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A brief history of Spanish - Ilan Stavans


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Beginning in the third century BCE, the Romans conquered the Iberian peninsula. This period gave rise to several regional languages in the area that’s now Spain, including Castilian, Catalan, and Galician. One of these would become Spanish— but not for another 1,500 years. Those years tell the origin story of what’s become a global modern language. Ilan Stavans traces the evolution of Spanish.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

A language is a living organism: it has a birth, an infancy, a childhood, an adolescence, an adulthood, and so on. Over its history, Spanish has grown to become astonishingly versatile. It also faces crucial challenges today that will decide its future. In the so-called New World, especially in the United States, it is used by millions of people in constant contact with English. Read this article about its health. The outcome of that contact is Spanglish, a hybrid language with growing political, economic, and cultural capital. Read this opinion piece about it. Finally, for those interested in the official view of Spanish, the best resource is the website of the Royal Academia of the Spanish Language.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Ilan Stavans
  • Director Hernando Bahamon
  • Narrator Ilan Stavans
  • Composer Manuel Borda
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Anna Bechtol
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Associate Producer Abdallah Ewis

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