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322 million

Other names

Official language

Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Rep., Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela

Also spoken

Andorra, Antigua, Belize, Brazil, United States

Interesting Fact

Spanish uses inverted punctuation at the beginning of a question to alert the reader that a question is about to follow. In English, word order indicates to a reader whether a sentence is a question or a statement, but in Spanish, the word order can be the same for both, with only the question marks indicating the difference. For example:

Te vas a casar. – You are getting married.
¿Te vas a casar? – Are you getting married?


Spanish is one of the world’s most spoken languages and currently ranks 2nd on the list of most spoken languages by number of native speakers (after Mandarin).   It is spoken as a first language in many American countries and in Europe.

Language Length
Tends to be 15-20% longer than English.

Regional Differences
Many words are different in the various regional forms of Spanish (e.g. Latin American Spanish “computadora” = Spanish “ordenador” (computer) or Latin American “anteojos” instead of “gafas” (sunglasses).

Notable Grammar and Spelling Differences
Question marks and Exclamation Marks:  Spanish is the only language to use inverted question marks and exclamation marks.  Question/exclamation marks are placed at the end of a qualifying statement, as in English, but an inverted mark is also placed at the beginning of the statement, for example: ¿Where are you going? ¡Not there! Strangely, while inverted punctuation used to sometimes appear in other languages used in Spain (e.g. Galician, Catalan), none of them use it today.

Quotation marks:  Usually chevron style <<>>

Numbers:  The comma is used where English would use the decimal point and vice versa, e.g. 5.5 (English) = 5,5 (Spanish)… but 5,000 (English) is 5.000 (Spanish).

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