I resolutely believe that respect for diversity is a fundamental pillar in the eradication of racism, xenophobia and intolerance. Rigoberta Menchú
Spanish in the United States and in the World
One of six official languages of the United Nations and -- along with English -- official language of the Organization of American States, Spanish is spoken by over 350 million people worldwide, some 30 million in the United States. The official language of twenty nations, it has become a vibrant cultural source of expression in the United States, to which increased media and marketing attention attest. In fact, Spanish was spoken in what is now United States territory a century before English was, and gave names to former Spanish colonial regions and cities such as Colorado and Los Angeles. The largest Spanish-speaking groups in the United States today are peoples of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican heritage. At all levels of public and private education, Spanish is the most widely-taught second language in the United States.
Spanish is a romance language originating from Latin, with major influences from Arabic and the indigenous languages of the Americas. As is the case with any widely-spoken language, Spanish exhibits regional variations in pronunciation, vocabulary, pronoun usage, tense preference and other aspects; however, all dialects of the language are mutually intelligible. Many of the world's major literary voices, including ten Nobel Prize winners, wrote and write in Spanish: Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderón, Montemayor, Góngora, Quevedo, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Galdós, Martí, Unamuno, Clarín, Darío, Lorca, Machado, Cela, Avellaneda, Matute, Neruda, Concha Espina, Castellano, Vallejo, Gambaro; Borges, Paz, García Márquez, Valenzuela, Laforet, Garro, Allende, Rosalía de Castro, Pardo Bazán, and Menchú, to name just a few.