Walter Salles, 2004
Welcome to the Self-Access Centre materials database
The SAC is here to provide you with opportunities to study Spanish outside class time. If you need advice and guidance on what to study, you should talk to your class tutor, who will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations on what to study.
A bit about the language
Spanish or Castilian (español or castellano) is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects and languages in the northern fringes of the Iberian Peninsula during the 10th century and gradually spread through the Kingdom of Castile, becoming the foremost language for government and trade in the Spanish Empire. Latin, the basic foundation of the Spanish language, was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by Romans during the Second Punic War around 210 BC. During the 5th century, Hispania was invaded by Germanic Vandals, Suevi, Alans, and Visigoths, resulting in numerous dialects of Vulgar Latin. After the Moorish Conquest in the 8th century, Arabic became an influence in the evolution of Iberian languages, including Castilian.
Modern Spanish developed with the Readjustment of the Consonants that began in 15th century. The language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as to develop new words. Castilian was taken most notably to the Americas, but also to Africa and Asia Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the 15th and the 19th centuries. As of 2010, 329 to 358 million people speak Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million people speak it worldwide. It is the second most natively-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.