Learning the Spanish Language During Your Vacation
Spain is the fourth largest country in Europe. Vacationing here means adventure plus pleasure plus a lifetime of fascinating memories to hold on to. Because of the diverse, unique and affordable destinations here, you can experience Spain to the fullest.
What to expect while in Spain? Aside from its rich and colourful history, exciting events and festivities and glorious attractions, you would immediately fall in love with its incredible weather, fabulous Mediterranean surroundings and vibrant nightlife.
But since English is not the primary spoken language here, you may ask yourself if the Spanish you learnt at high school would turn out to be useful for you or not. However, when you visit Spain, you don’t need to worry much about your language fluency. Spain has a large number of immigrants, especially those coming from Latin America. Hence, the locals are used to different accents and variations in their standard language called the “Castellano”. Also known as Castilian Spanish, it is the country’s official language since 1714.
You were probably taught another variation of Spanish which is referred as Romance language and is derived from Latin and Arabic influence. The 13th century marks the start of use of Spanish language and in 15th century, the much acclaimed grammar of Antonio de Nebrija served to spread the Spanish language throughout the vast empire. So if you know the basic Spanish, you may not find much trouble in asking directions for a subway or making your way around asking the locals to help you. Mostly people will understand you.
Other Languages Spoken in Spain
Spanish is not the only language spoken by the Spaniards. Many other languages are also spoken by the locals. Most of these languages have existed even before the evolving of Castilian Spanish. Catalan, Gallego (Galician-Portugese) and Euskera are among the significant ones. Some of the local dialects include Bable (also known as Asturiano), Aranés (derived from languages prevalent in north centre of Aragón, and Extremadura.
Catalan language is more prevalent in Barcelona, some parts of Catalonia, Roussillon region of southern France, L’Alguer city in Sardinia Island, and as a national language in Andorra. It resembles the Occitan and Langue d'Oc more rather than Spanish and is a derivative of Provençal French. Valenciano is a dialect of Catalan and is spoken in the region of Valencia, whereas another dialect, Mallorquín, is spoken in Balearic Islands, which are situated in the eastern side of Barcelona.
In the northwestern part of Spain, Gallego is spoken more often. Its resemblance to Portuguese language is more as compared to the Spanish language.
Euskera is a Basque language and holds great importance in the history of Spain’s linguistics. It has been linked to many other languages such as Japanese, Gaelic, Sanskrit, Finnish, and language spoken in Atlantis. However, all of these linkages have been terms as myths and most acclaimed theory states that Euskera developed from the language of natives in Iberian Peninsula and was the only one to survive in the Basque. Around one million people in Spanish and Basque province speak Euskera today.
In the mountain of Aragón, around 15 different dialects are spoken, collectively called Fablaaragonesa. All these dialects bear more resemblance to the Occitan and Gascon French rather than Spanish language.
Another Spanish dialect, called the Extremaduran, is prevalent in Extremadura.
In the westernmost valley of Catalonia, Occitan or Aranés is mostly spoken. This language has originated from the Gascon French.
Another common language spoken parts of Salamanca, Extremadura, Asturias, León, Cantabria and Zamora, is Asturiano (also called Bable). It is spoken by around 7 lac people of the total population.
Don’t be bothered with the language if you have no time or patience to learn it. Just be polite when engaging locals in a conversation and you would be surprised how warm and caring they could be to tourists and strangers. Immerse yourself with all the wonderful things that are uniquely Spanish and you’ll surely want to revisit it for another time.