The Lord’s Prayer in Spanish:
Padre nuestro que estás en el cielo,
santificado sea tu nombre.
Venga a nosotros tu reino.
Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos nuestro pan de cada día.
Perdona nuestras ofensas, como
también nosotros perdonamos a los
que nos ofenden.
No nos dejes caer en la tentación,
y líbranos del mal.
Spanish (900- ) is the main language in Spain and in Latin America outside of Brazil. More people speak it as a first language than even English. Yet, like Chinese and Hindi, few speak it outside its home region. It is one of the six languages of the United Nations.
Spanish grew out of Vulgar Latin: not the old-fashioned book Latin that Cicero and Caesar wrote, but the street Latin that traders and soldiers spread to the West. It was a looser and simpler Latin. Some of the words were even different. For example, house was casa, not domus, horse was caballus not equus and carry was portare not fer.
Between 500 and 1000 Vulgar Latin became Spanish in the north of Spain, Galician-Portuguese in the north-west and Catalan in the north-east. In the middle of Spain, then ruled by the Moors, Vulgar Latin had become Mozarabic. The Moors were Muslim Arabs and Berbers.
From 1000 to 1492 the Christian armies took back what is now Spain and Portugal from the Moors. Mozarabic died out as the languages of the north spread southward.
Although they pushed the Moors out, they kept the Arabic words for sugar, coffee, alcohol, algebra, zero and much else.
The differences are not as great as they seem on paper because Spanish and Galician spell words one way and Portuguese another.
Notice that Spanish and Portuguese are much closer to each other than either is to Catalan. They are so close that some who speak Portuguese can understand spoken Spanish – though it does not work the other way round.
Portuguese is almost a dialect of Spanish. It is only because Portugal had its own kings that it has a life as a separate language. We know that from looking at the sad history of Galician and Catalan after their home regions fell under Spanish rule. From 1600 to 1800 they had no serious writers.
Even today they are at a disadvantage compared to Spanish: In the schools of Spain everyone learns Castilian, the Spanish of the capital city, Madrid, regardless of what they might speak at home.
Spanish in Latin America came from the south, so it is not Castilian. Yet the difference is no worse than that between British and American English.