7 Interesting facts about the spanish language

In2Spanish » 7 Interesting facts about the spanish language

1. How many people speak Spanish in the world?

Around 400 million people speak Spanish worldwide. 

2. How many countries speak Spanish?

According to the Cervantes Institute the Spanish-speaking world is distributed in Spain and Latin America. 19 countries of the American world have Spanish as the official language. Mexico is the leader with more 112 million people.

3. How the Spanish language reached Latin America from Spain?

The Spanish language first reached the Caribbean islands in 1492, then it spread rapidly throughout America with settlers mainly from Andalusia and Extremadura.

4. Is it an economic advantage in the labor market to be bilingual English-Spanish in the United States?

Recent studies have established that mastery of Spanish in the US labor market means an average of between US $ 7,000 and US $ 8,000 more in the annual gross salary.

5. Are there differences between Spanish in Spain and in Latin America?

There are some differences between the Spanish of Spain and the Spanish spoken in Latin America. There are also differences between the types of Spanish spoken in different parts of Latin America. And in different parts of Spain!

The main differences between Spain Spanish and Latin American Spanish are:

Vosotros / Ustedes

Spaniards use the word ‘vosotros’ (you – plural) to refer a group of people in a casual way. For instance, when speaking to a group of friends in Spain you might say ‘Vosotros sois primos.’ Whereas in Latin America you would say ‘Ustedes son primos.’ (You all are cousins).

Past perfect / Simple past

In European/Castilian Spanish it’s more common to hear people using the past perfect tense when describing recent actions, for example, ‘Me ha esperado en casa’ (He has waited). However, in Latin America, the simple past tense is preferred in these kinds of situations, so it would be ‘Me quedé en casa hoy’.

6. Many Spanish words have Arabic roots

About 4,000 words in the Spanish language are of Arab origin. The greatest linguistic influence of Arabic is lexical. Some 8% of Spanish vocabulary is of Arabic origin. Gibraltar comes from jabal Tariq, meaning ‘mountain of Tariq’ and named after the Muslim general who led the attacks on the peninsula. Another Arabic-origin word regarding currency,  such as alcancía (‘money-box’) from al-kanz (‘the treasure’). Words related with food such as albóndiga (‘meatball’) from al-bunduqah. Finally, and probably most well-known expression is ¡Ojalá!, which is derived from the phrase law šá lláh, meaning “if Allah wills [it]”. 

7. US now has more Spanish speakers than Spain – only Mexico has more

According to The Instituto Cervantes, The United States is the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico.

The report says there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus a further 11.6 million who are bilingual, mainly the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants. This puts the US ahead of Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million) and second only to Mexico (121 million).


  1. FIDESCU. Las Lenguas de Latinoamérica: Español, Portugués y Lenguas Indígenas. Retrieved from http://www.fidescu.org/fidescu/centros-examinadores-autorizados?catid=0&id=146 Published: January 23,2013. Accessed November 4, 2019.  
  2. Government of Gibraltar. (n.d.). History. Retrieved from http://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/history
  3. Quintana, Lucía & Juan Pablo Mora. (Oct. 2002). Enseñanza del acervo léxico árabe de la lengua española. XIII Congreso Internacional de ASELE. Retrieved from http://cvc.cervantes.es/ensenanza/biblioteca_ele/asele/asele_xiii.htm
  4. Lillo, Elena Toro. (n.d.). La invasión árabe. Los árabes y el elemento árabe en español. Biblioteca Virtual, Miguel de Cervantes. Retrieved from http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/SirveObras/scclng/01350531966682286190680/