,106 [40] 5,721,380 9.6% 6,161,486
Nicaragua 5,743,000 5,019,382 551,328 97.0% 5,570,710
Costa Rica 4,549,903 4,345,130 87,126 99.2% 4,432,256
Paraguay 6,349,000 3,498,299 914,256 69.5% 4,412,555
Puerto Rico 3,982,000 3,786,882 [41] 147,334 98.8% 3,934,216
United Kingdom 60,943,912 107,654 [42] 3,814,846 6.4% 3,922,500
Uruguay 3,361,000 3,246,726 77,303 98.9 3,324,029
Panama 3,454,000 2,652,672 476,419 93.1% 3,129,091
Philippines 96,061,683 2,658 [43] 3,014,115 3.1% 3,016,773 [44]
Germany 82,369,548 140,000 [45] 2,566,972 3.2% 2,706,972
Italy 58,145,321 89,905 [46] 1,968,320 3.5% 2,058,225
Equatorial Guinea 1,153,915 [47] 158,086[48] 995,829 90.5% [49] 1,044,293
Canada 33,212,696 909,000 [50] 92,853 3% 1,001,853
Portugal 10,676,910 9,744 727,282 6.9% 737,026
Netherlands 16,645,313 19,978 [51] 662,116 4.1% 682,094
Belgium 10,403,951 85,990 [52] 515,939 5.8% 601,929
Romania 22,246,862 544,531 2.4% 544,531
Sweden 9,045,389 101,472 [53] 442,601 6% 544,073
Australia 21,007,310 106,517 [54] 374,571 [55] 2.3% 481,088 [56]
Poland 38,500,696 316,104 0.8% 316,104
Austria 8,205,533 267,177 3.3% 267,177
Ivory Coast 20,179,602 235,806 [57] 1.2% 235,806
Algeria 33,769,669 223,000 [58] 0.7% 223,379
Denmark 5,484,723 219,003 4% 219,003
Israel 7,112,359 130,000 [59] 45,231 2.5% 175,231 [60]
Switzerland 7,581,520 123,000 [61] 14,420 1.7% [62] 137,420
Japan 127,288,419 76,565 [63] 60,000 0.1% 136,565
Bulgaria 7,262,675 133,910 1.8% 133,910
Belize 301,270 106,795 [64] 21,848 42.7% 128,643 [65]
Netherlands Antilles 223,652 10,699 114,835 56.1% 125,534
Ireland 4,156,119 123,591 3% 123,591
Senegal 12,853,259 101,455 0.8% 101,455
Greece 10,722,816 86,742 0.8% 86,742
Finland 5,244,749 85,586 1.6% 85,586
Hungary 9,930,915 85,034 0.9% 85,034
Aruba 100,018 6,800 68,602 75.3% 75,402
Croatia 4,491,543 73,656 1.6% 73,656
Andorra 84,484 29,907 [66] 25,356 68.7% [67] 58,040
Slovakia 5,455,407 43,164 0.8% 43,164
Norway 4,644,457 12,573 23,677 0.8% 36,250
New Zealand 4,173,460 21,645 [68] 0.5% 21,645
Guam 154,805 19,092 12.3% 19,092
Virgin Islands 108,612 16,788 15.5% 16,788
Russia 140,702,094 3,320 13,122 0.01% 16,442
China 1,345,751,000 2,292[69] 12,835 0.001124% 15,127
Lithuania 3,565,205 13,943 0.4% 13,943
Gibraltar 27,967 13,857 49.5% 13,857
Cyprus 792,604 1.4% 11,044
Turkey 71,892,807 380 8,000 [70] 0.01% 8,380
Jamaica 2,804,322 8,000 0.3% 8,000
Luxembourg 486,006 3,000 4,344 1.5% 7,344
Malta 403,532 6,458 1.6% 6,458
Trinidad and Tobago 1,047,366 4,100 0.4% 4,100
Western Sahara 513,000 [71] n.a. [72] n.a. n.a. n.a.
Other immigrants in the E.U. 1,399,531 [73] 1,399,531
Other students of Spanish 2,895,562 [74] 2,895,562
Total native and as a second language speakers where Spanish is official: 425,060,695 29,165,617 96,90% 454,226,312
Total with Spanish speakers as a foreign language: 425,060,695 87,122,146 512,182,841
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.[75][76] Global internet usage statistics for 2007 show Spanish as the third most commonly used language on the Internet, after English and Chinese. [77]


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.[78] It is the most spoken language in Andorra, though Catalan is the official language.[79][80] It is also spoken by small communities in other European countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.[81] Spanish is an official language of the European Union. In Switzerland, Spanish is the mother tongue of 1.7% of the population, representing the largest minority after the 4 official languages of the country.[82]


In Spain and in some parts of the Spanish speaking world, but not all, it is rare to use the term español (Spanish) to refer to this language, even when contrasting it with languages such as French and English. Rather, people call it castellano (Castilian), that is, the language of the Castile region, when 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…

However, to some in other linguistic regions, this is considered as demeaning to them and they will therefore use the term castellano exclusively.

The name castellano (Castilian), which refers directly to the origins of the language and the sociopolitical context in which it was introduced in the Americas, is preferred particularly in the Spanish regions where other languages are spoken (Catalonia, Basque Country, Valencian Community, 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 in the rest of Latin America and Spain.

There is some controversy in Spain about the name of the language, which is a part of a greater controversy about Catalan, Basque and Galician nationalisms.


In Africa, Spanish is official in Equatorial Guinea (co-official with French and Portuguese), as well as an official language of the African Union. Today, in Western Sahara, 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). 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.[83][84] 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.[85] 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.


During Spanish control, it was an official language of the Philippines, until the change of Constitution in 1973. During most of the colonial period it was the language of government, trade and education, and spoken mainly by Spaniards and mestizos as a first language and more significantly as a second language by more than half of the indigenous population . However, by the mid 19th century a free public school system in Spanish was established throughout the islands, which increased the numbers of Spanish speakers. Following the U.S. occupation and administration of the islands, the strong Spanish influence amongst the Philippine population proved to be a major foe against the imposition of English by the American government, especially after the 1920s. The US authorities' conducted a campaign of solidifying English as the medium of instruction in schools, universities, and public spaces and prohibited the use of Spanish in media and educational institutions which gradually reduced the importance of the language generation after generation. 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. Under the Corazón Aquino administration which took office in 1986, the mandatory teaching of Spanish in colleges and universities was also stopped, and thus, younger generations of Filipinos have little or no knowledge of Spanish. The Spanish language retains a large influence in local languages, with many words coming from or being derived from European Spanish and Mexican Spanish, due to the control of the islands by Spain through Mexico City.[86] As of the 1990 Philippine census, only 2,660 people were reported to speak Spanish as a first language, with most speakers residing in Manila.[87] Moreover, close to four million people speak Spanish as a second language to date.

Spanish has made significant contributions to various Philippine languages such as Tagalog, Cebuano, and Hiligaynon. One of the 170 languages in the Philippines is a Spanish-based creole called Chavacano, spoken in majority by people (ca. 750 000) from the Zamboanga area. Though the indigenous grammatical structure of the national language was retained, over 5000 Spanish loanwords have found their way into the vocabulary of Filipino. Since 2009 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a fluent Spanish speaker and current President of the Philippines has ordered the re-establishment of Spanish in the education system plus there is now the daily programme "Filipinas Ahora Mismo" presented by Bon Vivar, produced in Spanish and broadcast on Radio Pilipinas. The Spanish language is to be taught in select public schools in the country starting next school year. Quezon City Science High School is one of the first schools to instruct the language.


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 Spanish speakers, since the Marianas and the Caroline Islands were Spanish colonial possessions until the late 19th century (see Spanish-American War), but Spanish has since been forgotten. It now only exists as an influence on the local native languages and is spoken by Hispanic American resident populations.


Latin America

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[88]), Peru (co-official with Quechua and, in some regions, Aymara), Uruguay, and Venezuela. Spanish is also the official language (co-official with English) in the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico.[89]

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.[90][91] 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.[92]

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.[93] In 2004, the government launched the Spanish as a First Foreign Language (SAFFL) initiative in March 2005.[94] 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.[93]

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.[95] 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.[96] In many border towns and villages (especially in the Uruguayan-Brazilian and Paraguayan-Brazilian border areas), a mixed language known as Portuñol is spoken.[97]

United States

Spanish spoken in the United States

In the 2006 census, 44.3 million people of the U.S. population were Hispanic or Latino by origin;[98] 34 million people, 12.2 percent, of the population more than five years old speak Spanish at home.[99] Spanish has a long history in the United States because many south-western states and Florida were part of Mexico and 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 besides 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, and in the last decade, the language has rapidly expanded in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Phoenix, Richmond, Washington, DC, and other major Sun-Belt cities. 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,[100] the U.S. has the world's second-largest Spanish-speaking population.[101] Spanish ranks second, behind English, as the language spoken most widely at home.[102]

Dialectal variation

Countries that feature voseo, in blue. The deeper the blue is, the more predominant voseo is. Countries where voseo is a regionalism are in green; countries without voseo are in red.

While all Spanish dialects use the same written standard, there are important variations spoken among the regions of Spain and throughout Spanish-speaking America. One major phonological difference between Castilian, broadly speaking, the dialects spoken in most of Spain, and the dialects of some parts of southern Spain and all the Latin American dialects of Spanish, is the absence of a voiceless dental fricative (/θ/ as in English thing) in the latter.[103] In Spain, the Castilian dialect is commonly regarded as the standard variety used on radio and television,[104][105][106][107], although attitudes towards southern dialects 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 millions of the total 494 millions, 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/.[108][109] It can be the case that the words: pesos, pesas, and peces are pronounced the same ['pesə̥s].


Spanish has three second-person singular pronouns: , usted, and vos. The use of the pronoun vos and/or its verb forms is called voseo.


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 (all)] and indirect object without express preposition (os digo) [I say to you (all)].[110]

Since vose 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» (GaCandau Madrid-Barça [Esp. 1996]).

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.[110]

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.[110] 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 ).

The pronominal voseo employs the use of vos as a pronoun to replace and de ti, which are second-person singular informal.

  • As a subject vos employs: «Puede que vos tengás razón» (Herrera Casa [Ven. 1985]) instead of «Puede que tú tengas razón»
  • As a vocative: «¿Por qué vos la tenés contra Alvaro Arzú ?» (Prensa [Guat.] 3.4.97) instead of «¿Por qué tú la tienes contra Alvaro Arzú?»
  • As a term of preposition: «Cada vez que sale con vos, se enferma» (Penerini Aventura [Arg. 1999]) instead of «Cada vez que sale contigo, se enferma»
  • And as a term of comparison: «Es por lo menos tan actor como vos» (Cuzzani Cortés [Arg. 1988]) 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 .[110]

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.[110]

Extension in Latin America

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, the majority of Peru and Venezuela, Coastal Ecuador and; the Atlantic 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 state of Zulia, the Pacific coast of Colombia, Central America, and the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas.

Areas of generalized voseo include Argentina, Costa Rica, Bolivia (east), El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Colombian region of Antioquia.


Spanish forms also differ regarding second-person plural pronouns. "Usted" (Ud.) was initially the written abbreviation of "vuestra merced" (your grace). The Spanish 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 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.


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 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" 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 in Cuba for "vagina" therefore in Cuba when referring to the actual fruit Cubans call it fruta bomba instead.[111][112]

Royal Spanish Academy

The Royal Spanish Academy Headquarters in Madrid, Spain

The Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy), together with the 21 other national ones (see Association of Spanish Language Academies), exercises a standardizing influence through its publication of dictionaries and widely respected grammar and style guides.[citation needed] Because of influence and for other sociohistorical reasons, a standardized form of the language (Standard Spanish) is widely acknowledged for use in literature, academic contexts and the media.[citation needed]

Classification and related languages

Spanish is closely related to the other West Iberian Romance languages: Asturian, Galician, Ladino, Leonese and Portuguese. Catalan, an East Iberian language which exhibits many Gallo-Romance traits, is more similar to Occitan to the east than to Spanish or Portuguese.

Spanish and Portuguese have similar grammars and vocabularies as well as a common history of Arabic influence while a great part of the peninsula was under Islamic rule (both languages expanded over Islamic territories). Their lexical similarity has been estimated as 89%.[113] See Differences between Spanish and Portuguese for further information.


Judaeo-Spanish (also known as Ladino),[114] which is essentially medieval Spanish and closer to modern Spanish than any other language, is spoken by many descendants of the Sephardi Jews who were expelled from Spain in the 15th century.[114] Therefore, it has somewhat the same relationship to Spanish as Yiddish does to German. Ladino speakers are currently almost exclusively Sephardi Jews, with family roots in Turkey, Greece or the Balkans: current speakers mostly live in Israel and Turkey, and the United States, with a few pockets in Latin America.[114] It lacks the Native American vocabulary which was influential during the Spanish colonial period, and it retains many archaic features which have since been lost in standard Spanish. It contains, however, other vocabulary which is not found in standard Castilian, including vocabulary from Hebrew, French, Greek and Turkish, and other languages spoken where the Sephardim settled.

Judaeo-Spanish is in serious danger of extinction because many native speakers today are elderly as well as elderly olim (immigrants to Israel) who have not transmitted the language to their children or grandchildren. However, it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardi communities, especially in music. In the case of the Latin American communities, the danger of extinction is also due to the risk of assimilation by modern Castilian.

A related dialect is Haketia, the Judaeo-Spanish of northern Morocco. This too tended to assimilate with modern Spanish, during the Spanish occupation of the region.

Vocabulary comparison

Spanish and Italian share a similar phonological system. At present, the lexical similarity with Italian is estimated at 82%.[113] The lexical similarity with Portuguese is greater at 89%. Mutual intelligibility between Spanish and French or Romanian is lower (lexical similarity being respectively 75% and 71%[113]): comprehension of Spanish by French speakers who have not studied the language is low at an estimated 45% – the same as English. The common features of the writing systems of the Romance languages allow for a greater amount of interlingual reading comprehension than oral communication would.

Latin Spanish Galician Portuguese Astur-Leonese Catalan Italian French Romanian English
nos (alterum) nosotros nós nós (outros)¹ nós, nosotros nosaltres noi (altri)² nous (autres)³ noi we
fratrem germānum (acc.) (lit. "true brother", i.e. not a cousin) hermano irmán irmão hermanu germà fratello frère frate brother
dies Martis (Classical)

feria tertia (Ecclesiastical)

martes martes terça-feira martes dimarts martedì mardi marţi Tuesday
cantiō (nem, acc.), canticum canción canción/cançom4 canção, cântico canción cançó canzone chanson cântec song
magis or plus más
(archaically also plus)
máis mais
(archaically also chus/plus)
más més
(archaically also pus)
più plus mai/plus more
manum sinistram (acc.) mano izquierda
(also mano siniestra)
man esquerda mão esquerda
(also sinistra and archaically also sẽestra)
mano esquierda mà esquerra mano sinistra main gauche mâna stângă left hand
nihil or nullam rem natam (acc.)
(lit. "no thing born")
nada nada/ren nada
(neca and nula rés in some expressions; archaically also rem)
nada res niente/nulla rien/nul nimic/nul nothing

1. also nós outros in early modern Portuguese (e.g. The Lusiads)
2. noi altri in Southern Italian dialects and languages
3. Alternatively nous autres
4. Depending on the written norm used. See Reintegracionismo


A defining feature of Spanish was the diphthongization of the Latin short vowels e and o into ie and ue, respectively, when they were stressed. Similar sound changes are found in other Romance languages, but in Spanish, they were significant. Some examples:

  • Lat. petram > Sp. piedra, It. pietra, Fr. pierre, Rom. piatrǎ, Port./Gal. pedra, Ast. piedra, Cat. pedra "stone".
  • Lat. moritur > Sp. muere, It. muore, Fr. meurt / muert, Rom. moare, Port./Gal. morre, Ast. muerre, Cat. mor "die".

Peculiar to early Spanish (as in the Gascon dialect of Occitan, and possibly due to a Basque substratum) was the mutation of Latin initial f- into h- whenever it was followed by a vowel that did not diphthongate. Compare for instance:

  • Lat. filium > It. figlio, Port. filho, Gal. fillo, Ast. fíu, Fr. fils, Cat. fill, Occitan filh (but Gascon hilh) Sp. hijo (but Ladino fijo);
  • Lat. fabulari > Lad. favlar, Port./Gal. falar, Ast. falar, Sp. hablar;
  • but Lat. focum > It. fuoco, Port./Gal. fogo, Ast. fueu Cat. foc, Sp./Lad. fuego.

Some consonant clusters of Latin also produced characteristically different results in these languages, for example:

  • Lat. clamare, acc. flammam, plenum > Lad. lyamar, flama, pleno; Sp. llamar, llama, lleno. However, in Spanish there are also the forms clamar, flama, pleno; Port. chamar, chama, cheio; Gal. chamar, chama, cheo; Ast. llamar, llama, llenu.
  • Lat. acc. octo, noctem, multum > Lad. ocho, noche, muncho; Sp. ocho, noche, mucho; Port. oito, noite, muito; Gal. oito, noite, moito; Ast. ocho, nueche, munchu.

By the 16th century, the consonant system of Spanish underwent the following important changes that differentiated it from neighboring Romance languages such as Portuguese and Catalan:

  • Initial /f/, when it had evolved into a vacillating /h/, was lost in most words (although this etymological h- is preserved in spelling and in some Andalusian and Caribbean dialects it is still aspirated in some words).
  • The consonant written ‹u› or ‹v› (in Latin, this was [w], at the time of the merger it may have been a bilabial fricative /β/) merged with the consonant written ‹b› (a voiced bilabial plosive, /b/). In contemporary Spanish, there is no difference between the pronunciation of orthographic ‹b› and ‹v›, excepting emphatic pronunciations that cannot be considered standard or natural.
  • The voiced alveolar fricative /z/ which existed as a separate phoneme in medieval Spanish merged with its voiceless counterpart /s/. The phoneme which resulted from this merger is currently spelled s.
  • The voiced postalveolar fricative /ʒ/ merged with its voiceless counterpart /ʃ/, which evolved into the modern velar sound /x/ by the 17th century, now written with j, or g before e, i. Nevertheless, in most parts of Argentina and in Uruguay, y and ll have both evolved to /ʒ/ or /ʃ/.
  • The voiced alveolar affricate /d͡z/ merged with its voiceless counterpart /t͡s/, which then developed into the interdental /θ/, now written z, or c before e, i. But in Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Americas this sound merged with /s/ as well. See Ceceo, for further information.

The consonant system of Medieval Spanish has been better preserved in Ladino and in Portuguese, neither of which underwent these shifts

Writing system

Spanish language
Don Quixote

Pronunciation · History · Orthography
Varieties · Names for the language
Determiners · Nouns · Pronouns
Adjectives · Prepositions · Adverbs
Verbs (conjugation · irregular verbs)

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›.[115][116]

Thus, the Spanish alphabet has the following 29 letters:

a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.[117]

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 ('tea'), ('give' [formal imperative/third-person present subjunctive]) and ('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 RAE 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 dialects, other dialects 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.

Table of Spanish consonants[118]
Bilabial Labio-
Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop p   b t̪   d̪ t͡ʃ   ɟ͡ʝ k   ɡ
Fricative     (β̞) f   (v) *θ   (ð̞) s   (z)     (ʝ) x   (ɣ˕)
Trill r
Tap ɾ
Lateral l

Lexical stress

Spanish is a syllable-timed language, so each syllable has the same duration regardless of stress.[119][120] 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:[121]

  • 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') 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!).


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 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.

See also

Local varieties

European Spanish

American Spanish

African Spanish




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  4. ^, 5th International Congress on Spanish Language (,, Antonio Molina, director of the Instituto Cervantes in 2006 (,,, Luis María Anson of the Real Academia Española (, Mario Melgar of the México University (, Feu Rosa - Spanish in Mercosur (,,
  5. ^,, (see "World" file), (according to Ethnology (journal)), Encarta (Chinese 800 million, Spanish 358 million, English 350 million).
  6. ^ Ethnologue (Mandarin Chinese: 845 mill. + 145 mill. L2, English: 328 mill. + 167 mill. L2, Spanish 329 mill. + 60 mill. L2, Hindi 182 mill. + 120 mill. L2)/ IV Congreso Internacional de la Lengua Española (Álvaro Marchesi Secretario General of the OEI)/ (Carmen Caffarel president of Instituto Cervantes)/
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  8. ^,, (see "World" file), (according to Ethnology (journal)), Encarta (Chinese 800 million, Spanish 358 million, English 350 million).
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  11. ^ Thomas, Hugh (2005). Rivers of Gold: the rise of the Spanish empire, from Columbus to Magellan. Random House Inc.. p. 78. ISBN 0812970555. 
  12. ^ (in Spanish) (PDF) La lengua de Cervantes. Ministerio de la Presidencia de España. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  13. ^ UN (2009 estimate)
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  15. ^ eurobarometer (2006), es:Anexo:Hablantes de español en la U.E. según el Eurobarómetro (2006) for Europe countries
  16. ^ Spanish students for countries out of Europe according to Instituto Cervantes 06-07 (There aren't concrete sources about Spanish speakers as a second language except to Europe and Latin America countries).
  17. ^ Demografía de la lengua española (page 28) to countries with official spanish status.
  18. ^ CONAPO (2010).
  19. ^ Population figure for 2008 from U.S. Population in 1990, 2000, and 2008, U.S. Census Bureau
  20. ^ 34,559,894 legal hispanics older than 5 years old (US Census 2008)+ 8,300,000 illegal immigrants (Pew Hispanic Center 2008,, They aren't new generations of immigrants living in USA as many of the legal immigrants).
  21. ^ Significant figure about the legal Hispanic population (46,943,613 from a total US population of 304,059,724) Census Bureau 2008
  22. ^ I Acta Internacional de la Lengua Española (2007): noticias en, Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española:, José Ma. Ansón: noticias, Jorge Ramos Avalos:, Vázquez Medel:
  23. ^ According to the U.S. census ( 3,600,000 in primary school, 3,220,000 in secondary school and 1,000,000 in the University
  24. ^ INE, (1/1/2009)
  25. ^ 89.0% speak Spanish as a first language (eurobarometer (2006))
  26. ^ DANE
  27. ^ INDEC (2009)
  28. ^ INE (January, 2010)
  29. ^ INEI (2010)
  30. ^ INE (Chile - 2010)
  31. ^ INEC (January, 2010)
  32. ^ 50% of 733,000 foreigners in Brazil are from Mercosur (Page 32 + 78,505 spanish immigrants (INE (1/1/2009)).
  33. ^, More than 1 million of spanish students in the private school and almost 11 million estimated for 2010 in the public school (Instituto Cervantes).
  34. ^ INE (2010)
  35. ^ Census 2010 estimation (page 32)
  36. ^ INE
  37. ^ According to the Morocco Census of 2004 (
  38. ^
  39. ^ According to a survey made in 2005 by CIDOB (, Another source says that there are between 4 and 7 million Spanish speakers in Morocco (Ammadi, 2002)
  40. ^ 1% of 44,010,619 (population of France older than 15 years in 2005). Source: Eurobarometer 2006. There are 179,678 immigrants from Spain according to INE (1/1/2009)
  41. ^ 95,10% of the population speaks Spanish (U.S. Census Bureau)
  42. ^ 59,017 immigrants from Spain (Spanish census 2001) + 48,637 immigrants from Colombia. Open Channels and Colombian consul (1999)
  43. ^ Ethnologue. There are 2,532 immigrants from Spain accordind to INE (1/1/2009)
  44. ^ 1,816,773 Spanish + 1,200,000 Spanish creole: Antonio Quilis "La lengua española en Filipinas", 1996 pag.234, (page 23), (page 249),, The figure 2,900,000 Spanish speakers, we can find in "Pluricentric languages: differing norms in different nations" (page 45 by R.W.Thompson), or in More than 2 million Spanish speakers and around 3 million with Chavacano speakers according to "Instituto Cervantes de Manila" (
  45. ^ Britannica Book of the Year 1998 [1]. There are 103,063 immigrants from Spain according to INE (1/1/2009)
  46. ^ 14,905 Spanish (Census 2001) + 75,000 from Ecuador [2]
  47. ^ Equatorial Guinea census (2009)
  48. ^ 13,7% of the population
  49. ^ Pages 28 and 23 in Demografía de la lengua española
  50. ^ PMB Statistics Although Canada Census told about 345,345 people who speaks Spanish in 2006, Hispanic organizations claim about 520,260 Hispanics in 2001, and more than 700,000 in 2006 (,, and currently there are near 1 million: (,
  51. ^ Spanish (census 2001)
  52. ^ 1% of 8,598,982 (population of Belgium older than 15 years in 2005). Source: Eurobarometer 2006
  53. ^ Sweden Census SCB (2002)
  54. ^ Page 32 of the "Demogeafía de la lengua española". 104,000 according to Britannica Book of the Year 2003
  55. ^ Page 32 of the "Demografía de la lengua española" + 33,913 students according to Anuario Instituto Cervantes 06-07
  56. ^ Page 32 of "Demogeafía de la lengua española"
  57. ^ students according to Anuario Instituto Cervantes 06-07
  58. ^ Between 150,000 and 200,000 in Tinduf ( + 48,000 in Wilaya of Oran (page 31 of Demografía de la lengua española)
  59. ^ 50,000 sefardíes (Britannica Book of the Year 1998)[3] + 80,000 from Iberoamerica [4]
  60. ^ Pages 34, 35 of the "Demografía de la lengua española".
  61. ^ Britannica Book of the Year 1998 [5]
  62. ^
  63. ^ Immigrants from Spanish speaking countries [6]
  64. ^ Page 32 of Demografía de la lengua española
  65. ^ Page 32 of Demografía de la lengua española
  66. ^ 35.4% speak Spanish as a first language
  67. ^
  68. ^ New Zealand census (2006)
  69. ^ Spanish residents in China (INE, 2009)
  70. ^ Page 37 of the Demografía de la lengua española
  71. ^ U.N., 2009
  72. ^ The Spanish 1970 census claims 16.648 Spanish speakers in Western Sahara ( [7]) but probably most of them were people born in Spain who left after the Moroccan annexation
  73. ^ There are 2,397,380 immigrants from Spain and Latin America according to the page 37 of the "Demografía de la lengua española" (997,849 already counted)
  74. ^ According to the Instituto Cervantes, there are 14 million of spanish students. But there are already counted sudents from U.S. (6,000,000) because it is considered the current 7,820,000 students, E.U (3,385,000) because they are considered in the eurobarometer figures (demografía del español (page 37), Brazil (1 mill.) with 11 million new students in the public schools, Morocco (58.382) and Phillippines (20,492), Canada (92,853), Australia (33,913), Ivory Coast (235,806), Switzerland (14,420), Japan (60,000), Senegal (101.455), Occ. Sáhara (25,800), Norway (23,677), Russia (13,122) and China (12,835).
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  82. ^ "Switzerland's Four National Languages". Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
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  89. ^ "Puerto Rico Elevates English". the New York Times. 29 January 1993. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  90. ^ "Population Census 2000, Major Findings" (PDF). Central Statistical Office, Ministry of Budget Management, Belize. 2000. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
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  94. ^ The Secretariat for The Implementation of Spanish, Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  95. ^ Mercosul, Portal Oficial (Portuguese)
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  97. ^ Lipski, John M. (2006) (PDF). Too close for comfort? the genesis of “portuñol/portunhol”. Selected Proceedings of the 8th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. ed. Timothy L. Face and Carol A. Klee, 1–22. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  98. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Hispanic or Latino by specific origin.
  99. ^ U.S. Census Bureau 1. Percent of People 5 Years and Over Who Speak Spanish at Home: 2006, U.S. Census Bureau 2. 34,044,945 People 5 Years and Over Who Speak Spanish at Home: 2006
  100. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (2007). "United States. S1601. Language Spoken at Home". 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
  101. ^ El País (Spanish)
  102. ^ United States Census BureauPDF (1.86 MB), Statistical Abstract of the United States: page 47: Table 47: Languages Spoken at Home by Language: 2003
  103. ^ Harris (1969:538)
  104. ^ Random House Unabridged Dictionary. Random House Inc.. 2006. 
  105. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company. 2006. 
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  111. ^ 3 Guys From Miami: Fruta Bomba
  112. ^ Urban Dictionary: papaya
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  118. ^ Martínez-Celdrán et al. (2003:255)
  119. ^ Cressey (1978:152)
  120. ^ Abercrombie (1967:98)
  121. ^ Eddington (2000:96)
  122. ^ A First Spanish Reader, by Erwin W. Roessler and Alfred Remy


External links

Spanish language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spanish language edition of Wikisource, the free-content library

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