The official language in Spain is Spanish (Castilian), which is taught in the schools and spoken all over the country.
Before the creation of the reign of Spain, the Spanish territory was formed by different independent reigns with their own cultural characteristics and language.
Spanish is actually the Castilian, local language of the former reign of Castile in central Spain. But other regions, even though having accepted Castilian as the official Spanish, keep their own language in their daily lives.
If you go to the Basque Country, you will probably do not understand a conversation between two Basque persons no matter how good your Spanish is. This is because they speak Euskara, an ancient language very different from Castilian. The Euskara is a co-official language (together with Castilian) in autonomous community of the Basque Country and some regions of Navarre.
In Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and certain parts of Aragón, Catalan is widely used by people as its primary language. For general public, this language looks like a mixture of Spanish and French, even though many people find it similar to the Italian. As it happens with Euskara, this is a co-official language, so you will see notice boards written in both Castilian and Catalan. In the Valencian community, a variation from the Catalan has been recognized as the Valencian.
Strongly influenced by Portuguese, Galician is the co-official language in the community of Galicia and is also used in adjacent zones of Asturias and Castile Leon. The inhabitants of these autonomous community use Galician (or Galego as they call it) in their daily lives, while some radio stations and television channels broadcast only in this language.
Other regional languages, not as widely used in their local communities and recognized by the Spanish government as the above mentioned , but are still co-official languages: Aragonese (spoken in upper Aragon), Asturian (in Asturias), and Leonese (in certain regions of the province of Leon). There are certain regions where Castilian is the only language spoken, where said language is pronounced pretty different as it is in Madrid or Castile, such as Andalusia and the Canary Islands where the strong regional accent require foreigners to pay extreme attention when listening to a local.
The following is some useful spanish vocabulary:
- "Hola como estas?" - Hello how are you?
- "Muy bien, y tu?" - Very good, and you?
- "Buenos días / buenas tardes" - Good mornig / Good evening
- "Gracias" - Thank you
- "Disculpe, sabe donde queda ..." - Excuse me, do you know where is...
- "Permiso" - Exuse me
- "Salud" - Cheers
- "Chau" or "Adios" - Goodbye
- "Hasta pronto" - See you later
- "Perdón por mi español" - Sorry for my spanish
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