Spanish is a Romance language. Today, there are about 420 million people that use Spanish as their mother tongue, making it second only to the Mandarin in terms of its number of native speakers.
It is spoken in Spain, throughout Latin America – except for Brazil and several smaller countries, in two African countries and even in the Philippines
In the Kingdom of Spain, 19 different languages and dialects are spoken, while 6 of them have official status within various regions (Spanish, Catalan, Aranese, Galician, Basque (Euskera language) and Valencian). Spanish is actually Castilian (castellano), which is the official language of the whole country and, as stipulated by the Spanish constitution, it is the duty of every Spaniard to know the language. Its name is derived from the region named Castile (Castilla), historic centre of which (at the time of Castilian´s origin in the Middle Ages) used to be to the north of Madrid.
Latin American Spanish differs mainly in vocabulary (about 20-30% of words are different), in accent and in pronunciation of certain phonemes. Despite the many differences in pronunciation, Spanish is, considering the area it covers, a remarkably homogenous language. The best known and most numerous variants are Mexican, Argentinian, Colombian and Cuban Spanish. Perhaps the easiest to understand for beginners is the Spanish spoken by Mexicans, who pronounce the words very clearly (we used to have a Mexican teacher and our students loved her), it is a little harder to understand Argentinians. You can check it out if you turn on a soap opera in dual mode. It is a very good and easily accessible tool for repeated listening of vocabulary. In Venga! we do not specialize in Castilian, for us, it is important that our students would be able to communicate anywhere, from Madrid to Tierra del Fuego.
Spanish is a fascinating, though also difficult language. But if you decide to learn it, you won´t regret it. We try to teach our students not only how to communicate, but also all the interesting facts about the culture, traditions and life in Spain and South America. We talk a lot about typical food, everyone must know what a “paella” is or “arepa”, we teach our students how to distinguish salsa from flamenco, how to pack for July vacation in Argentina and what to avoid during vacation in Cuba