1. Spanish ranks as the world’s No. 2 language in terms of how many people speak it as their first language. It is slightly ahead of English (328 million) but far behind Chinese (1.2 billion). (Source: Ethnologue)
2. Spanish has at least 3 million native speakers in each of 44 countries.
3. Spanish is part of the Indo-European family of languages, which are spoken by more than a third of the world’s population. Other Indo-European languages include English, French, German, the Scandinavian languages, the Slavic languages and many of the languages of India. Spanish can be classified further as a Romance language, a group that includes French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan and Romanian.
4. The language of the Castile region became a distinct language in part because of efforts by King Alfonso in the 13th century to standardize the language for official use.
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