SPANISH LANGUAGE, The. Spanish is one of the modern spoken and written forms of Latin, that is, it is a neo-Latin or Romance language. Its motherland is Spain in the Iberian Peninsula. Besides Spanish two sister Romance tongues are in use in the peninsula, viz., in the western part, Portuguese (which is never to be regarded as a dialect of Span ish), and, in the eastern part, Catalan (which has affinities to the Provençal of southern France). In part of northern Spain and in the district of the Pyrenees the native speech is Basque, which has no discernible relationship to its neo-Latin neighbors, Spanish and French, and is thought by some to he a survival of the ancient Iberian language. In Galicia, which occupies the northwestern corner of Spanish territory, the natural idiom is Galician, and it is a dialect of Portuguese. In the Middle Ages both Catalan and Galician had literary mani festations of no little importance. In spite of school influence, which tends to spread the influence of Castilian to their detriment, they continue to be the popular spoken languages of their districti, and Catalan has continued to have its notable writers of both prose and verse down into our own times.
In the strictly Spanish-speaking region three dialectal divisions are marked, viz., (1) Cas tilian-Andalusian in the centre and south of the land, (2) Leonese-Asturian in the west and north, and (3) Navarro-Aragonese in the northeast and east. Through political import ance and as a result of various other reasons, especially the greater activity of its writers in the earlier period, Castilian soon became the dominant form of Spanish and remains such to-day. The term "Castilian" is often used as the equivalent of "Spanish" to designate both the language and the literature. Some have regarded Andalusian as an individual dialect, but it differs so little from Castilian—one of its most distinctive traits is its assibilation of c (before e and i) and of z, which Castilians pronounce as voiceless interdental th— that there is little need of giving it a place apart. For literary purposes the Navarro-Aragonese and the Leonese-Asturian have never received any extensive or lasting development.
The following may serve to illustrate some of the phonological differences between the two dialects and the standard Castilian. They both have a glide-sound between e and a following vowel, where Castilian has none: leyer, "to read," Cast., leer; loyal, °loyal," Cast., leal. They both have palatalized 11 (the li of Eng lish "fillet!" approximates to this sound) where Castilian has a j (a guttural spirant; cf. the Scotch ch in "loch"); fit/o, "son," Cast., hijo; ovella, "sheep," Cast., oveja. They both have it where Castilian has ch: dereito. "right,"
Cast., derecho; muito, "much," Cast., tnucho. The both develop diphthongs out of accented Latin short 0 and 6, where Castilian fails to do so (because of the influence in Castilian of a following palatal) : pueyo, °height"; Cast., pogo; Latin podium: fuella, °leaf"; Cast., hoja; Latin pl.. folio, etc. Leonese changes 1 after a consonant to r: branco, °white," Cast., blanco. Aragonese keeps initial Latin pl and cl where Castilian changes them to II: plorar, "to weep," Cast., llorar; clamor, "to call," Cast. Ilamar.
In morphology the dialects have also cer tain traits that distinguish them from Cas tilian. Thus Aragonese tends to create a feminine form in -a for adjectives which are not entitled historically to that ending: doliente, °grieving," fern. dolienta, Cast., L doliente for both genders. Leonese uses fuller forms of the definite articles: el; ela, elos, etas: cf. Cast., el, la, lost las. Leonese has -er infinitives where Castilian has -sr: viver, "to live," diner, "to say," Cast., vivir, decir. Castilian has no separate possessive form for the plural possessive "their," but uses su, sus, which also means "his," "her," etc.; Aragonese uses ha, lures (cf. French leur, leurs) as a distinctive form for "their." By colonization and conquest Spanish has been carried to foreign regions. The explorers and settlers took it to the New World, where it is now used by hardly fewer than 50,000,000 of persons in the western continent and ad jacent islands, from Mexico southward. For that matter it is still spoken even in tracts of the United States, e.g., in New Mexico, Cali fornia, Texas, etc. It followed the Spanish flag to the Canaries and the Philippines, with out, however, displacing the aboriginal speech in the Philippines any more than it has done so in the parts of America in which the Indians are numerous. In Spanish America the pro nunciation reveals traits that once existed in Castilian of the 15th and 16th centuries and have since changed in the motherland, and it shows also features of the dialects of the por tions of the peninsula whence the settlers came. But to all intents and purposes, since the dia lectal differences operate for only a restricted number of sounds and the accepted principles of grammar are those of Castilian, the Spanish of Spanish-America is properly enough de nominated by the generic, if somewhat elastic, term of °Castilian," The expatriated Moors and Jews have taken Spanish to places in northern Africa and in Turkey, where they still speak it in a more or less contaminated form. It is safe to say that in the neighbor hood of 70,000,000 human beings are to-day using Spanish in various parts of the world.