Home Spanish Language Languages in Spain: How Many Languages Are Spoken in Spain?

Languages in Spain: How Many Languages Are Spoken in Spain?

Languages in Spain: How Many Languages Are Spoken in Spain?


Have you ever ever questioned in regards to the languages in Spain? It’s possible you’ll be shocked to study that folks in Spain communicate extra than simply Spanish. 

That’s proper!  

Individuals in Spain communicate primarily 4 languages, and so they’re all obtainable in numerous components of the nation: Castilian (generally known as Spanish), Euskera, Galician, and Catalan. 

Loopy, huh? 

So, let’s study in regards to the origins of those languages, the place they’re spoken, how many individuals communicate them right this moment, and far more. 

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The Primary Languages of Spain

Earlier than diving into these distinctive languages, let’s get one factor straight. These languages are, in truth, official languages and never dialects.

Merely put, languages are the official ways in which individuals in a rustic or neighborhood discuss to one another. Dialects, however, are smaller components of a language which might be spoken by a sure group of individuals or in a sure space. Accents are sometimes a great way to inform a dialect aside. 

We will consider language because the broader umbrella time period below which numerous dialects of a language fall. 

Right here’s an instance. Language: English. Dialect: British English. 

Now that we bought that out, let’s dive into some factors of curiosity in regards to the 4 official languages spoken in Spain.

Castilian or Spanish

No shock right here. Spain’s main language is Castilian Spanish. 

99% of Spaniards communicate Spanish. It’s generally utilized in faculties, media, TV, leisure, music, and authorities web sites. 

If you realize Spanish, you may survive and even thrive in Spain! 

In the present day, there are over 43.64 million Spanish audio system in Spain. 

Historical past of Castilian Spanish:

The time period “Castilian Spanish” refers back to the Spanish spoken on the Iberian peninsula. It’s the oldest type of the Spanish language. 

It’s possible you’ll know that there are over 450 million native Spanish audio system worldwide, however do you know that Castilian Spanish really started as a dialect within the northern a part of Spain?

Within the thirteenth century, King Alfonso X dominated the areas of Castile, Leon, and Galicia in Spain. 

He held most of his political energy within the area of Castile and determined to make Castilian the official language of the courtroom and state.

Additionally, there was one other push for Castilian Spanish throughout The Reconquista interval. 

After the Moors from Northern Africa have been pushed out of Spain, Castilian Spanish gained momentum by way of literature. For instance, King Alfonso X established tutorial scribes in Castilian, cementing the language’s place within the area and, dare we are saying, the world. 

The Castilian Spanish Language

Spanish audio system can work together and perceive one another worldwide. However Castilian Spanish and the Spanish spoken in Latin America aren’t the identical in a whole lot of necessary methods. Essentially the most notable distinction is the ceceo

Let’s have a look. 

The letters “c” and “z” are pronounced the identical because the letter “s” in Latin American Spanish. In Spain, nonetheless, they’re pronounced equally to how English audio system pronounce the “th” sound. 

That is how the Spanish “lisp,” which isn’t really a lisp, got here to be. 

In Spain, it’s additionally extra frequent to make use of the casual plural “vosotros” somewhat than the formal “ustedes.” 

A Castilian Spanish speaker might say, “¿Qué quereis comer?” as a substitute of “¿Qué quieren comer?

Castilian Spanish additionally has fairly just a few colloquial expressions. You might have heard a few of them, like “Vale” which implies “Okay,” or “Guay” which individuals in Spain use to explain one thing “Cool.” 


Catalonia is one other fashionable area in Spain. However do you know the locals have had their very own language for hundreds of years? 

There are roughly 9 million Catalan audio system throughout areas of Spain, France, and even Italy. 

In Spain, you’ll find over 8 million of them in Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Murcia, and Valencia.

However let’s have a look at its historical past. 

Historical past of Catalan

Catalan is a Romance language that, like Spanish, has its roots in Vulgar Latin. 

It comes from the Pyrenees Mountains, that are between France and Spain. It was first written down within the twelfth century.

So, yeah, it’s even older than Castilian Spanish! 

Catalan was the official language of the Catalonia area till Spain’s Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand, and Isabella, united Aragón and Castile and made Castilian the official language.

Though Catalan has existed for the reason that daybreak of Spain, native audio system haven’t at all times been free to make use of it.

Catalan was banned in faculties, books, newspapers, and magazines through the Spanish Civil Conflict, the late Thirties, and Franco’s rule. Individuals weren’t even allowed to make use of it in public, with associates or household. 

Are you able to consider it? Simply think about going out together with your kids and being punished for talking in your mom tongue! 

However that’s not all! 

Highway indicators and ads in Catalan have been all modified to Spanish, and any judicial paperwork in Catalan have been declared invalid.

After Franco’s dictatorship led to 1975, Catalan-speaking areas regained their proper to talk Catalan and saved it alive for future generations. 

The Catalan Language

A standard false impression is that Catalan is a dialect of Spanish. This might not be extra incorrect, as Catalan is an official language that, in some methods, is extra much like French than Spanish.

Let’s have a look at a few frequent phrases.

  • Howdy –  Bon dia 
  • How are you – Com estàs 
  • I’m properly – Estic bé
  • Thanks – Gràcies
  • Goodbye – Adèu 

Euskera, A Basque Language

You is perhaps shocked to study that the oldest residing language in Europe continues to be spoken within the north of Spain and that it’s even older than Castilian Spanish! 

Roughly 37% of the Basque individuals nonetheless communicate Euskera, which rounds as much as a million audio system. They dwell on each side of the Pyrenees, and most Euskera audio system dwell on the Spanish aspect. 

Regardless of estimates that declare that 60% of Basque residents will communicate Euskera in 2036, in 2010, UNESCO gave the language official “susceptible” standing. 

Historical past of Euskera 

Euskera is distinct from different Spanish-speaking languages in that it has no linguistic family. It’s a language by itself, with no recognized Indo-European roots or ties to every other language teams. Cool, huh? 

There are, nonetheless, theories concerning the origins of the language.

Some linguists consider Euskera and Iberian (now a useless language) have been as soon as the identical or developed from the identical language. Others level to cave drawings found within the Basque Nation round 14,000 years in the past as proof that the language has existed since then. 

Very like Catalan, and different minority languages in Spain, Euskera was closely persecuted through the Spanish Civil Conflict and the Franco dictatorship. 

Euskera audio system right this moment have recollections of attending secret church companies within the Basque language. 

Others recall when relations have been arrested for talking Euskera through the warfare.

Though individuals tried to kill off the Basque language, it saved happening because it had for 1000’s of years. 

The Euskera Language

Should you journey north of the Basque Nation, you’ll come throughout cities like San Sebastian and Bilbao, the place you may hear an odd language that sounds nothing like something you’ve ever heard earlier than.

Such is Euskera. 

The Basque language has a unusual pronunciation. For instance, the letters “tx” make the “ch” sound, whereas “tt” is much like the “c” sound in Spanish, and “x” feels like “sh.”

Listed below are some frequent phrases you’ll hear up north:

  • Howdy – Kaixo 
  • Goodbye – Agur
  • Thanks – Eskerrik asko
  • How are you? – Zer moduz?


Lastly, we carry our consideration to Portuguese’s sister language: Galician. 

Within the northwestern area of Spain, you’ll find lovely fishing cities, plenty of octopus, and practically 4 million locals chatting in Galician.

If you realize any Portuguese, you’ll probably have a comparatively simple time understanding Galician, as there may be a whole lot of overlap in its sounds and phrase constructions. 

Historical past of Galician

Galician, like Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan, belongs to the Western Ibero-Romance language household. It originated within the Roman province of Gallaecia and was the official language of the Kingdom of Galicia till the fifteenth century when Castilian Spanish changed it. 

Galician stayed within the again seat till across the nineteenth century, when there was a revival, and Galician audio system tried to unfold the language as soon as extra. Throughout this era, intellectuals revealed literature, analysis papers, and journalistic articles in Galician.

This resurgence lasted till the twentieth century when the language was additionally outlawed through the Spanish Civil Conflict and the Franco dictatorship. Sure, yet one more banned language.

Nevertheless, not like many languages, Galician prevailed by way of its years of persecution. 

There are a whole lot of issues happening right this moment to assist youthful individuals respect Galician.

The Galician Language

Galician writers like lvaro Cunqueiro, whose headstone reads, “Right here lies somebody who, together with his work, made Galicia final a thousand extra springs,” could be happy to know that Galician is now taught at dwelling and in faculties.

Listed below are some Galician phrases individuals may need to know:

  • Welcome – Benvido/Benvida
  • How are you? – Que tal estás?
  • I’m properly, thanks – Moi ben, grazas
  • What’s your identify? – Como te chamas?
  • I’m from … – Eu son de …

Be taught Spanish In the present day 

Keep in mind what we stated earlier? If you realize Spanish, you may survive and even thrive in Spain! Do you need to go to the La Tomatina Competition? Maybe you’re a soccer fan and need to go see El Clásico. Effectively, in that case, you may want some Spanish classes.

However once more, there are over 450 million Spanish audio system worldwide. So, if you realize Spanish, it’s also possible to journey throughout Latin America! 

So, please think about signing up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy. 

Our native-speaking instructors will allow you to communicate Spanish out of your very firstclass, and so they’re specialists in offering student-tailored Spanish applications for learner-specific language objectives. We’ll be ready for you! 

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