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The language known today as Spanish is derived from a dialect of spoken Latin that developed in the north-central part of the Iberian Peninsula in what is now northern Spain. Over the past 1,000 years, the language expanded south to the Mediterranean Sea, and was later transferred to the Spanish colonial empire, most notably to the Americas. Today it is the official language of 21 countries andof numerous international organizations, and it is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

The development of Spanish phonology is distinguished from those of other Romance languages by several features:

diphthongization of Latin stressed short E and O in closed syllables as well as open (tiempo, puerta);
palatalization of Latin -NN- and -LL- (año, silla);
thephonemic merger of /b/ and /v/, making, for example, the noun tubo and the verb tuvo phonetically equivalent (in all contexts except those of hypercorrection or spelling pronunciation).[1]
spirantization of /b/, /d/, and /g/ — not only from original Latin B, D, and G (as in Sp. probar, sudar, legumbre), but also from Latin P, T, and C (as in Sp. sabe, vida, lago);
devoicing and furtherdevelopment of the medieval Spanish sibilants, producing (1) the velar fricative [x] in words such as caja, hijo, gente, and (2) — in many dialects of Spain, including the prestige varieties of Madrid, Toledo, etc. — the interdental [θ] in words such as cinco, hacer, and lazo; and
aspiration and eventual loss of Latin F, marked in modern spelling by the silent ‹h› of words such as hablar, hilo,hoja.

The Latin system of four verb conjugations (form classes) is reduced to three in Spanish. The Latin infinitives with the endings -ĀRE, -ĒRE, and -ĪRE become Spanish infinitives in -ar, -er, and -ir respectively. The Latin third conjugation — infinitives ending in -ĔRE — are redistributed between the Spanish -er and -ir classes (e.g. FACĔRE > hacer, DICĔRE > decir). Spanish verbalmorphology continues the use of some Latin synthetic forms that were replaced by analytic ones in French and Italian (cf. Sp. lavó, Fr. il a lavé), and the Spanish subjunctive mood maintains separate present and past-tense forms.

Spanish syntax provides overt marking for some direct objects: the so-called "personal a". And Spanish, uniquely among the Romance languages, maintains the use of a"redundant" indirect object pronoun (le, les), even in the presence of an indirect object noun phrase. With regard to subject pronouns, Spanish is a pro-drop language, meaning that the verb phrase can often stand alone without the use of a subject pronoun (or a subject noun phrase). Compared to other Romance languages, Spanish has a somewhat freer syntax with relatively fewer restrictions onsubject-verb-object word order.

Due to prolonged language contact with other languages, the Spanish lexicon contains loanwords from Basque, Germanic, Arabic, and indigenous languages of the Americas.

Accents — used in Modern Spanish to mark the vowel of the stressed syllable in words where stress is not predictable from rules — come into use sporadically in the 15th century, and massively in the 16thcentury. Their use begins to be standardized with the advent of the Spanish Royal Academy in the 18th century. See also Spanish orthography.

1 External history
2 Influences
3 Internal history
3.1 Syncope
3.2 Elision
3.3 Voicing and spirantization
3.4 Diphthongization in open and closed syllables
3.5 Learned words andconsonant cluster simplification
3.6 Vocalization
3.7 Merger of /b/ and /v/
3.8 Latin f- to Spanish h-
3.9 Modern development of the Old Spanish sibilants
3.10 Yeísmo
4 Notes
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

[edit] External history

The standard Spanish language is also called Castilian. In its earliest documented form, and...
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