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Spanish language

A B C D E G H I J K L M N O P R S T Ü V W

Spanish language, Spanish Español, Romance language (Indo-European family) spoken as a first language by some 360 million people worldwide. In the early 21st century, Mexico had the greatest number of speakers (more than 85 million), followed by Colombia (more than 40 million), Argentina (more than 35 million), the United States (more than 31 million), and Spain (more than 45 million).

Distribution

Spanish is the (or an) official language of 18 American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela) as well as of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, along with Spain in Europe and Equatorial Guinea in Africa.

Although many South and Central Americans use native Indian languages as their first language, Spanish is continuing to spread there. Estimated numbers of speakers (both as a first language and as a second language) are as follows, in order of numerical importance: Mexico, 110 million; Colombia, 41 million; Argentina, about 40 million; Spain, more than 38 million; Venezuela, some 27 million; Peru, 26 million; Chile, more than 16 million; Ecuador, more than 14 million; Cuba, some 11 million; Guatemala, almost 10 million; Bolivia, more than 8 million; the Dominican Republic, more than 8 million; El Salvador, some 6 million; Honduras, 6 million; Nicaragua, almost 6 million; Paraguay, more than 4 million; Costa Rica, about 4 million; Puerto Rico, more than 3 million; Uruguay, more than 3 million; Panama, 3 million; Equatorial Guinea, 627,000 (mostly second language). There are 100,000 to 200,000 speakers of Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), mostly in Israel.

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