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History of Vernacular Language Essay

Spanish has one of the richest and longest histories of any of the world’s languages. It is the fourth most-spoken language in the world after Chinese, Hindi and English. Native Spanish speakers exist throughout Europe, the United States, Pacific Islands and Africa (Penny, 2002). Spanish originated on the Iberian Peninsula which is located in the southwestern region of Europe. The vernacular language was not originally known as Spanish, it was referred to as Vulgar Latin.

The Celts were a nomadic tribe from central Europe who moved into the peninsula towards the end of the sixth century (Penny, 2002). The Celts mixed with the peninsula’s residents, the Iberians resulting in a new people known as the Celtiberians who spoke a form of the Celtic language. By the nineteenth century BCE, the region in southwestern Europe was known as Hispania and the inhabitants learned Latin from Roman settlers, traders and soldiers. Soon after the people in Hispania learned Latin, a new language was created as a mixture of the Celtiberians language and classical Latin (Penny, 2002).

The new language became known as Vulgar Latin which developed into modern Spanish. Vulgar Latin was similar to classical Latin but implemented many words from other languages. Spanish started as a native language dialect spoken in the Castilian region of Spain. After many years of conquest, exploration and forced conversion, the people in the region spread the language to a worldwide vernacular. The Spanish language belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and the Romance language family as the language was greatly influenced by Latin.

The anguage took many years to fully develop and spread because of the influence of other countries. Towards the end of the fourth century A. D. , Roman control over the Iberian Peninsula had significantly declined (Pimsluer, 2013). The fifth century brought on the rule of the Visigoths who spoke a German vernacular which made it difficult to communicate in Spanish. The Islamic people invaded Spain in A. D. 711 which led to the spread of Vulgar Latin throughout the Peninsula (Pimsluer, 2013). The Islamic people brought their culture and Arabic language to parts of Spain.

The effects of the Islamic Moors conquest did not reach all parts of Spain which contributed to the spread of Spanish. Many residents borrowed from Arabic but the residents of the northwestern region of the Iberian Peninsula preserved the Spanish language. The northwestern region of the Iberian Peninsula was often referred to as Castile and by the eleventh century A. D. , Castile had gained enough power to declare itself as a kingdom. The Castilian people spread south and east throughout the Iberian Peninsula in Spain and drove out the Islamic and Arabic presence.

As the Spanish speaking people moved throughout the peninsula, they spread their language into the conquered territories as well as surrounding territories. The Spanish language was known as Castilian during that time period and was often considered a prestigious language (Lopez, 2007). By the end of the fifteenth century, Castile and the Spanish language ruled a large territory encompassing the peninsula, spanning from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Latin had a significant influence on the development of Western languages as it led to the creation of many individual dialects.

The Roman Empire gained power during the fourth century B. C and Latin spread throughout the Italian peninsula and the Mediterranean region. Speakers of Latin traveled in Europe and Central Asia which sparked new innovations in language (Sayre, 2013, pg. 264). Latin influenced the development of languages in the Western region of the world by serving as a basis for the creation of new languages. An example of this influence would be the use of Latin words in the Spanish language as a result of the Roman power in the Spanish peninsula.

Native populations learned Latin first and then eventually developed new dialects and languages. Local residents often became bilingual in classical Latin and the newer language or dialect. Latin is the main foundation of languages in Western Civilizations. The languages spoken in Spain, Romania, Italy, France and Portugal were created from a hybrid form of Latin. Western languages were also influenced by other languages such as German and Arabic but the most significant influence remains Latin (Sayre, 2013, pg. 264).

Without the Latin language, only a small number of the languages spoken today would be recognizable in their current dialects. Latin survived the fall of the Roman Empire and continued to be an international language for educated individuals and the socially elite. After the Middle Ages, the Western Hemisphere underwent a cultural Renaissance and many forms of Latin were transplanted into Western languages (Sayre, 2013, pg. 265). Not only did Latin serve as a basis for the Spanish language but it had a substantial impact on the development of languages in Western civilizations.


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