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External History Of Spanish Language

By Author: Communiqua
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External history of Spanish language

The standard Spanish language is also called Castilian in its original variant and in order to distinguish with other languages native to parts of Spain, such as Galician, Catalan, Basque, etc. In its earliest documented form, and up through approximately the 15th century, the language is customarily called Old Spanish. From approximately the 16th century on, it is called Modern Spanish. Spanish of the 16th and 17th centuries is sometimes called "classical" Spanish, referring to the literary accomplishments of that period. Unlike English and French, it is not customary to speak of a "middle" stage in the development of Spanish.

Origins

Castilian Spanish originated, after the decline of the Roman Empire, as a continuation of spoken Latin in several areas of northern and central Spain. Eventually, the variety spoken in the city of Toledo around the 13th century became the basis for the written standard. With the Reconquista, this northern dialect spread to the south, where it almost entirely replaced or absorbed the local Romance dialects, at the same time as it borrowed many words from Moorish Arabic and was influenced by Mozarabic (the Romance speech of Christians living in Moorish territory) and medieval Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino). These languages had vanished in the Iberian Peninsula by the late 16th century. Communiqua is one of the leading center for learning spanish classes in Chennai.

The prestige of Castile and its spanish language was propagated partly by the exploits of Castilian heroes in the battles of the Reconquista—among them Fernán González and Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (El Cid)—and by the narrative poems about them that were recited in Castilian even outside the original territory of that dialect.

The "first written Spanish" was traditionally considered to have appeared in the Glosas Emilianenses. These are "glosses" added between the lines of a manuscript that was written earlier in Latin. Nowadays the language of the Glosas Emilianenses is considered to be closer to the Navarro-Aragonese language than to Spanish proper. Estimates of their date vary from the late 10th to the early 11th century.

The first steps toward standardization of written Castilian were taken in the 13th century by King Alfonso X of Castile, known as Alfonso el Sabio (Alfonso the Wise), in his court in Toledo. He assembled scribes at his court and supervised their writing, in Castilian, of extensive works on history, astronomy, law, and other fields of knowledge.

Antonio de Nebrija wrote the first grammar of Spanish, Gramática de la lengua castellana, and presented it, in 1492, to Queen Isabella, who is said to have had an early appreciation of the usefulness of the language as a tool of hegemony, as if anticipating the empire that was about to be founded with the voyages of Columbus.

Because Old Spanish resembles the modern written language to a relatively high degree, a reader of Modern Spanish can learn to read medieval documents without much difficulty.

The Spanish Royal Academy was founded in 1713, largely with the purpose of standardizing the language. The Academy published its first dictionary in six volumes over the period 1726–1739, and its first grammar in 1771, and it continues to produce new editions of both from time to time. Today, each of the Spanish-speaking countries has an analogous language academy, and an Association of Spanish Language Academies was created in 1951.

The Americas

Beginning in the 16th century, Spanish colonization brought the language to the Americas (Mexico, Central America, and western and southern South America), where it is spoken today, as well as to several island groups in the Pacific where it is no longer spoken by any large numbers of people: the Philippines, Palau, the Marianas (including Guam), and what is today the Federated States of Micronesia.

Use of the language in the Americas was continued by descendants of the Spaniards, both by Spanish criollos and by the Amerindian majority. After the wars of independence fought by these colonies in the 19th century, the new ruling elites extended their Spanish to the whole population to strengthen national unity, and nowadays it is the first and official language of the resulting republics, except in very isolated parts of the former Spanish colonies.

In the late 19th century, the still-Spanish colonies of Cuba and Puerto Rico encouraged more immigrants from Spain, and similarly other Spanish-speaking countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, and to a lesser extent Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela, attracted waves of European immigration, Spanish and non-Spanish, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There, the countries' large (or sizable minority) population groups of second- and third-generation descendants adopted the Spanish language as part of their governments' official assimilation policies to include Europeans. In some countries, they had to be Catholics and agreed to take an oath of allegiance to their chosen nation's government.

When Puerto Rico became a possession of the United States as a consequence of the Spanish–American War, its population—almost entirely of Spanish and mixed Afro-Caribbean/Spanish descent—retained its inherited Spanish language as a mother tongue, in co-existence with the American-imposed English as co-official. In the 20th century, more than a million Puerto Ricans migrated to the mainland U.S.

A similar situation occurred in the American Southwest, including California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, where Spaniards, then criollos (Tejanos, Californios, etc.) followed by Chicanos (Mexican Americans) and later Mexican immigrants, kept the Spanish language alive before, during and after the American appropriation of those territories following the Mexican–American War. Spanish continues to be used by millions of citizens and immigrants to the United States from Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas (for example, many Cubans arrived in Miami, Florida, beginning with the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and followed by other Latin American groups; the local majority is now Spanish-speaking). Spanish is now treated as the country's "second language," and over 5 percent of the U.S. population are Spanish-speaking, people.

Africa

The presence of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea dates from the late 18th century, and it was adopted as the official language when independence was granted in 1968.

Spanish is widely spoken in Western Sahara, which was a protectorate/colony of Spain from the 1880s to the 1970s.

Judeo-Spanish

In 1492 Spain expelled its Jewish population. Their Judaeo-Spanish language, called Ladino, developed along its own lines and continues to be spoken by a dwindling number of speakers, mainly in Israel, Turkey, and Greece.

In the Pacific

In the Marianas, the Spanish language was retained until the Pacific War, but is no longer spoken there by any significant number of people.

Spain

Language politics in Francoist Spain declared Spanish as the only official language in Spain, and to this day it is the most widely used language in government, business, public education, the workplace, cultural arts, and the media. But in the 1960s and 1970s, the Spanish parliament agreed to allow provinces to use, speak, and print official documents in three other languages: Catalan for Catalonia, Balearic Islands and Valencia; Basque for the Basque provinces and Navarre, and Galician for Galicia. Since 1975, following the death of Franco, Spain has become a multi-party democracy and decentralized country, constituted in autonomous communities. Under this system, some languages of Spain—such as Aranese, Basque, Catalan/Valencian, and Galician—have gained co-official status in their respective geographical areas. Others—such as Aragonese, Asturian and Leonese—have been recognized by regional governments.

International projection

When the United Nations organization was founded in 1945, Spanish was designated one of its five official languages (along with Chinese, English, French, and Russian; a sixth language, Arabic, was added in 1973).

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