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 Culture & Traditions

El Español: The History of the Spanish Language


The Spaniards conquered all these great indigenous civilizations, and thus, through the Conquest, these territories became Spanish colonies. It was the monks who were in charge of teaching the new Catholic religion and the new language. Soon the Spanish language was spoken in a large part of America.


The Spanish language was also enriched with many words of native origin such as chocolate,  chocolate, jitomate, tomato, and papa, potato.


During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spanish orthography and pronunciation were consolidated.


Spanish became the major diplomatic language until the eighteenth century.

As with geographic diversity, Spanish is spoken in different ways in the Hispanic countries, just as there are differences between American and British English. For example, potato or papa in Mexico, is patata in Spain.


However, the spelling of the written words in Spanish does not change from place to place, in contrast to English, in which certain words are written differently in the United States and in Great Britain.


This is because the Spanish language has a directing body called the Real Academia de la Lengua Espanola, or Royal Academy of the Spanish Language. This body establishes spelling rules and records new words that appear in the language. The Academy was founded in Madrid in 1713.

All the Spanish-speaking countries have Academies of the language that come under the Academy in Madrid.



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