Start learning a new language today

See our special offers

The History of the Spanish Language | Rosetta Stone®

What is the history of the Spanish Language? What's fastest way to understand Spanish? Use Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish quickly.


Spanish Language

With origins in the fall of the 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 derives 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.

Basic Spanish Language

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. The benefits of learning Spanish are clear–but how does one make time in a busy life to learn an entirely new language?


Learn basic Spanish with Rosetta Stone.

Buy Now!