Spanish is a Romance language with approximately 417 million speakers, 322 to 358 of whom speak it as a first language, while the remainder speak it as a second language. A significant number of people also speak Spanish as a foreign language. Spanish is spoken in Spain and is the official language of 20 other countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Spanish is also widely spoken in countries such as Andorra, Belize, the Philippines, and the United States.

Spanish first started to appear in writing in the form of notes and glosses in Latin religious texts, the Glosas Emilianenses, dating from the 11th century. During the 12th century, law codes (Fueros) were being translated into Spanish. Spanish prose flowered during the reign of King Alfonso X of Castile (1252-84), who in addition to being the king and a poet, also found time to write an encyclopedia in Spanish called Las Partidas, which contains laws, chronicles, recipes, and rules for hunting, chess, and card games. The first Spanish grammar, by Antonio de Nebrija, and the first dictionaries were published during the 15th and 16th centuries.

In Spain this language is generally called español (Spanish) when contrasting it with languages of other countries, such as French and English, but it is called castellano (Castilian, the language of the Castile region) when contrasting it with other languages spoken in Spain, such as Galician, Basque, and Catalan.

Beginning in the 1400s, Spanish explorers, conquistadors, and colonizers carried their language to Central America, South America, and parts of North America. The Spanish spoken in the Americas differs somewhat from European Spanish today because many words were borrowed from the languages of the indigenous peoples. Most of these words reflect features unique to the new territories, such as proper names, plants and animals, and geographic features. In 1565 Spanish conquerors and explorers established the settlement of Saint Augustine in what is now Florida. It was the first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States. In the 1600s and 1700s Spanish explorations and settlements extended the Spanish language north from Mexico into present-day Arizona, California, Southern Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. When the United States annexed these areas following the Mexican War (1846-1848), many of the region’s Spanish-speaking inhabitants remained, creating a distinct linguistic and cultural population in the Southwestern United States.

Adapted from: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/spanish.htm and http://www.alsintl.com/resources/languages/Spanish/

World Languages Taught at LaSalle II

World Language News

French Exchange Visitors at L2! 

We had the pleasure of hosting exchange students and teachers from Angers, France the last two weeks in October. Sixteen students came from Collège Mongazon to stay with host families at LaSalle II. Since the French students travel back to France the day before Halloween we decided to throw them an American Halloween-themed going away […]

Butterflies in 1st Grade Spanish

First grade students in Spanish room 203 begin the year with La oruga muy hambrienta, also known as The Very Hungry Caterpillar! We read the book and sequence the foods the caterpillar eats according to the days of the week using flip books we create, as well as discuss our own food preferences. We also […]

Good News from Our Chinese Program!

On Saturday, April 21st, Gabrielle D. and Natalie D., two of our Chinese language students, participated in the 10th Midwest Chinese Speech Contest and won two gold medals for LaSalle II. Congratulations to them! Over the past nine years 34 LaSalle II students have participated in the Midwest Chinese speech contest. Gabrielle and Natalie are […]

Students from Spain

Exchange students from Spain spent two weeks in Chicago in March. They had a great opportunity to learn about different cultures by observing classes at school, during their visits to different places in the city and also with their host families. This has been the fourth year that students come from Madrid and now it […]

Learning about Paris

French students recently concluded a unit on Paris by recreating famous monuments with toothpicks and marshmallows. Students presented their completed masterpieces in French to the class by sharing the name, arrondissement, and various activities you can do at each monument! Bravo, les élèves !