Spanish, as we already know, evolved from the Latin which came into the region some 2,000 years ago. Latin is not, however, the only language to have contributed to the development of modern-day Spanish. It’s also significantly influenced by Arabic, thanks to the long-term Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula between the years 711 and 1492 AD. Loan words from Arabic began to appear in Spanish in the 8th and 9th centuries as the number of speakers of the language increased, but the influence of Arabic peaked during the Reconquista, when large territories where large numbers of people spoke Arabic or Arabic-influenced local dialects were recaptured from their Moorish rulers. This was a period in which many Arabic words and their derivatives were absorbed into the Castilian language. One result of this is that Spanish often has both Arabic and Latin derived words with the same meaning, such as escorpión and alacrán, meaning scorpion. The Arabic versions are often favoured in areas which fell under Moorish rule for longer periods.
In more recent times, Spanish has borrowed words from various European languages, but the biggest influence is from English, with many words and expressions, particularly those relating to technology, coming into common usage in Spanish. In Latin America, thanks largely to US influences, there’s an even bigger trend for borrowing English words, often with the original spelling, other times using words of English derivation, such as la computadora (the computer) which is quite different from the Spanish el ordenador.
If you’d like to gain an insight into the wonderfully colourful and expressive Spanish language, our Private Spanish Lessons are the ideal place to begin.