Spanish Radio - español radio
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In 1999 there were, according to Ethnologue, 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million speakers worldwide. Currently these figures are up to 400 and 500 million people respectively. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and is used as an official language by the European Union and Mercosur.
Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of spoken Latin in central-northern Iberia around the ninth century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile (present northern Spain) into central and southern Iberia during the later Middle Ages. Early in its history, the Spanish vocabulary was enriched by its contact with Basque and Arabic, and the language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as developing new words. Spanish was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia-Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade.
Due to its increasing presence in the demographics and popular culture of the United States, particularly in the fast-growing states of the Sun Belt, Spanish is the most popular second language learned by native speakers of American English. The increasing political stability and economies of many larger Hispanophone nations, the language's immense geographic extent in Latin America and Europe for tourism, and the growing popularity of warmer, more affordable, and culturally vibrant retirement destinations found in the Hispanic world have contributed significantly to the growth of learning Spanish as a foreign language across the globe.
Spanish is the third most commonly used language on the Internet after English and Mandarin. It is also the second most studied language and second language in international communication, after English, in the world.
The Spanish Royal Academy, on the other hand, currently uses the term español in its publications but from 1713 to 1923 called the language castellano.
Two etymologies for español have been suggested. The Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary derives the term from the Provençal word espaignol, and that in turn from the Medieval Latin word Hispaniolus, 'from—or pertaining to—Hispania'. Other authorities attribute it to a supposed medieval Latin *hispaniōne, with the same meaning. The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas (a language guide published by the Spanish Royal Academy) states that, although the Spanish Royal Academy prefers to use the term español in its publications when referring to the Spanish language, both terms, español and castellano, are regarded as synonymous and equally valid.
The name castellano is preferred in all of Spanish-speaking South America except Colombia. The term español is more commonly used to refer to the language as a whole when relating to a global context.
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