Spanish and Where It Came From

Period one


01/08/04


About nineteen countries around the world name Spanish, as it’s official language. Worldwide, there are over 332 million Spanish speakers who consider Spanish as their first language.


To native speakers, the Spanish language is referred to as ‘El castellano.’ The modern form of Spanish that is spoken today is the result of thousands of years of development and change over time. The purpose of this essay is to explain the history of the Spanish language.


The Iberian Peninsula is the piece of land that present Spain and Portugal lie on. This is where the language started. The region’s first inhabitants, the Iberians, began to intermingle with a migrating nomadic people from central Europe. This nomadic group was known as Celts. When the two cultures combined they was called Celt Iberians who spoke a form of Celtic.


To better understand the history of the Spanish language, its history has been broken down into different periods of time.


The very very beginning of Spanish started in what is called the Hispano-Romance period. This period contains history from about the 5th through the 10th century. Under the rule of the Romans, the Iberian Peninsula became known as ‘Hispania,’ around 19 BC. The Celt Iberians learned to speak classical Latin through administrators, settlers, soldiers, and traders. The natives of Hispania began to use classical Latin, Celtic, and other pre-Roman languages. This language was a blend of the languages that the natives had used so far. This new language was called Vulgar Latin. Vulgar Latin followed the basic models and rules of classical Latin but also used words from the other languages to make it up.


Vulgar Latin remained the official language of Hispania for a long time, until 719 AD. It was at about this time when Arabic speaking Islamic groups from Northern Africa conquered this region. These Arabic speakers were called ‘Moors.’ When the Moors conquered the majority of the region of Hispania and in these areas, a language called Mozarabic became widely spoken. Mozarabic is a related dialect to Arabic. Vulgar Latin was still spoken in a few Christian Kingdoms that were not conquered by the Moors.


Also during this period, the “Glosas Emilianenses” was written. This is the first known document that had been written about the Spanish language. It was a mediaeval document from the Monastery of San Milan de la Cogolla. It was dated in the year of 964


In the following centuries, the Christian Kingdoms gradually recovered the Iberian Peninsula. While moving southward, the Vulgar Latin became more widely spoken in place of Mozarabic. The most outstanding dialect was indeed the Castilian dialect.


The next period is known as the “Old Spanish” period. It took place during the 10th century till the mid 1300’s. This is where the beginning of a standard Spanish language began to develop. It was created with the basic Castilian dialect. This began in the 1200’s with King Alfonso the tenth, who was called the Learned-King of Castile and Leon. With his scholars and courts backing him up, he took Toledo as his city and it became a cultural center in the central highlands. It was the foundation of their works. What were they doing that brought them such great recognition? They wrote original works and translated histories from Latin, Greek, and Arabic.


King Alfonso was also respected because he and his court used the common language of Castilian for administrative and official government work/decrees.


The next era of the Spanish language is called the “Middle Spanish” period. It takes place between the mid 1300’s and the end of the 15th century. The dialect of Castilian became even more recognized during the reign of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. Together these monarchs pushed the Moors out of their last stronghold, the city of Granada, on the Iberian Peninsula. In their kingdom, Castilian was the official dialect. This happened in a very important year, 1492. Also in that year, Antonio de Nebrija’s book entitled, “Arte de la lengua castellana.” The titled of the book means, “The Art of the Castilian Language. This book was significant because it was the first book to study and attempt to define the grammar of a European language.


Several other dialects also remained. Andalusian