4 Unexpected Countries That Speak Spanish
Spanish is the 3rd most spoken language, following behind English and French. There is an estimate stating that 572 million people speak Spanish all over the world! It is also the 2nd most studied language in the world. So if it wasn’t clear before, Spanish is of great importance for many people to communicate through various forms of news, literature, art and beyond!
Some more fun facts about the Spanish language are that 21 countries have Spanish as their native language. That’s pretty impressive! 9 of these countries are located in South America alone. Spanish is spoken worldwide in many different countries because of periods of migration and colonization.
Additionally, it is also spoken a lot by people communicating via the internet. It gets ranked as the third language most used on the internet today.
How Spanish Came to be so Widespread
Spanish is derived from spoken Latin and is home to innumerable dialects. This is due to Spanish being influenced by other languages. The following countries either have Spanish as their official language or are countries with many Spanish speakers. Their Spanish is all based on their own nuances and can slightly differ depending on the country and state.
That so many countries in South America speak Spanish doesn’t really come as a surprise though. There are some countries that you probably won’t expect speak Spanish either as an official language or as a 2nd language. Want to know which countries we’re talking about? Let’s dive into these unexpected Spanish-speaking countries below!
1. Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is a country in Africa. People often don’t know that this country’s official language is Spanish. Equatorial Guinea is not the closest African country to Spain, but it is the only African country that communicates using the Spanish language.
Spain invaded this particular country in the 1700-the 1800s. Approximately 67.7% of the population in Equatorial Guinea speaks Spanish. Mainly people living in the capital, Malabo, use this language as their main language.
When we think of the Philippines’ many different islands, we think of their the blue oceans and spicy food. Even though the native language of the Philippines is Filipino, there are also lots of Spanish speakers.
This is due to it being an official language until 1987. The Philippines was part of the Spanish West Indies at that time. After thirty years, the Philippine government wanted schools to start teaching Spanish again. So, as of 2009 Spanish is again being taught in schools.
The government finds it an important language to learn because Spanish is spoken in many countries worldwide. The Philippines is proudly multilingual, as more than 120 different languages get spoken there.
3. North America
That there are Spanish-speaking people in North America is probably not a shock to many…but we had to put this one on the list. The crazy thing is that North America is third on the list of the most Spanish-speaking people in the world!
Even though English is the official language of North America, approximately 37 million people speak Spanish there too. The amount of people speaking the Spanish language in this part of the world has grown exponentially since 1980 with 233%. In the 1980s, 11 million Spanish-speaking people lived in North America.
There are so many Spanish-speaking people partly due to colonization in the 1750s and Mexico’s close connection. It is still vastly growing due to the number of immigrants leaving South America to hopefully find a better life in North America for themselves and their families. People are saying that Spanish will become the second official language in North America in the future.
Hopefully this will encourage some much needed and healthy multilingualism in the US.
4. Western Sahara
Africa is a continent that includes many different countries! One of them is Western Sahara. It lies on the West Coast of Africa.
Like Equatorial Guinea, it was colonized by Spain in the 1800s. Unlike the country mentioned before, this one has chosen not to continue Spanish as the official language. Nowadays, people often speak Arabic and French in Western Sahara. Both languages are the official language in this part of the world.
80% of Western Sahara was occupied by Morocco and the remaining 20% by the Arabic Democratic Republic. If you can speak Spanish, you can most likely still put your language skills to the test when you visit Western Sahara, as there are still many who speak Spanish there.
Papiamento, the Spanish Creole
Spanish knows many nuances and dialects depending on where it gets spoken in the world. Papiamento is a Portuguese and Spanish-based creole language spoken especially in the Dutch Caribbean.
It is even the official language in Aruba and Curacao. This language is a combination of words from different languages. Spanish has a big influence on this language together with Portuguese. If you speak or understand both Portuguese and Spanish, you will most likely understand and speak this unique language without issue. Approximately 330,000 people speak Papiamento.
This is again another interesting example of colonial invasion influence from 1800 to the 1900s.
Some Last thoughts
Spanish is a truly beautiful language. Speaking this particular language can help when you need to communicate with people from different parts of the world. At Ad Astra, we tackle our Spanish translation and interpretation work with nuance and care.
There are so many variations depending on where it gets spoken or taught. If you are looking for a company that cares about the language, what is being said and intended by the speaker or writer, we’re your best choice.
We hope you learned something special about unexpected Spanish speaking countries!