¡Hola! My name is Gerardo and this is an introduction to The Relearner’s basic Spanish course, the first language course on this blog. The Relearner focuses mostly on reviewing basic scientific knowledge, but it also includes language learning as a “relearning” activity, since you have already learned a language (your native language) in the past. That’s why we’ll be dealing with several languages here, so I decided to start with my native language: Spanish.
Watch the video about this entry on YouTube by clicking here.
About the Spanish Language
There are 400 million native Spanish speakers in the world, which makes it the second most spoken language by native speakers, beaten only by Mandarin. If you consider the total number of speakers (i.e. including non-native speakers), Spanish would be the third most-spoken language in the world after Mandarin and English. Spanish is the official language in 20 different countries all over the world. We usually think only about Spain and most Latin American countries when we hear the word hispanic, but there is also an African country, Equatorial Guinea, whose national language is Spanish. The country with the biggest amount of Spanish speakers is Mexico, with over 100 million native speakers. There are many other places were Spanish is widely spoken or where its influence is undeniable. The Philippines is a very good example.
Although there are some differences depending on the region, Spanish exists as one language and most of these differences are colloquial terms and slight pronunciation differences. This is similar to the different dialects of the English language, which are not different enough to be considered different languages or to create major misunderstandings. I come from El Salvador, the smallest country in continental America, and I will try to teach you the most “standard” Spanish I can, although such a thing probably doesn’t exist.
You’ve probably heard the term español, but there are, in fact, two ways to refer to the language in Spanish: español and castellano. The latter term comes from the fact that the language originated in a place called Castile. In the Americas, the usage of one term or the other depends mostly just on the habitual way of calling it in each country, whereas in Spain it is a subject of debate since there are more languages spoken in Spain besides Spanish and this denomination stirs political tensions between different regions. I will just call it español since that is the usual term in my country.
About this Series
We will have two kinds of posts in this series: We will alternate between posts just filled with a bunch of knowledge for you to learn (grammar, pronunciation, etc.) and practical lessons in which we will learn useful expressions and insight about Hispanic culture. I will encourage you to practice by uploading a video of yourself saying something or just writing a comment. From the next video, I will use as little English as possible for your ears to get used to the sounds in Spanish, but, don’t worry! I will write down the meaning of important words and there will always be an explanation in the blog entry.
That’s it for today. If you want to see more, please subscribe by clicking the follow button or follow The Relearner on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see our latest posts right on your news feed. The Relearner works for you and also thanks to you, so please check the “Support Us” section of our blog. Share this entry on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #TheRelearner and tell us the name of your favorite Spanish-speaking country, and you’ll have the chance to get a 1-hour private Spanish lesson via Skype. A winner will be announced every month. Gracias y ¡hasta la próxima!
Gerardo Urbina is a Chemistry student at Nagoya University who loves reading and learning about anything. Born and raised in El Salvador, he speaks Spanish, English and Japanese and is currently learning French and Russian. Read more about him and his ideas for The Relearner.