Spanish in the world
Spanish Language in Usa

Spanish is the second spoken language in the United States after English. Actually there are 13.4% US Hispanics and Spanish is spoken by 30 million native citizens of the United States aged over 5, that corresponds to 12% of the population. For this reason in the USA lives the fifth largest Spanish-speaking community in the world, after Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina. Although New Mexico is the only State where Spanish figures as a co-official language, Spanish is the second most spoken idiom in 43 States and in the District of Columbia.

This phenomenon finds obviously its historic roots in the consequences of the Mexican and Spanish colonial eras and expeditions, especially in the South-West. Because of this, many places in the country have Spanish names,

e.g. States:
  • Colorado = Colored Red
  • Montana --> Montaña = Mountain
  • California = from the name of an imaginary island in “Las Sergas de Esplandían”, a popular Spanish chivalry novel.

e.g. Cities:
  • Las Vegas = the fertile lowlands
  • San Francisco = Saint Francis
  • Palo Alto = High Tree

e.g Streets and Roads:
  • El Camino Real = The Royal Road
  • Avenida de las Pulgas = Avenue of the Fleas
  • Santa Monica Boulevard = from (Avenida) Santa Mónica: Saint Monica (Boulevard)

There are 6 different varieties of American Spanish, depending on the geographical area we want to analyze. In all varieties, however, the influence of English is very important. Some words which can be show some differences between the Castilian and the American Spanish vocabulary are:

American Spanish Castilian
Regresar Devolver un objeto
Regresarse Volver; regresar
Aplicar Solicitar; postular (from apply)
Harto Muy; mucho (from hard)
Rentar Alquilar, arrendar (from rent)

On the other hand, some words have entered standard American English from Spanish.

From the modern mixture between English and Spanish and mutual influences because of social and cultural relationship of the two languages especially in the States, a new modality of expression has born: Spanglish. This phenomenon is developping especially in the United States and finds its roots in the migrations of Hispanic people from Portorico and Mexico. There are different varieties and different reasons for speaking Spanglish. Sometimes it is used by Amerian or English speaking people in order to be better unsterstood by the Latin community; others used it to vndicate their Hispanic proud; finally, there are groups that speak Spanglish to resist to the homologation with the American culture.