ELL Assessment for Linguistic Differences vs. Learning Disabilities
Home Languages Cultures Examples Resources About Us
The Power of linguistically and culturally responsive classroom assessement
Main Page
Spoken Language
Written Language
Home› Languages› Spanish

An estimated 332 million people worldwide speak Spanish (Brunner, 2000). It is considered the second most widely spoken language in the world. Only Chinese is spoken by more people (Brunner, 2000). In addition, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States (Brunner, 2000). The Spanish spoken in the United States reflects the influences of the Spanish spoken in several regions of Latin America. These include: the Caribbean, South and Central America, and Mexico.

Spanish-Speakers in the U.S.

The 2000 U.S. Census shows that, of the total school population that is 5 years of age and over, 28,101,052 speak Spanish at home. The National Clearing House of English Language Acquisition (NCELA) ranks Spanish as the most widely spoken language in the United States among students learning English as a second language (NECLA, 2004). The United States has the fifth-largest population of Spanish speakers in the entire world. Only Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Columbia have more Spanish speakers (Nationmaster, 2005). Thus, the Spanish spoken in the United States reflects the Spanish spoken in various Hispanic regions.

Historical Overview of Spanish Language

Spanish is a common language spoken in many different parts of the world. During the 15th century, the Spanish conquerors spread throughout South America and Caribbean Islands such as Puerto Rico. They dramatically influenced many aspects of the lives of the indigenous peoples in those lands, including their languages.
Settlers coming to the Americas and Caribbean from areas such as Spain, as well as the slaves brought from Africa, heavily influenced the languages spoken by the indigenous people. In turn, the languages of the indigenous people influenced the Spanish language. The resulting Spanish is a language that contains words that were adopted from both the indigenous and/or African cultures.

Spanish-Speaking Countries

Map of the Spanish Speaking CountriesSpanish is spoken in more than thirty countries or territories (Spanish-speaking Countries, n.d.). The following countries have designated Spanish as their official language:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Spain
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Source: Fort Hays State University. (2002).

©2005 Maria de Lourdes Serpa.
All Rights Reserved. Term of Use
Home | Languages | Cultures | Examples | Resources | About Us | Site Map Lesley University