Citizens of Spain speak a number of languages but Spanish (or Castilian) is the country’s official language. This Romance language originated in the Castile region of the nation and is one of the Ibero-Romance languages. Some 75% of modern Spanish is derived from Latin. The Spanish alphabet consists of twenty seven letters which includes the letters of the English alphabet with the addition of the letter ñ. Besides Spanish, various geographical areas in the country are home to a variety of languages which share the status of regional official language. Differing dialects are also prevalent and vary from place to place. Common local dialects throughout Spain include Fala Cantabrian, Extremaduran, Eonavian, and Benasquese,

In terms of language demographics an overwhelming 99% of the nation’s population speaks Spanish either as their first or second language. Other major languages spoken in the country include Catalan (or Valencian) which is spoken by 17% of the people, Galician by 7%, and Basque by 2% of residents. Languages afforded co- official status in the country include Aranese, Basque, Catalan, and Galician.

Some useful phrases in Spanish include the casual “¿Cómo te llamas?” or a more formal “¿Cómo se llama Usted?” which is used when inquiring as to someone’s name. Hello is simply, “¡Hola!” while “where are you from” can be communicated with, “¿De dónde eres?” or the more formal, “¿De dónde es usted?”. A wish for a good morning is “Buenos días” with “Buenas tardes” used in the afternoon and “Buenas noches” at night.

Regional languages spoken in Spain include Basque, Catalan, Balearic, Galician and Occitan as well as other recognized languages such as Aragonese and Asturian. Other minority languages in the country include Cantabrian, Extremaduran, Eonavian, Fala, Portuguese, Iberian Romani, and Riffian Berber. Due to immigration Spain is home to many foreign speakers whose first languages include Arabic, Romanian, English, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Russian.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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