They may have been beaten back by the English in 1588, but that didn’t stop the Spanish marching around the world, taking their beautiful language with them.
As professional translators, we work in Spanish almost every day, which made us wonder: How did this colourful expressive language travel the length and breadth of the globe?
America’s First Language
In America today there is a lot of pressure to recognize English as the official language, and more than a small amount of resentment at the continued popularity of the Spanish. But why do Spanish roots run so deep in the US? Is it because the majority of their closest neighbours are Spanish-speakers?
In fact English is the newcomer to America as Spanish-speakers colonized the land first. Need some hard evidence? Just take a look at the names: Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego. We could go on, but it’s easier if you grab a map of the West coast and check out the names for yourself.
Following the ‘discovery’ of the Americas by Christopher Colombus, Europeans swiftly colonized both North and South America, bringing with them the Spanish language.
In the 16th century the Franciscans and Jesuits wanted to spread Catholicism throughout the Americas. They established schools for the purpose of religious instruction and conducted the lessons in Spanish. In this way, as Catholicism spread, so did Spanish. Instead of competing with local languages, over time Spanish merged with them, creating regional dialects unique to South America. This is why there are slight variations between the Spanish spoken in Europe and the Spanish used in South America.
Popularity As A Second Language
In more than ten percent of American homes Spanish is the primary language. This makes it a very popular option as a second language. There’s plenty of people to practice with, tutors available, literature to read. Imagine trying to find a Ukrainian tutor in your neighbourhood. Now picture trying to learn Spanish. The second option looks a lot easier doesn’t it?
And there’s another reason learning Spanish is popular. It’s pretty easy. Obviously learning any new language takes skill, practice, dedication and plenty of brain power. Just ask any of our highly talented translators and they will tell you how amazing you must be to be able to speak multiple languages (potentially that are bragging). But what makes Spanish that bit easier to learn than other languages is its a phonetic language. Just say what you see. If you sound out the word as it appears in front of you, another Spanish speaker will most likely be able to understand you, and you will be pulling off a reasonable Spanish accent too.
Whatever your translation needs, Spanish, or otherwise, Teck Translations are happy to help. Contact us today to find out how our professional translation and language localisation services can help you reach new markets and trade with international suppliers.