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

8th Grade Spanish and French Art Gallery Walk!

After exploring artists and styles of both French Impressionism and Spanish Cubism, students were challenged to select a local or global theme and demonstrate it through their own artwork. Students selected themes ranging from: pollution, climate change, poaching, domestic violence, depression, religious intolerance and many more. Students presented their artwork in the target language to […]

Seal of Biliteracy

CPS is the first district in Illinois to create a CPS Seal of Biliteracy Pathway award to recognize exemplary 5th and 8th graders who are studying world language or enrolled in Dual Language programs- providing students with comprehensive programming to develop literacy skills and fluency in both English and another language. More than 1,700 5th […]

World Language Performances

This week our World Language students had the opportunity to show off all they learned in their Artist-in-Residency program. The program is generously funded by the PTO and exposes students to different cultural aspects in the language of their study.

Learning Arabic Calligraphy

Students in grades 5, 6, and 7th have been working with our Artist in residency in creating a very artistic Arabic pieces using the Arabic calligraphy. Each student had about 7 sessions of practice in order for them to reach this great level of art. Our Arabic students practiced Khat al- Nasakh style as it […]

French Exchange Trip

Nine students in 7th and 8th grade just returned this week from a 2 week trip to France! Students stayed for 9 nights with their host families in the town of Angers, about 2 hours outside of Paris. Students explored the town in depth, visiting museums and castles for which this region of France is […]