- Over 400 million people speak Spanish - It is the second most spoken language in the world, after Chinese.
- There are 21 countries in which Spanish is one of the official languages, across Europe, Central, South and North America, and Africa.
- Spanish is a poetic language with long sentences - it is very detailed and expressive. Translating from English into Spanish implies expanding the text up to 25%. For instance, the sentence "en el sentido de las agujas del reloj" is explained with the word clockwise in English, as it literally means “in the direction of the needles of the clock”.
- Spanish is over 1000 years old - The first text of written Spanish was found to be in the 10th century and it consisted of medieval documents called Cartularies of Valpuesta from the Burgos province.
- The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) is in charge of the language - it’s located in Madrid and has various language academies in association with other academies that speak Spanish. It was established in the 18th century and has since then published dictionaries and grammar books adopted by many countries. It is responsible for introducing the letter ñ and the use of inverted question and exclamation marks, which is unique to the Spanish language.
- Spanish has Latin origins and is classified as a Romance language, alongside Catalan, Italian, French, Romanian and Portuguese. These are a group of languages related to Vulgar Latin.
- Castellano or Spanish is the main language in Spain, but it’s not the only one - there are different regional languages such as Catalan in Cataluña and Basque in País Vasco. You should not allude to them as being dialects since people could get offended, especially if they speak any of those languages.
- With 7.82 syllables per second, Spanish is the second-fastest language after Japanese (7.84 syllables per second). That's pretty impressive...
These facts can make interesting conversation starters, so if you ever find yourself in a group of Spanish people, you might tell them something they didn’t know about their native language!