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Spanish Influence in the Americas: Tracing the Linguistic Legacy
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Spanish Influence in the Americas: Tracing the Linguistic Legacy

Jun 05, 2024    |    0

In 1492 Cristobal Colón arrived in America trying to find a new commercial route to the Indies. He thought that, if the Earth was spherical, he could reach Asia by sailing eastward, but he did not expect to reach a new continent between Europe and Asia.  With this discovery began the process of a cultural exchange that marked a before and after in America and Spain, and the fundamental pillar of this exchange was the linguistic legacy: the Spanish language.

The spread of the Spanish language
Spanish explorers and conquistadors began their expeditions in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, bringing their language, Spanish culture and religion to vast regions of the Americas. From Mexico and Central America down to the southern tip of South America, Spanish quickly became the lingua franca, influencing indigenous languages and cultures.

Regional diversity, variations and dialects  of the Spanish language
As with all languages, each locality, region or geographical location eventually developed its own variants and dialects. An example of this is the differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, accent and sometimes even grammar. A very obvious example is that in Spain we speak of "vosotros”, but in Latin America "ustedes” is used.

Another example of this exchange between the indigenous populations and the Spanish colonizers was the incorporation of indigenous words thanks to the new crops that were integrated into Spanish cuisine and gastronomy, such as chocolate (chocolate), tomato (tomate), avocado (aguacate), potatoes (patatas), among others.

Literature, arts and traditions
The influence of Spain in America also extends to its culture, especially in its traditions and literature.

In the case of literature, authors such as Gabriel García Márquez, of Colombian origin and recognized as a precursor of magical realism, inspired by the literary movements of Spain, contributed great works to world literature. This author contributed great works to world literature with titles such as "One Hundred Years of Solitude” (Cien años de soledad) or Chronicle of a Death Foretold.(Crónicas de una muerte anunciada). Along with ék, other writers such as Argentinean Jorge Luis Borges and Chilean writer Isabel Allende have enriched world literature with their innovative narrative and profound stories, expanding the Spanish language even furth.

Spanish influence is also evident in the visual arts and music across Latin America. Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera have used their art to depict the region's social and political history, blending indigenous and European elements. In music, genres such as salsa, tango, and flamenco showcase the fusion of Spanish and indigenous rhythms, creating dynamic forms of artistic expression that are celebrated globally.

Finally, we have to talk about the traditions in which Spain has also had a great influence. A great example of this is the celebration of the Day of the Dead ("El Día de los Muertos”) which was established by the colonizers who practiced their Catholic faith. As is the case with its famous carnivals, which also have Catholic origins to celebrate the arrival of Lent.

The current  relationship of Spanish in the Americas
As globalization continues to bridge gaps between nations, the Spanish language maintains its relevance and vibrancy in the Americas. Bilingualism is on the rise, and Spanish-language media, including television, music, and literature, continues to thrive and expand.

To connect with this rich linguistic heritage, you can Learn Spanish online through spanishtutor.es that is offering Spanish language courses. Whether you're interested in Spanish lessons for beginners or looking to improve your skills with conversational Spanish, there are resources available to help you study Spanish at home. Embrace the journey of learning one of the world's most beautiful and influential languages!

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