->''"El idioma -- el castellano, el español -- llega a ser para nosotros como un licor que paladeamos, y del cual no podemos ya prescindir. [...] Ya somos, con tanto beber de este licor, beodos del idioma."''[[labelnote:translation]]"Our language -- [[IHaveManyNames Castilian, Spanish]] -- has come to be, for us, a kind of liquor that we savor, and which we no longer can do without. [...] We are now, having consumed so much of this liquor, drunk on the language."[[/labelnote]]
-->-- Spanish poet '''Azorín'''

Spanish, also known as "Castilian"[[note]]This is the actual original name of the language. The country we know today as Spain was formed in the late XV century, when Castile and Aragon, the two main Christian kingdoms of the Iberian peninsula, finished the [[MoorishSpain Reconquista]] and expelled the Muslims that had occupied it for 800 years. Both kingdoms were united thanks to the marriage of their respective kings, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. Castilian was, obviously enough, the language from Castile, which eventually became the dominant language of the territory, and the one that was exported to the American colonies. "Castilian Spanish", or just "Castilian", are very common terms to refer to the Spanish language as it's spoken in Spain, specifically[[/note]], is an Ibero-Romance language, and the second most natively spoken language in the entire world (after Mandarin Chinese) due to the enormous expanse of the Spanish Empire in its heyday. It's the national or official language of 21 countries, as well as one of the official languages of the UN and 13 other international organizations. Even in the United States alone there are over 50 million Spanish-speakers, which is more than the entire population of most Spanish-speaking countries, Spain itself included[[note]]And if you look below, there's even a native dialect of Spanish in New Mexico and Colorado![[/note]]. In short, this is a '''big''' language. It's the most widely spoken language in the Western Hemisphere.

See SpanishLiterature for literature originally written in the Spanish language. Naturally, this overlaps with LatinAmericanLiterature due to the fact that most Latin American countries are Spanish-speaking countries. For accents and dialects of the Spanish language, see UsefulNotes/SpanishAccentsAndDialects.

Naturally, with all these people speaking it, considerable differences can arise between the various dialects; more on that later.

!!Those who write the rules: La Real Academia Española
Before starting to explain the language, it's worth noting that, unlike English, the Spanish language has a proper institution which officially regulates its rules: the Royal Spanish Academy, or "Real Academia Española". AKA "la R.A.E.", for short.

The institution was created in 1714 following the model from the "Académie française" in France and the "Accademia della Crusca" in Italy. Its function is to gather and approve officially all the changes in the Spanish language in all the Spanish-speaking world to preserve and maintain its proper use. Every year they take care of including in the dictionary new words and removing unused ones[[note]]Well, at least in theory. The R.A.E. is infamous for being painfully slow in acknowledging the most recent developments, specially in the colloquial language. There are plenty of words that took '''decades''' to be approved by the academy just because their members kept refusing to accept them as proper[[/note]].

Although the headquarters are located in Spain, every single country with enough Spanish speakers has representation in the academy (usually by local language institutions of said countries), and all the differences between dialects are acknowledged.

Even the United States has representation since 1985 by the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.

Nouns ain't too complicated in Spanish. Unlike its predecessor Latin, which had a casserole of case endings depending on the noun was used in a sentence, Spanish has nothing in that regard. ''Pan'' (bread) will stay ''pan'' no matter where or how it's used.

One thing that ''does'' present occasional problems (for English speakers primarily) is the gender. It's mostly an arbitrary attribute of the noun (''el palo'', "stick," masculine; ''la mesa'', "table," feminine; it depends on usage, too: a hair dryer is masculine ("secador de pelo"), while the clothes dryer is feminine ("secadora de ropa"). However, when it comes to things that have actual gender they cling to that. A male cat is "un gato", while a female cat is "una gata". Not all names of gendered creatures have gendered forms, though, but in those cases the gender is easily identified by the article and/or adjective (i.e.: "bobcat" would be "el lince" and "la lince", respectively).

Gender is quite a bit more intuitive than in many languages as well; in most cases, a noun's gender is clear from its ending; ''-o/-an/-aje/-ón'' is almost always masculine, whereas ''-a/-ión/-ad/-ud'' is almost always feminine... not to say that there aren't exceptions[[note]]like ''la mano'' ("hand") or ''el idioma'' ("language").[[/note]]. Masculine nouns are more common than feminine ones, so if you're really lost, guess masculine. Plural nouns that contain both masculine and feminine elements are mostly referred to as masculine; ''los gatos'' could mean "the [male] cats" or "the [male and female] cats," while ''las gatas'' can only refer to "the [female] cats."[[note]]In recent years this usage has become quite controversial in a few Spanish speaking countries, Spain included, since some people are starting to consider it sexist, and promote the use both the plural masculine AND plural feminine together to be inclusive. Which creates the problem of making sentences much longer and arguably impractical. Let us say, it's a debate that has no clear end in sight.[[/note]]

Of course, like any other language with gender, Spanish has its own headache-inducing part of it, and that would be the fact that some ''feminine'' nouns take the ''masculine'' singular article, while still being feminine grammatically (e.g., declension of adjectives), mostly for "flow" reasons. This occurs exclusively with feminine nouns that have a stressed ''a'' sound at the beginning. Thus, though still grammatically feminine, ''águila'' ("eagle") takes the masculine article as ''el águila''. For ''amiga'' ("[female] friend"), however, ''la'' is used, because the ''a'' sound is not stressed[[note]]It's "el AH-ghee-lah" but "lah ah-MEE-gah"[[/note]]. With the plurals, this rule is disregarded, because ''las'' does not interrupt the flow.

Finally, a few words actually have different meanings ''depending'' on the gender assigned to them. For example, ''el capital'' means capital as in money, but ''la capital'' means capital as in a capital city. However, there are a few words where gender doesn't matter: ''el mar'' and ''la mar'' both mean "the sea", although used in different contexts (''la mar'' usually sounds more poetic, and thus it's rarely used).

Pronouns in Spanish are used in a very similar fashion to English; however, subject pronouns are often omitted unless the sentence requires additional emphasis. This is done because the verb already says who is the one acting and the subject pronoun doesn't convey any further information. Addition of unnecessary pronouns easily gives away that the writer has not gone past a few years of Spanish. The sentence ''Hoy yo como en casa de mi madre'' (I'm eating at my mother's house today), for example, doesn't seem too fluent because of the first person pronoun ''yo''. The only commonly used subject pronouns are the third person ones, due to the ambiguity lacking a pronoun can sometimes cause, and ''yo'' in tenses where the first-person-singular and third-person-singular are identical (i.e., imperfect, conditional, and all subjunctive tenses). However, these are also often omitted if it's clear who the speaker is talking about.

Regarding ''tú'' and ''usted'' (the singular 2nd person pronouns), it really depends on where you are what pronoun you use in most situations. In Spain, for instance, ''usted'' is used mostly in formal speech (people who you don't know and/or are much older than you), while with anyone you already know or someone you meet and want to continue to meet in the future, you use ''tú,'' unless it's official business. In many Latin American countries, however, ''tú'' is seen as somewhat disrespectful by people who aren't your peers; business colleagues who have worked together for years will still use ''usted'' with each other. Note also that in several Latin American countries around the Rio de la Plata, as well as in parts of Central America, ''vos'' is used instead of ''tú.'' Argentina is the most popular example of this.

On ''vosotros'' and ''ustedes'' (the plural 2nd person pronouns) meanwhile, ''vosotros'' is used '''only''' in Spain, and following the same rule of thumb as with ''tú'' and ''usted'' (as in ''vosotros'' in casual speech and ''ustedes'' in formal speech). If you use it in Latin America, at best it sounds like "tally-ho, guvnah!" in the United States, but for the most part, it will usually sound like saying [[YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe "forsooth, ye art thou!"]] in Modern English. You can get away with it as a nonnative speaker, but try to stick to ''ustedes'' even if you're in full-blown ''ceceo'' mode (more on that later as well). Also in Spain itself people will always understand you (although it may sound a little weird to them if you manage to make friends with them) so it's a safe bet.

Of course, like any other language, Spanish has its area that makes nonnatives (and sometimes even natives) want to give themselves a lobotomy. In Spanish, like many other Romance languages, that would be verb conjugations.

The three possible verb endings are ''-ar'', ''-er'', and ''-ir.'' Each has its own conjugation patterns (now with 40% more irregulars!) for each tense, of which there are ''seventeen.'' Let's have a look at the conjugation tablets for three regular verbs of each type--''hablar (to speak), comer (to eat)'' and ''vivir (to live)''--in present tense, indicative mood:

* ''yo'': habl'''o''', com'''o''', viv'''o'''
* ''tú'': habl'''as''', com'''es''', viv'''es'''
* ''él/ella/usted'': habl'''a''', com'''e''', viv'''e'''
* ''nosotros/as'': habl'''amos''', com'''emos''', viv'''imos'''
* ''vosotros/as'': habl'''áis''', com'''éis''', viv'''ís'''
* ''ellos/ellas/ustedes'': habl'''an''', com'''en''', viv'''en'''

Having fun yet? And that's just one tense out of ''seventeen'', which are divided in three categories: Indicative (''indicativo'', which has ten tensese), Subjunctive (''subjuntivo'', which has six) and Imperative (''imperativo'', which has only one). Every single tense has a table like this. Oh, and to add to the fun, in the Rioplatense dialect (Argentina, Uruguay, etc.) the pronoun ''vos'' has its own separate conjugation! So instead of ''hablas,'' it's ''vos hablás.'' If you're really curious, here are the full conjugation tablets for the three verbs above: [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/hablar hablar]], [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/comer comer]], [[http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/vivir vivir]] (we have to confess, though: half the conjugations are composed forms and a few aren't even used).

The seventeen tenses, with usage notes, are as follows:

* Indicative (''indicativo''):
** Present (''presente''): ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. While the progressive form ''does'' exist in Spanish, it's much less commonly used; the basic present form is typically used instead. By far the most important tense.
** Preterite (''pretérito''): The "once" or "X times" past. Distinct from the imperfect. Also, unlike English, used to describe pictures and the like; to ask "What's she saying?" for a comic panel or somesuch would be ''"¿Qué '''dijo''' ella?"'' Also often used in speech to replace the perfect tense, somewhat akin to English, especially around the Rio de la Plata. In Spain, on the other hand, is not as commonly used. Only when the action described is considered to be in the relatively distant past.
** Imperfect (''imperfecto''): The "continuous" past. A tense of considerable importance. Some verbs only retain their past meaning in the imperfect and take on new meanings in the preterite; for example, ''"Yo ya '''sabía'''"'', (I already knew), but ''"'''Supe''' ayer"'' (I found out yesterday). Both forms are from ''saber,'' "to know." Also used for English past progressive, as in, "''El esclavo '''llevaba''' la jarra cuando la dejó caer."'' - "The slave was carrying the jug when he dropped it."
** Future (''futuro''): Describes [[CaptainObvious future events]]. Actually considered somewhat "high" speech, something like English "shall"; usually, the ''ir a'' + [infinitive] construction replaces it, like English "going to"/"gonna." Also used for certain statements regarding uncertainty or wondering, such as, ''"¿Qué hora '''será'''?"'', "What time could it be?"
** Conditional (''condicional''): Used to express things that would happen if a certain condition were met. For example: ''"Yo '''iría''' con ustedes, pero tengo que estudiar."'' (I would go with you guys, but I have to study.) If you didn't have to study, you'd be going with them, but you do, so you're not.
** Present perfect (''pretérito perfecto''): Essentially identical to the same tense in English; the best way to explain it is a "past action with present consequences." A compound tense, formed with a present tense form of ''haber.'' Often replaced by the preterite in casual speech in Latin American countries (in Spain too, although not as common). ''"Ya te '''he dicho''' lo que pienso."'' = ''"Ya te '''dije''' lo que pienso."'' "I [have] already told you what I think."
** Pluperfect (''pretérito pluscuamperfecto''): Again, essentially identical to the same tense in English. Used to describe something that had already happened before something else did. Another compound tense.
** Past anterior (''pretérito anterior''): Archaic, essentially replaced by the pluperfect, or in some cases the preterite.
** Future perfect (''futuro compuesto''): Used to express things that will have happened before something else does, essentially the same as in English, as you can see in this very sentence.
** Conditional perfect (''condicional compuesto''): Used to express a "hypothetical past action"; something that would have happened had a condition been met. Think of the last line every ScoobyDoo villain says: "And I '''would have''' gotten away with it if it weren't for YouMeddlingKids!" In Spanish, they would use the conditional perfect. (''"¡Y yo '''habría tenido''' éxito sin ustedes muchachos entrometidos!"'')
* Subjunctive (''subjuntivo'')
** Subjunctive present (''presente de subjuntivo''): [[ThisIsGonnaSuck Hoo boy.]] The subjunctive forms are used when dealing with something that is either a wish, uncertain, or just not necessarily real (which extends to a lot more things than you might think). It's virtually always in a clause with ''que''. The exact peculiarities of the subjunctive mood are very, very complicated, but suffice to say, if it has a ''que'' clause and you're not '''100%''' certain it's real, go with the subjunctive. The subjunctive present specifically is used when the preceding clause is in the present or future tense.
** Subjunctive imperfect (''imperfecto de subjuntivo''): The subtleties of the subjunctive mood were explained above. This one is used when the preceding clause is in the imperfect, preterite, conditional, or the present, past, and conditional perfects. Also used to express the condition used to fulfill the conditional tense: "''Yo comería si '''tuviera''' hambre.''" (I'd eat if I were hungry.) Notably, this has two conjugation variants: the nowadays more common one ends in ''-ra'', while the less common, more formal variant ends in ''-se''. ''Tuviera'' in the previous example could have been easily replaced by ''tuviese'' with no change in meaning.
** Subjunctive future (''futuro de subjuntivo''): Virtually obsolete, except in legalese. It used to be used when the preceding clause was in the future tense, which has been overtaken by the subjunctive present.
** Subjunctive present perfect (''pretérito perfecto de subjuntivo''): Used primarily to express subjunctive past actions when the the preceding clause was in the present tense.
** Subjunctive pluperfect (''pretérito pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo''): Used to express the condition of something for the conditional tense primarily.
** Subjunctive future prefect (''futuro compuesto de subjuntivo''): Obsolete entirely.
* Imperative (''imperativo''): Used to give commands. This is actually an incomplete tense; commands can obviously only be given to a "you," or as a "let's [do something]." For the ''tú'' and ''vosotros'' forms, there are actually two forms, affirmative and negative.

!!Spelling, Sounds, and the Like
Spanish's sound system and especially its orthography aren't that hard to get used to. Spelling gives all the info needed for pronunciation (the opposite is not always true, though) and each letter has one pronunciation (with the exception of c and g); you don't have the long vs. short vowel distinction that can cause a minor fiasco in some other languages like English.

There ''are'' digraphs, for the records.

* A: like ''father''
* E: between ''bed'' and ''bay''; more towards ''bay'' at the end of a word.
* I: like ''seem''
* O: like ''hole''
* U: like ''rude''

The following letters and digraphs are noticeably different from English pronunciation:
* B: Pronounced like a mishmash of ''w'', ''b'', and ''v'' between vowels.
* C: In Spain, before ''i'' or ''e'', pronounced like the ''th'' in ''think'' but drawn out like ''s''. In Latin America, it's ''s'' like in English. [[Music/TheOffspring Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, thinco, thinco, seis!]]
* CH: In most dialects, always like in ''match'', unless the word is foreign. In New Mexico, the Mexican state of Chihuahua and some parts of southern Spain, however, it's generally a ''sh'' sound.
* D: Between vowels, often pronounced like a soft, voiced ''th'', as in ''this''.
* G: Also before ''e'' or ''i'', this changes from the normal ''goat'' sound into, depending on the region, either the ''h'' in ''house'', the ''ch'' in ''loch'' or ''Bach'', or (especially in Spain) [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_uvular_fricative a voiceless uvular fricative]], which sounds like a voiceless French ''R''. Between vowels it is reduced to a very weak sound in virtually all dialects.
* GU: A hard g in front of ''e'' or ''i''; ''gw'' in all other cases (although the g is removed in some varieties).
* GÜ: Like ''gw''; used before ''e'' and ''i'' to indicate the ''u'' is not silent, as it normally would be per the above rule.
* H: Never, ever said except in loanwords. It's written mostly to prevent two vowels being next to each other when unnecessary (like in ahogandose, pronounced ow-gan-doe-say).
* J: Same as the soft G pronunciation. If you ever see Hispanics on Website/{{Facebook}} typing "jajajaja", this is why.
* LL: Its ''canonical'' pronunciation is rather like the Italian ''gl'' as in ''figlio''. However, in most dialects the pronunciation has become like the ''y'' in ''year'' or like the J in "jail" (oddly enough, the only strong hold-out of the primitive pronunciation is Catalonia, where the same sound is an important part of the Catalan language and its standard accent). In the area around Rio de La Plata, instead, it's pronounced as the ''sh'' in ''show'' or the ''s'' in ''measure'', in Guatemala, it becomes a sound somewhere between i and j, and in New Mexico, it's generally omitted entirely, such that ''ellos'' becomes ''éos.''
** In dialects of Catalan (Català, Aragonés, Valenciana, Menorquinés, etc.) there is the ligature ĿL, which signifies two 'L's next to each other that should be pronounced like two British 'l's: one ending its syllable and the second starting the next, instead of the standard double l sound as in Spanish. As it's only used in the middle of words, you'll only see it as "ŀl" or "l·l". That dot in the middle is called an interpunct.
** The word llama seems to have three different translations into English. "Llama": the [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness domesticated South American Camelid]]. Llama as a conjugation that can mean "he calls" or "You, call!". And "llama" as in "Flame". [[note]]This is the CatchPhrase of [[ComicBook/FantasticFour The Human Torch]], Saying "¡llamas a mí! Loosely meaning "Flames, come to me!"[[/note]]
* QU: Always a ''k''. "Quiero que el queso se quede" is pronounced "Kyero ke el keso se kede." (Incidentally, that means "I want the cheese to stay.")
* R: Flapped, as in the d's in ''pudding''. Being otaku helps here: it's the same Japanese phoneme that is romanized as an "r". However, when it follows a consonant or it's the first letter of a word, then it reads as...
* RR: The famous "rolled r," as in the ridiculously exaggerated ''[[TrrrillingRrrs ¡Arrrrrrrrrrrriba!]]'' Think making a machine gun noise with your mouth. If you don't get it right, don't worry too much. This is one of the most difficult sounds for nonnatives, and natives usually understand that. In some parts of Central and South America it is often not pronounced like the standard, some people pronounce it like almost like the "s" in "pressure", while in other people it comes close to an English r. In several Caribbean dialects, it becomes a guttural ''ch'' (like ''loch'' or ''Bach'').
* S: In Latin America this sounds just like in English, while in European pronunciation it may sound like "sh" at first, but it actually is a sound between "s" and "sh" that takes some time to learn to make. However, in most Latin American dialects (Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica being notables exceptions) as well as in southern Spain, "s" is often turned into an "h" sound, or even omitted entirely, when it comes before a consonant or at the end of the a word.[[note]]As in, "[[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Tú cre' que en otro' lado' lah alga' ma' werde' son...]]", or in Andrés Manuel López Obrador's famously attributed quote, "¡Ehto é un compló!"[[/note]]
* SH: According to the RAE, this digraph is pronounced like an "s", because the H is mute. In Latin America, due to influence from the superpowerful USA, this digraph is pronounced like an English "sh". You will also hear the "sh" phoneme in places like Argentina, where LL and Y are pronounced this way, or Chihuahua, Mexico, where the CH is slurred into a "sh".
* V: Pronounced like a ''b''; Spanish doesn't distinguish, although they are pronounced more like the English ''v'' between vowels.
* X: In standard Spanish it's always pronounced as in "ax." But Spaniards used it to represent several different sounds on Aztec and Mayan languages, so in {{Mayincatec}} words that crossed over to Mexican Spanish it can be read like "s", "sh", "j" (That's how you should pronounce it "Mexico", by the way) and also "x".
* Y: Pronounced like LL in most dialects, and like "sh" in the Rioplatense dialect. When ending a word, like a semiconsonantal i. (''rey'', "king," is read as "ray")
* Z: Pronounced, again only in Spain, as a "th." In Latin America it's an S.

While we're on the ''z'' and ''c'' sounds...

!!Lithpth and Shoshos: Spanish Dialects and Accents
The biggest contrast among the dialects is between the Spanish spoken in Spain[[labelnote:*]]usually referred to as "Castilian Spanish", "European Spanish" or "peninsular Spanish," because "Spanish Spanish" just sounds stupid[[/labelnote]] and Latin American Spanish. This is best seen in two features, ''ceceo/seseo'' and the ''vosotros'' pronoun and conjugation.

''Ceceo'' and ''seseo'' refer to how soft ''c'' and ''z'' are pronounced in various regions. As noted above, in Spain, those two letters are pronounced like an English unvoiced ''th'' ("ceceo"). In Latin America, they pronounced both as an ''s'' (seseo), which makes learning English phonology slightly more difficult, but also is more intuitive to English speakers learning Spanish. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some regions in Spain, especially in the South, where ''all'' "s" sounds are pronounced like ''th'', even standalone S's. So you get things like, ''"¡Por favor, Theñor Jueth, no mande uthted mi hijo a prithión!"'' [[labelnote:*]]Please, Mr. Judge, don't send my son to prison! In normal spelling: "Por favor, Señor Juez, no mande usted mi hijo a prisión"[[/labelnote]] Thus the famous "Spaniard lisp," that you see in lots of Creator/AntonioBanderas movies (him being from Málaga, in Southern Spain).

In Spain, however, ''ceceo'' gets a different meaning. As the ''th'' pronounciation is spread all over the country, the term ''ceceo'' is reserved for the example above in which all the ''s'' are also replaced by ''th''. Pronouncing the sounds differently, which would be considered ''ceceo'' in Latin America, is called ''distinción'' (distinction) in Spain.[[labelnote:*]]In certain parts of the Spanish region of Andalusia, one can find ''seseo'', ''ceceo'' and ''distinción'' speakers just a few kilometres away.[[/labelnote]]
For instance, regarding the words ''casa'' (house) and ''caza'' (hunt):

* For a ''seseo'' speaker, both are pronounced ''casa''.
* For a total ''ceceo'' speaker, both are pronounced "''catha''".
* For a ''distinción'' speaker, they're pronounced ''casa'' and "''catha''", respectively.

The other major difference is the ''vosotros'' pronoun. It is used only in Spain, replaced by ''ustedes'' in all of Latin America, though a few isolated areas retain the conjugation but not the pronoun itself. As explained before, ''vosotros'' is the second person, plural, familiar register pronoun, essentially a plural ''tú'', and enjoys common usage in Spain, but in Latin America sounds like a thick South London accent and dialect would in the US.

There is a special pronoun that is used in some areas of South America, however, which is amusingly ''derived'' from ''vosotros'', ''vos''. This dialect is known as ''voseo'', and is used primarily in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Colombia, and is popular in some Central American countries and the southernmost regions of Mexico. The conjugation of the ''vos'' pronoun is a modified form of the ''vosotros'' conjugation, resulting in ''tú puedes'' becoming ''vos podés'' (compare ''vosotros podéis'')[[labelnote:*]]The stem doesn't change from o->ue here because the stem only changes if the stress is on that syllable; the stress is moved here to the second syllable and thus the stem change doesn't occur[[/labelnote]]. (Except in Chile, which uses a different conjugation of ''vos'', with the verb ''poder'' becoming ''vos podí'' or ''vos podéi'')

''Voseo'' happens to be one of the features of the Rioplatense dialect, which takes its name from the Rio de la Plata, the area where it's spoken; this is mainly the countries of Argentina and Uruguay. The other main features of the dialect are the consonantal shift of ''y'' and ''ll'' to either a ''sh'' or ''zh'' (mea'''s'''ure) sound, hence the "Shoshos" (Yoyos) of the title, resulting in ''ayer'' sounding like "ah-SHARE" or "ah-ZHARE" instead of "ah-YAIR"; and also the almost entire elimination of the present perfect tense, which enjoys some usage in most other areas.

In the United States, meanwhile, there is a native Spanish dialect spoken in New Mexico and Colorado by ''neomexicanos'', descendants of Spanish settlers who lived there before the annexation of the Southwest by the States. Generally called New Mexican Spanish, it preserves several features of Early Modern Spanish lost in most other varieties, such as ''ser'' being conjugated in the first person as ''yo seigo'', rather than ''yo soy'', and ''haiga'' rather than ''haya'' being the subjunctive of ''haber''. It suffered a decline in the 20th century as English came to dominate, but the recent influx of Latino immigrants has ensured the dialect's survival. English has left an unmistakable mark on the dialect, however, and many words are of English origin adapted into Spanish phonology, e.g. ''troca'' for "truck" rather than ''camioneta.''

!!Acentos y tildes: ¡un montón de ñaña! Aparte, ¿qué pasó con la puntuación?
One famous feature of Spanish orthography is its diacritics, specifically acute accents and tildes. The acute accents, unlike some other languages, such as Hungarian or Polish, where they distinguish sounds, accents in Spanish are used only to mark stress or to distinguish homonyms. You'll notice, however, that it's not marked on every word, the rules for the marking are very straightforward, so if you learn them, as mentioned before, the spelling gives you all the information for pronunciation. The words are divided as:
* '''Agudas (Acute)''': They have the accent on the last syllable. Are marked when they end in ''n'', ''s'', or vowel. Examples: Calor, Beber, Sudor, Lombriz, Camión, Jamás, Rubí, Café
* '''Llanas/Graves (Graves)''': They have the accent on the second-to-last syllable. Are marked when they end in consonant different than ''n'' or ''s''. Examples. Guerra, Gato, Radio, Flores, Lápiz, Árbol, Cárcel, Difícil, Azúcar.
* '''Esdrújulas (Em...[[ElNinoIsSpanishForTheNino Esdrujulas?]])''': They have the accent on the third-to-last syllable. They are always marked. Examples: Brújula, Bélgica, Séptimo, Máximo, Ejército, Hígado, Pájaro.

Besides the acute accent, Spanish is also famous for the ''eñe'' letter, "ñ." This is pronounced approximately[[labelnote:*]]You make the ñ by pronouncing a n and a y simultaneously. It's easier than it sounds, really.[[/labelnote]] like "ny," so "ñoño" above would be pronounced "nyonyo" (a Mexican word that more or less means "nerd") For another example, the English word "canyon" is derived from the Spanish "cañón."

Also used is the letter "ü", with the diaeresis. It is used to distinguish between "gue"/"gui" and "güe"/"güi", where in the latter, the "u" is not silent. Compare ''guitarra'' (guitar) and ''pingüino'' (penguin), and ''guerra'' (war) and ''nicaragüense'' (Nicaraguan).

Another difference of Spanish punctuation is their disuse of quotation marks. Dialogue is denoted by long "em" dashes (—), and quotes and phrases are surrounded by «comillas angulares.», or angular quotes, used in most Romance languages. If you're from the Americas this might come as a bit of a surprise for you, because despite being the actually correct ones as specified by the RAE, «angular quotes» are in practice pretty much exclusive to Spain; in Latin America, everybody uses American English "quotation marks".

Decimal separators also depend on the region. In Spain and some countries in Latin America, the thousands separator is a period and the fractional separator is a comma (ten thousand and a half in Spain = 10.000,5); while in other parts of Latin America, just like in American English, the thousands separator is a comma and the fractional separator is a period (ten thousand and a half in Mexico = 10,000.5).

But perhaps the most famous feature of Spanish orthography is the inverted question mark (or "interrogation point," for any Brits reading this) and exclamation point. Like just about any feature of language, this has its uses—it helps isolate the question or exclamation in a compound sentence, for example—but these two marks are so rare among languages that they're often simply called [[BuffySpeak "that Spanish upside-down thing."]]

The title of this section, incidentally, means "Accents and Tildes: A Load of Crap! Also, what happened with the punctuation?"

!!No molestar - False Friends, Swear Words, and Other Things
The nature of semantic drift naturally ensures that [[InMyLanguageThatSoundsLike "false]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_friend friends"]] will arise. Probably the most famous, as shown above, is ''molestar'', which is a perfectly innocent and mundane word in Spanish meaning "bother," but obviously means something more... extreme in English. This really isn't that difficult, but an English speaker who's sort of half-listening may still be caught off guard by a phrase such as, ''Aunque él me molestaba, yo le amaba todavía.'' ("Even though he '''bothered''' me, I still loved him." We're not talking StockholmSyndrome here). Funnily enough, this can also happen with spanish speaking natives when trying to speak english ("Teacher, teacher! He's '''molesting''' me!")

Another potentially hilarious false friend is ''embarazar'', the opposite situation of ''molestar''; it means "impregnate," not "embarrass," which in Spanish is ''avergonzar'' or ''humillar'' (lit. "shame" or "humiliate"). This led to a rather famous case of BiteTheWaxTadpole where a pen company advertised their product with the slogan, "It won't leak in your pocket and get you pregnant." One has to wonder [[{{Squick}} exactly what sort of ink such a pen would be using...]]

But the most irritating false friends have to be the troll pair of ''atender'' and ''asistir.'' They sound like English "attend" and "assist" respectively, so you'd think this would be easy, right? Wrong. ''Atender'' means "to assist"...and ''asistir'' means "to attend"![[labelnote:*]]Although you can follow the logic of atender = assist if you keep in mind the secondary meaning of "attend," as in, "attend to the injured."[[/labelnote]]

And on top of that, we have ''region-specific false friends'': "bizarro", according to the RAE, actually means either "brave" or "generous"... but that's only in Spain, because in Latin America, where the language is influenced by American English, "bizarro" ''is'' usually taken to mean "bizarre"!

Now for the good stuff, though: profanity! We've saved the best for last. Here are all the expressions you need to know to know when to hit someone (when they're said to you) or duck (when you say them). Also convenient for use [[ForeignCussWord in non-Spanish-speaking circles]].

* ''Mierda'' = Shit (chances are you already knew this one). In Spain can also translate as "Damn!" as an interjection.
* ''Cojones''[[labelnote:*]]Not "cajones", although non-native speakers sometimes confuse the two. Saying that someone has a lot of cajones means that they have a lot of drawers.[[/labelnote]]= Spain only. The more profane word for balls, the usual ones being ''huevos'' (which is also the word for eggs) and ''pelotas'' (which actually means "balls"). Quite a few expresions arise from this one: the verb ''acojonar(se)'' means "to (get) scare(d)" and is genrally used to remark how much of a coward the guy who got scared is. ''Cojonudo'' roughly translates to "fucking good". The expression ''tocar los cojones'' (literally "touching the balls") can either mean "to be a lazy fuck" or "to piss someone off" depending on whether the metaforical balls belong to the person touching them or not. Calling someone a ''mosca cojonera'' (balls-y fly) implies that they are as annoying as, well, having a fly in the balls.
* ''Carajo'' = An interjection roughly equivalent to damn, fuck, or in some cases hell. In Venezuela, along with the interjection use, is also used as a sightly more vulgar equivalent of "dude", even having a female and a diminutive version to refer to women and small children. "Estar del carajo", however,. means that something/someone is doing very well. May or may not also mean dick in some places.
* ''Cabrón'' = "big goat", but meaning "cuckold", equates to asshole, fucker or bastard. Can be used casually among friends, but don't use it with strangers.
* ''Capullo'' = "cocoon" and (amusingly enough) slang for "prepuce" or "foreskin". In Spain, it's practically synonym for "Cabrón", although "¡Eres un capullo!" would more accurately translate to "You're a dick!".
* ''Pendejo''= "pubic hair", roughly idiot or jackass, with an added connotation of willful incompetence. Rarely used in Spain, and much, much stronger in Puerto Rico. Also a derogative word for a young person in Chile and Argentina, and for a particularly dumb or mean person in Mexico. There was a scandal in Venezuela when the late politician and intelectual Arturo Uslar Pietri used the word on a TV interview in 1989 to refer to honest everymen., not because the meaning but because at the time the word was considered too strong for broadcasting (while in real life it is relatively mild).
* ''Joder'' = Fuck (used rather like it is in English; ''estamos jodidos'' means "we're fucked."). Almost never conjugated in anything but past participle (The expletive "fuck!" would simply be ''joder!'' and "That fucking test" would be ''Ese jodido examen'', although most would say ''puto'' or something similar instead). "Fuck you!" would be translated as ''¡Jódete!'' or ''¡Que te jodan!''. It is also a vulgar word for ''bother'' (compare "fuck with"), specially in Latin América.
* ''Chingar'' = Fuck. Almost an exact synonym for joder, but used most often in Mexico, whereas joder is practically a comma for the Spanish.
* ''Follar'' = Synonym for "fuck" as a verb, although only when it refers to the specific biological act of intercourse. Extremely vulgar, not usually heard outside of Spain, since most swear-worthy situations are covered by ''joder'' or ''chingar''. ''"¡Que te follen!"'' would be an alternative translation for "Fuck you!".
* ''¿Qué diablos?'' or ''¿Qué demonios?'' = What the hell? (Lit. "What devils?" or "What demons?"). It's a bit of GoshDangItToHeck .
* ''Maldito/a'' = (God)damn (again, rather used like in English; can be either an interjection or adjective). Unlike the English equivalent, this word is soft enough to be used in Television for the youth slot in most Latin American countries.
* ''Maldición'' = Literally "malediction" or "curses", but more commonly translated as "damnit" or similar. Also soft enough for TV.
* ''Malparido/a'' = Something like saying the person wasn't born right or in the right way. Similar in the usage to the English word "Bastard".
* ''Tomar'' = Slang for drinking spirit; literally, "take" (only used in Latin America: Spain just says ''beber'', i.e. "drink", with no real slang word for it). Completely innocuous for most situations, such as photography (Tomar unas fotos). An important exception would be taking a person to a place, for which the verb "llevar" is used. "Tomé a mi hermana al prom", for example, means you and your sister have some explaining to do.
* ''Puto/a'' = The female form "puta" means "whore", or more generally "bitch"; "hijo de puta" equates to "son of a bitch." Beware of this in Spain, since it's the worst insult you can say to a person. The male form "puto", on the other hand, is a very offensive word for "gay" (Think "faggot".) when applied to people, and something more akin to "goddamned" when applied to objects or situations.
* ''Coger'' = Literally "get or take" but has evolved into "fuck" in most Latin American countries. In Spain, however, it has maintained the literal meaning and is an incredibly common word, which sometimes can cause misunderstandings between Spaniards and Latin Americans. For instance: ''cogí una magdalena'' means "I took a muffin" in Spain, but "I fucked a muffin" in Latin America. ''Recoger'' is the non-profane version (which in Spain means something similar to "pick up").
* ''Cagar'' = The verb form of "shit". Often used to construct colorful oaths like ''¡Me cago en la leche!'' ("I shit in the milk!"), ''¡Me cago en la puta!'' ("I shit in the bitch!"), or even more colorful (only in Spain, and not commonly used), ''¡Me cago en la puta de oros!'' (which is a reference to Spanish playing cards, and when adapted to English cards, it would be something like "I shit in the Jack of Diamonds!"). ''Mecagüen!'' and ''Me cahis en la mar!'' are the GoshDangItToHeck versions of this. If you want to use these oaths to insult a person in particular, you can use ''me cago en la cara de tu padre!'' ("I shit in your father's face!"), ''me cago en tu puta madre!'' (I shit in your fucking mother!") or ''me cago en todos tus muertos!'' ("I shit in all of your dead relatives!"). ''Cagada'' means "shitty" or "full of shit". In some countries also a slang word for "reprimand", ex: "''El profe me cagó por lo del comedor''" meaning "The teacher reprimanded me for the cafeteria incident". In Spain, a ''cagada'' is something embarrassing, normally used to describe something someone has said with the intention of being funny (but isn't). This is different from "''cagarsele a alguien''" which literally means "to shit on someone" and which basically means to insult somebody with all you've got, and also from "''cagarse''" which is slang for being scared in some countries. ''Me cago en Dios'' ("I shit in God") is still heard in certain areas of Spain, even by religious people, but it's better not to say it if you're in front of someone who is really religious and might get seriously offended.
* ''Coño'' = CountryMatters. Although it's not nearly as offensive as that word is in English (ESPECIALLY in North America), and it's never used to describe a person, but rather as an interjection. "¿Qué coño ___?" equates to "What the fuck ___?" in peninsular Spanish (see note below on profanity in Spain). Saying that a person is "un coño de madre/un coño de su madre" means not that they're ''that'' part of their mother anatomy, but that the person is a bastard, and the expression "¡El coño de tu madre!" ''is'' a direct insult, in some places being even worse than calling the person "Hijo de puta". There is also the derivate word "coñazo", that in Spain means something among bothersome or annoying (as in "esa persona es un coñazo", that person is very annoying) but in Venezuela means "beating" (Te voy a meter un coñazo = I'm going to hit you hard). Nowdays, Spain is the only country that still uses the word on its original sexual context: the rest of the Spanish speaking countries simply see it as another vulgar interjection.
* ''Culo'' = Ass, used in pretty much the same situations as in English and then some more. ''De mi culo'' is "my ass" in some Latin American countries. A father of a teenage daughter, when she says where she goes with her date, may say ''"'Vamos al cine' de mi culo."'' ("'We're going to the movies' my ass."). In Spain it's also used in the construction "de culo" for "screwed"; ''"Vamos de culo"'' can mean "We're screwed." Venezuelan males also use the term to refer to a one-night stand or someone they have a superficial sex-based relationship (but never saying it in front of the person); "ese un culo que me levanté anoche" means "a girl I picked up last night".
* ''Pajero'' = Wanker/douchebag/jackoff. Mitsubishi fortunately avoided [[BiteTheWaxTadpole biting the wax tadpole]] on this one and sold their model as "Montero" (mountaineer) in Latin America. In Chile it's also a pejorative term for a lazy and/or slow person: "Apúrate, pajero!" would mean "Hurry up, stupid slouch!"
* ''Polla'' = Literally a female chicken, but usually used to mean "dick". ''¡Chupame la polla!'' means "Suck my dick!"
* ''Gilipollas'' = One of the most common insults in Spain, and nowhere else. It doesn't have a literal translation, but the "-pollas" at the end comes from where you think it comes from. It would be a rough equivalent to "dumbass", although somewhat more offensive akin to "asshole". This word also has an UnusualEuphemism version in "gilipuertas", which subtitutes "pollas" ("dicks") with "puertas" ("doors"). In Catalonia (North East of Spain) it's also used the short form ''"Gilí"'', which is considered a kinda "softer" version of the word.
* ''Arrecho'': In some countries, it means horny. In Venezuela and Colombia, however, it means "furious" when applied to people, and "spectacular" when applied to objects (to wit. "Estoy arrecho": I'm furious, "Soy arrecho": I'm awesome).

An interesting note about Spanish is the frequency of ClusterFBomb in common speech, particularly in Spain. Spanish speakers tend to use stronger swear words and use them more often. The prevalence of this in Spain is said to be due to the Franco regime's oppressive enforcement of clean-mouthed-ness; when that regime fell in the late 1970s, people began cussing left, right, and center. By far the most common word is "joder", the proper inflection and placement of which takes practice, said by everybody from chavales (boys, preteens), to abuelitas (little old ladies). Truly offensive peninsular profanity relies on blasphemy and creativity. ''Hostias'', or "host" (as in sacrament) is somewhat more offensive than "joder", while ''Me cago en Dios y las tetas de la Virgen'' (I shit upon God and the Virgin Mary's tits) means you probably just amputated something. (In this sense, Spaniards are like the Québecois, whose primary form of swearing is listing items from church.) [[VulgarHumor Overly agressive or profane]] swearing ([[UpToEleven even moreso than these latter examples]]) is possible, but rare and mostly used in derivative works for comedic effect, such as "Te voy a sacar los putos ojos y me voy a mear en los agujeros para que te escueza"[[labelnote:*]]"I'm going to gouge your fucking eyes out and piss in the holes till it burns[[/labelnote]]. Spaniard are perceived as more profane than Latin Americans, not because this is fundamentally true but because there is more swearing on Spanish TV (even on family-oriented shows), while most Latin American countries [[MoralGuardians enforce cleaner language]] on media to very ridiculous extremes (where even GoshDangItToHeck can be considered too much).