With origins in the fall of Rome, and rapid expansion through the conquest of the Americas, the Spanish language traces its history through the rise and fall of great empires. Spanish, along with others like French, Italian and Portuguese, is one of the Romance languages–a family of modern languages with foundations in Latin. Spanish derived many of its rules of grammar and syntax from Latin, and around 75% of Spanish words have Latin roots. The Spanish language has many other influences as well. Several other languages, including Greek, Arabic, and some of the languages of the native cultures of the Americas have contributed words to Spanish in its modern form.
Languages in Spanish emerged as distinct dialects following years of invasion and settlement of the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain and Portugal) throughout the Middle Ages. Parts of Spain were conquered by the Moors from Northern Africa and the Visigoths from Central Europe, and were then gradually reclaimed by Christians who spoke Vulgar Latin. Most scholars agree that modern Spanish was established in a standard written form in the 13th century in the Kingdom of Castile in the Spanish city of Toledo. Today, Castilian Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Spain, with several regional Spanish languages such as Basque and Catalan still spoken in their respective regions.
The Spanish language was brought across the Atlantic to the Americas by Spanish explorers and Conquistadors in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it spread rapidly throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The proliferation of Spanish as an adopted language is evident in the fact that today, Spain, the birthplace of the language, does not have the largest Spanish-speaking population. Both Mexico and Columbia have larger groups of native speakers.
And today, with more than 430 million native speakers in 20 countries, Spanish is truly a world language, and the second most spoken language on the planet after Mandarin Chinese. Spanish is the official language of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and the majority of Central and South America . In the United States, over 45 million people are native or second-language Spanish speakers and make significant cultural contributions to the nation. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the US, and the number of speakers is growing.
Learning basic Spanish allows you to do more than simply translate Spanish into English . By gaining a working proficiency with Spanish you will have the opportunity to make new friends, absorb new cultures and do business with a huge population of people. And since it is a Romance language, learning the Spanish language gives you an advantage in grasping other Romance languages such as French and Italian. For native English speakers living in the United States, Spanish is by far the most valuable second language to learn. As the second most widely spoken language in the world, Spanish has more than 400 million speakers and is the native tongue in 20 different countries. The largest population of Spanish speakers reside in Central and South America, but there is also a considerable number of Spanish speakers, more than 40 million, in the United States. Spanish is also the second most widely spoken language in the US, and there are more Spanish speakers in America than live in Spain. The benefits of learning Spanish are clear–but how does one make time in a busy life to learn an entirely new language?
Learning to pick up some basics in the Spanish language may be relatively easy for beginners. It’s especially easier for those who speak a language like English, French, or Italian. Languages of the same family often share words that are cognates or have similarities because they are derived from the same mother tongue. English words like “red” sound remarkably similar in French (rouge), Italian (rosso), and Spanish (rojo). In addition to familiar-sounding vocabulary, you’ll discover the Spanish language also has a straightforward system of pronunciation, fewer irregularities than many other languages, and an alphabet similar to the English one which can also help make learning the language easier.
Rosetta Stone understands that in order to have success speaking the Spanish language, beginners will need to learn Spanish in context, building naturally towards speaking Spanish phrases and gaining confidence with the pronunciation. That’s why our Spanish language software focuses on an immersion-based learning method called Dynamic Immersion. This methodology teaches words alongside visual and audio cues, helping beginners learn basic conversational phrases in the context of real-world situations.
Our teaching method focuses on pronunciation rather than vocabulary acquisition which is the key to learning to speak the Spanish language with confidence. All too often, language learners may get distracted trying to master long lists of phrases or go through decks of flashcards. This frequently leaves new language learners unable to understand or be understood in actual conversations. That’s why learning to pronounce and understand commonly used phrases in the Spanish language will go a long way towards helping you feel more comfortable engaging with locals.
Additionally, Spanish does have some pronunciation distinctions that can make it a challenge for beginner language learners. One of the most frequently addressed is the rolling of r's, which definitely can take some practice to replicate. Spanish has a trilling sound made by pushing air with your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Some language experts encourage beginners to focus on making the “tt” sound in the word “butter” as a close equivalent.
To hone your pronunciation, you need feedback to make immediate corrections. And you’ll need to practice those corrections until your mouth can get a feel for how to shape the sounds that make up the Spanish language. Rosetta Stone embeds a patented speech recognition engine called TruAccent into every lesson to provide feedback and recommend corrections to align your accent with that of a local speaker. This technology was developed by scanning and integrating the speech of thousands of native Spanish speakers. TruAccent can be a powerful tool in helping you learn to understand and be understood in the Spanish language.
There are many ways to learn to speak Spanish, but practice is essential in any method you use. While you can learn some basic Spanish by setting aside just a few minutes each day, being confident enough to have conversations in Spanish may take longer depending on how much time you have to devote to study and practice.
Here’s how you might incorporate the Spanish language learning into your daily routine.
Searching online and finding a few phrases isn’t too difficult, but is not a particularly effective method for learning to speak Spanish confidently. There is also no feedback on your pronunciation so you may struggle to be understood by native speakers.
Language learning programs such as Rosetta Stone’s award-winning mobile app and software are designed to teach you the Spanish language through immersive methods that combine audio and visual cues with vocabulary acquisition for contextualized learning. With the Rosetta Stone mobile app, you can learn the Spanish language anytime, anywhere with a program that syncs across devices.
Learning Spanish in a classroom is a traditional approach to language learning. However, there is a large time commitment and frequently significant cost. Online learning programs offer ease of engagement and consistency at a fraction of the cost.
Immersing yourself in a language is one of the best ways to accelerate your understanding. You can watch Spanish soap operas with the subtitles turned off, or listen to Spanish music or even podcasts in the car on your commute to work. Hearing the pronunciations and being exposed to the cultural nuances can help you pick up the language more quickly even if you don’t understand all that is being said.
One of the best ways to get a deeper understanding of the language and receive plenty of practice with having conversations is to partner up with someone. Rosetta Stone has an online community of language learners enabling you to find other Spanish speakers to practice with and a new world of conversational opportunities.
Research on learning a language highlights that learning a language is mostly a matter of practice and contextualizing your learning. And this is exactly how Rosetta Stone's Dynamic Immersion® methodology works. Our methodology effectively teaches you how to use the Spanish language in everyday life, which readies you for success and confidence when using your new language.
Having a language learning program that understands the importance of practice and pronunciation is a key component. With our program, brief, 10 minute lessons allow you to fit daily practice easily in your schedule. This allows practice to become a daily habit. When learning a new language, frequency is more important and effective than the length of your sessions. And with the Rosetta Stone mobile app, fitting in your daily practice is more convenient than ever.
Instant feedback on your pronunciation attempts is a critical component to develop the skills to accurately speak the Spanish language. Using our patented TruAccent™ speech-recognition engine, we compare your voice to native speakers and give you immediate feedback on your effort. This real-time feedback allows you to adjust and fine-tune your accent on the spot. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak the Spanish language.
If you follow our program, and continue with the discipline of your daily practice, you’ll be speaking the Spanish language like a native in no time. Our benefits go well beyond Spanish for beginners and are lifelong assets.
It’s time to get you talking . Discover why millions of people have used Rosetta Stone to enjoy learning the Spanish language with confidence.
Surround yourself with Spanish whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.