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About Spanish

Spanish, also called Castilian, is a Romance Language which originated in the Castile region of Spain, evolving from several dialects of common Latin in Iberia after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century. Spanish was also greatly influenced by and adopted many words from Arabic during the Muslim conquest of Spain in 711. Spanish was taken to the colonies of the Spanish Empire in the sixteenth century, most notably to the Americas as well as territories in Africa, Oceania and the Phillippines. Today approximately 548 million people speak Spanish as a native language, making it second only to Mandarin in terms of its number of native speakers worldwide, being spoken from the tip of Patagonia to as far north as Canada.

There have been many famous Spanish painters over the years, from Goya in 18th century, to more recent abstract painters such as Salvador Dali, Picasso and Miro. The Spanish architect Gaudi is also well known, with many of his works visible in Barcelona today, not least the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. Spanish folk music is known all over the world, although there are also some famous classical composers, e.g. Albéniz, Granados, de Falla and lastly Rodrigo who composed the famous Concerto de Aranjuez.

The entries in the four sections of Frazebook for Spanish give, as with the other languages, some basic greetings in Spanish, taking things further, buying some simple foods and numbers. It is worth noting that Spanish uses different forms depending on whether or not you are talking to someone you know well - the formal forms, e.g. '¿Cómo está usted?' are used to be polite when you don't know someone well, with informal forms, e.g. '¿Qué tal?' only used when you know someone well, the general rule being 'usted' for polite and 'tu' for informal. Like French and other Latin rooted languages it is worth remembering that Spanish has two genders, i.e. two words for 'a' and 'the' which need to be learnt for each word.

The phrases given in Frazebook are just a start of course. We hope that you will enjoy learning them if you plan to visit Spain or any of the countries that speak Spanish and that they may be the start of learning the language in more depth as time goes by.