What fun facts about the Spanish language do you know? You probably don’t know that Spanish is one of the best and most important languages to know, if you’re thinking about travelling around the world.
And probably, you won’t be able to be sure how many words the Spanish language has, or more importantly, how many words do we need to learn to be able to communicate successfully?
Have fun discovering these and other fun facts about Spanish that even many native Spanish speakers are unaware of! Surprise your friends, family and even your Spanish teacher with fascinating facts about the Spanish language.
Fun places to speak Spanish
For me, I love learning languages! I like to know more about its structure, practice its pronunciation and learn new words. But I also like to do some research on the peculiarities of languages and their relationship with the cultures and societies that speak them.
In fact, the other day I was talking with my friend Roberto about the importance of understanding languages. Roberto loves to travel and whenever he can, he packs his backpack and leaves to discover the world. Apparently, what he likes the most is that he can speak Spanish in almost any corner of the world.
Yes, although it may seem incredible, the truth is that Spanish is present across all continents.
In America, it is the official language in many countries, especially in Central and South America. But we cannot forget the United States, which is expected to become the second Spanish-speaking country in the world in the coming decades, after Mexico.
In Europe, it is largely spoken in Spain. And a little further south, in Africa, it is spoken in Morocco and also in Equatorial Guinea.
In Asia, we find Spanish in the Philippines. In Oceania, Spanish is spoken on Easter Island (Chile).
Surprisingly, we can find Spanish present even in Antarctica, since both in Fortín Sargento Cabral (Argentina) and in Villa La Estrella (Chile) Spanish is also spoken.
So if you like to travel… learning Spanish is a great idea! You can use Spanish on any continent.
1. Fun words in Spanish
However, where to start? Did you know that Spanish has 93,000 words (DRAE, 2014). Although they may seem like a lot to you, they are still very far from the more than 600,000 that English has (OED, 2021).
If we take into account the different forms and uses of the same word, things get complicated and we can express up to 200,000 different concepts.
But don’t worry, not even a native Spanish speaker knows all the words. According to experts, knowing and using the 800 words that appear most frequently in a language (active vocabulary) and recognising and understanding an additional 1000 words, even if you don’t use them (passive vocabulary), you can express yourself in most situations.
So you see, learning Spanish is an easily achievable challenge!
However, if you want to watch movies, series or read books written by Hispanic authors, you will need to increase your vocabulary a bit.
Continuing with the fun facts related to words, we cannot forget about “palíndromos”. That is, words that are read the same from left to right and from right to left, such as: Ana (Anna), ojo (eye), somos (we are), reconocer (recognise) … Do you know other words with this characteristic?
Did you know that there are words that contain all vowels? For example: murciélago (bat), ayuntamiento (town hall) , educación (education)…. Do you know any other examples?
As you can see, in Spanish we have many particular words, but we also have particular letters.
2. The Ñ. The most particular letter of all…. And the most typical Spanish
The “ñ” is the fifteenth letter of the Spanish alphabet. This letter was born from the need to represent a new sound that did not exist in Latin. In French and Italian they used “gn”, in Portuguese they used “nh” and in Catalan they used “ny”. In Spanish they used “nn”, but to make it easier they usually wrote an n with a stick on top. Thus was born the letter “ñ”.
Although we all like to feel special, the truth is that the letter ñ is not exclusive to the Spanish language. It is also used in other languages such as Galician language (Spain), Basque language (Spain), Quechua (Peru) or Tagalog (Philippines).
In Spain we have a reputation for taking things easy. Our siesta is famous all over the world, but our language likes to run.
Did you know that Spanish, along with Japanese, is the fastest language in the world?
The speed of a language is based on the number of syllables a person pronounces per minute, and in Spanish we take the gold medal.
So don’t worry if you don’t understand everything we say at first. It is normal. We are champions speaking fast. You just have to say:
“Please, can you speak more slowly?”
Did you enjoy these fun facts about the Spanish language? Did you find them surprising? Are you intrigued by them and want to find out more?
If you are one of those who wants to learn more or improve your knowledge of Spanish, at Your Spanish Hub we help you to do so.
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If you are still not sure, book a trial lesson with one of our native teachers and try our method. We are waiting for you!