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Jul 22

Language: Spanish and Portuguese

Posted on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 in Humanities

My next language was Spanish. Just like French, it was quite easy to learn. It’s quite similar to latin, which was, in a way, the English of ancient times. In Europe, it’s mostly spoken in Spain. Some people say that it’s also spoken in Andorra (but I think that’s because many Spaniards live there). Spanish is also spoken in North Africa and in the Philippines, and naturally in South America (also known as Latin America – in Mexico, Central America, some islands in the Caribbean).

According to some estimates, Spanish – or as people speaking the language outside Spain like to call it – Castilian – Castellano, is spoken by about 250 million people. That’s in no way an exact figure, but what you can be sure of is that spanish is a language that is good to know. It’s probably right behind English as ‘the most useful language in the world’. Though some people say that about French.

Here are some books that you might want to read: Gabriel Garcia Marquez has written several good books. So far I haven’t managed to read any of them in the original language, but I will, as soon as I can. Especially One Hundred Years of Solitude. I have read Love in the Time of Cholera, and with a few exceptions, it was really interesting. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in Spanish.

In Latin American literature the so called magical realism is typical. If I’ve understood it correctly, it means that the stories are a bit like fantasy or fairy tales. Many people recommend Isabel Allende’s book, The House of Spirits. I haven’t read it myself, not even in other languages, but it’s supposed to be good.

Since I’ve studied Spanish and Italian, I’d like to learn some Portuguese as well. Portugal is a fairly small country, but Portuguese is also spoken in Brazil. Also in a couple of countries in Africa, and in Asia – Macao. Portugal was, like Spain, the Netherlands, England and France good at colonizing and winning wars. Portuguese is spoken by about 10 million people in Portugal, and nearly 180 million people in Brazil. That adds up to about 200 million people worldwide.


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