The official language of Spain is Castilian (Castellano), which is the language generally perceived to be “Spanish”. Castilian Spanish is also the official (or co-official) language in the following countries:
Argentina, Guatemala, Bolivia, Honduras, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Uruguay, Equatorial Guinea and Venezuela.
N.B. Spanish is an important language in the folowing places:
Andorra, Easter Island (Isla de Pascua), Belize, The USA (los Estados Unidos), Ceuta and Melilla.
Language Spoken in Spain
Spanish is not the only language spoken in Spain. There are many other languages and dialects, some of which have co-official status in the particular region in which they are used. There are four co-official languages: Euskara, Galego, Català and Valencià.
Euskara is the co-official language of the Basque Country (el País Vasco in Spanish, Euskadi in Euskara), which is situated in the north-east of Spain. The Basque language actually extends across the Pyrenees (los Pireneos) into France (Francia), as historically Euskadi straddled Spain and France.
Euskara is an extremely interesting language in the sense that it has no proven connection to any other living language, and the origins of Euskara are unknown.
It is spoken by around 600,000 of the 2.7 million Basques living south of the Pyrenees.
There are around 6 dialects of Euskara, the main one being Batua, which is the “unified” language that is taught in Basque schools.
Galego (Gallego in Castilian)is the co-official language of Galicia. The Autonomous Community of Galicia is located in north-west corner of Spain.
Galego is spoken by more than 3 million people in Spain, largely in Galicia.
Linguists have suggested a connection between Galego and Portuguese as the Portuguese language (Portugués) originated in Galicia and the northern part of Portugal. There are some who describe Galego as a dialect of Portuguese, a theory that is dismissed by Galicians.
Català (Catalán in Castilian) is principally spoken in Catalonia (Catalunya in Català, Cataluña in Castilian). One estimate suggests that there are around 10 million Català speakers in Spain.
Català is also the official language of Andorra, the co-official language of the Balearic Islands (las Islas Baleares), Valencia, and the Italian city of Alghero. In addition, Català is also spoken in el Carxe in Murcia, some parts of Aragon (Aragón) and Roussillon in France.
The success in the spread of this language is largely due to the strength of the Aragonese Empire up until the 15th Century, which counted Barcelona as it’s primary port and Català it’s official language. This empire became an important trading power, hence Català became an important language of trade.
Valencià is the co-official language of the autonomous region of Valencia.
Valencià is seen by linguists as a dialect of Català. Despite the small variances between Català, Valencians see Valencià as a completely separate language. This view highlights the strong relationship between language and cultural identity in Spain.
Valencia is situated in the east of Spain on the meditteranean coast.