Spanish (, '), also called Castilian〔Note that in English, "Castilian" or "Castilian Spanish" may be understood as referring to European Spanish ("Spanish Spanish") to the exclusion of dialects in the New World or to Castilian Spanish to the exclusion of ''any'' other dialect, rather than as a synonym for the entire language.〕 (, ), is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native-speakers across the world.
Spanish is a part of the Ibero-Romance group of languages, which evolved from several dialects of common Latin in Iberia after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. It was first documented in central-northern Iberia in the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia. Beginning in the early 16th century, Spanish was taken to the colonies of the Spanish Empire, most notably to the Americas, as well as territories in Africa, Oceania and the Philippines.
From its beginnings, Spanish vocabulary was influenced by its contact with Basque, as well as by neighboring Ibero-Romance languages, and later it absorbed many Arabic words during the Al-Andalus era in the Iberian Peninsula. It also adopted words from non-Iberian languages, particularly the Romance languages Occitan, French, Italian and Sardinian, as well as from Nahuatl and other Indigenous languages of the Americas.
Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and it is used as an official language by the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the Union of South American Nations, among many other international organizations.
== Estimated number of speakers ==
It is estimated that more than 400 million people speak Spanish as a native language, which qualifies it as second on the lists of languages by number of native speakers.〔http://www.ethnologue.com/statistics/size〕 There are an estimated 470 million Spanish speakers with native competence and 559 million Spanish speakers as a first or second language, including speakers with limited competence and more than 21 million students of Spanish as a foreign language.〔(Cervantes.es ) - Instituto Cervantes (2015)〕 It is the third language by total speakers behind Mandarin and English.〔Ethnologue: (Mandarin ) 1026 mill. (848 mill. L1 + 178 mill. L2), (English ) 840 mill. (335 mill. L1 + 505 mill. L2), (Spanish ) 488 mill. (399 mill. L1 + 89,5 mill. L2), (Hindi ) 380 mill. (260 mill. L1 + 120 mill. L2)〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=KryssTal : The 30 Most Spoken Languages in the World )〕〔George Weber, 1997: Mandarin 1,120 mill., English 480 mill., Spanish 320 mill., Russian 285 mill., French 265 mill., Hindi 250 mill. ((ignatius.edu )).〕〔Instituto Cervantes: ((cervantes.es ), ( ''El País'' ))〕
Spanish is the official or national language in Spain, Equatorial Guinea, and 19 countries in the Americas. Speakers in the Western Hemisphere total some 418 million. In the European Union, Spanish is the mother tongue of 8% of the population, with an additional 7% speaking it as a second language.〔http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_386_en.pdf〕 Spanish is the most popular second language learned in the United States. In 2011 it was estimated by the American Community Survey that of the 55 million Hispanic United States residents who are five years of age and over, 38 million speak Spanish at home.〔http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/〕
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