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14 October 2014
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Spanish, Español

Related languages One of the Ibero-Romance languages, Spanish is most closely related to Catalan, Galician and Portuguese.
European speakers There are around 40 million Spanish speakers within Spain.
Territories Spanish is the official language in Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands and the Northern African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. There are Spanish-speaking communities in the UK, France and Germany. It is one of the official languages of the European Union and of the United Nations.
Alphabet Spanish uses the Latin alphabet, and the acute accent on vowels to indicate stressed syllables. Ñ and ñ are exclusive to Spanish and represent a single letter and not a modification of n. Spanish also uses the opening question and exclamation marks ¿ ¡
First examples 11th century glosses written by monks in northern Spain provide us with the first examples of written Spanish.
Other facts Spain's Moorish past bequeathed the language a wide variety of Arabic words, including 'algodón' cotton, 'alcalde' mayor, 'almirante' admiral. The 'al-' that starts all these words was Arabic for 'the', but the Spanish speakers hung on to it and attached it to the word. So 'el algodón' actually represents 'the the cotton' and 'el alcade' 'the the mayor'. Th-th-th-that's all folks!
News in Spanish BBC World Service in Spanish.
Would you like to find out more? Then have a look at our Spanish language resources!

Key Phrases
¡Bienvenido (-a) (-s)!
Encantado (-a).
Pleased to meet you.
Thank you.
Me llamo...
My name is ...
¿Habla inglés?
Do you speak English?
Lo siento, no hablo español.
I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish.
Necesito ayuda.
I need help.
Por favor, ¿dónde está el baño?
Where is the toilet, please?

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