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The Spanish-Speaking World

A language that has bestowed upon humanity geniuses of literature the likes of Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marques, can only be called magnanimous. From its most celebrated writer, Cervantes, to the "barrios" in Argentina, Spanish has gained - by force and love - a place in history as the most influential languages of all times. It has touched cultures and linguistic patterns in close and far related languages. Find below a list of countries where the language of Cervantes is spoken, and find out how this apparently "easy" language has influenced the lives of millions around the world:


Country Languages (%)
Argentina Spanish (official), Italian, English, German, French
Aruba Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 66.3%, Spanish 12.6%, English (widely spoken) 7.7%, Dutch (official) 5.8%, other 2.2%, unspecified or unknown 5.3% (2000 census)
Belize Spanish 46%, Creole 32.9%, Mayan dialects 8.9%, English 3.9% (official), Garifuna 3.4% (Carib), German 3.3%, other 1.4%, unknown 0.2% (2000 census)
Bolivia Spanish 60.7% (official), Quechua 21.2% (official), Aymara 14.6% (official), foreign languages 2.4%, other 1.2% (2001 census)
Brazil Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language); note - less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages
Cayman Islands English 95%, Spanish 3.2%, other 1.8% (1999 census)
Chile Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
Colombia Spanish
Costa Rica Spanish (official), English
Cuba Spanish
Dominican Republic Spanish
Ecuador Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
El Salvador Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
Equatorial Guinea Spanish 67.6% (official), other 32.4% (includes French (official), Fang, Bubi) (1994 census)
European Union Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish

note: only official languages are listed; German, the major language of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is the most widely spoken mother tongue - over 19% of the EU population; English is the most widely spoken language - about 49% of the EU population is conversant with it (2007)
Gibraltar English (used in schools and for official purposes), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
Guatemala Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
Honduras Spanish, Amerindian dialects
Mexico Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8%; note - indigenous languages include various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional languages (2005)
Netherlands Antilles Papiamento 65.4% (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect), English 15.9% (widely spoken), Dutch 7.3% (official), Spanish 6.1%, Creole 1.6%, other 1.9%, unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)
Nicaragua Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census)

note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast
Panama Spanish (official), English 14%; note - many Panamanians bilingual
Paraguay Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
Peru Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages
Puerto Rico Spanish, English
Saint Martin French (official language), English, Dutch, French Patois, Spanish, Papiamento (dialect of Netherlands Antilles)
Spain Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally
Switzerland German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, Italian (official) 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2%, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 2.8% (2000 census)

note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages
Trinidad and Tobago English (official), Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), French, Spanish, Chinese
United States English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)

note: Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
Uruguay Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
Venezuela Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Virgin Islands English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9% (2000 census)
World Mandarin Chinese 13.22%, Spanish 4.88%, English 4.68%, Arabic 3.12%, Hindi 2.74%, Portuguese 2.69%, Bengali 2.59%, Russian 2.2%, Japanese 1.85%, Standard German 1.44%, French 1.2% (2005 est.)

note: percents are for "first language" speakers only

Source: CIA – The World Factbook