Saving the Best for Last Competition - El Dia del Espanol

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Saving the Best for Last Competition: El Día del Español (The day of the Spanish Language)

For three years now, every 18th of June, El Instituto Cervantes, an official organization that promotes Spanish culture, language and literature all over the world, celebrates the Day of the Spanish Language.

The celebrations vary from country to country, but they usually involve music, readings, perfomances or the visit of some famous person from the Spanish-speaking world. As it is the case in China this year: Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, a very well-known Peruvian novelist and journalist, greeted Chinesse students in Beijing with this words: "Welcome to this numerous family with members all around the world."

The family consists of about 500 million speakers who belong to the 21 countries where Spanish is the official language. The family is increasing with students. Last year, 2010, they were about 20 million.

In Europe and without counting Spain, there are 30 million people who speak Spanish and 40 million in the USA. If you travel to the Philippines, the Western Sahara or Guinea, you will hear Spanish too, as they were former colonies. A case worth mentioning is the dialect Sefardí, it is still spoken in some areas of Morocco, Israel, and other countries where the Spanish Jews travelled when they were expelled from Spain in the 16th century by the Reyes Católicos. Listen to a Sefardí, and you will be listening to a living past.

Spanish culture is rich and vast without dispute – to know its language allows anyone to enjoy it much more. Spanish is also a language for international communication, but not as widespread as English is.

H2g2 is also celebrating this day. We have prepared a recording in which you will hear a Spanish voice reading Sonnet XXIX of Shakespeare, first in Spanish and then in English.

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