The languages currently spoken in the Iberian Peninsula are divided into two groups of different origins and of very unequal extension; the one is formed by the Basque (see Baschi: Lingua), a leftover of one of the primitive languages of Spain, the other composed of various related languages: Galician-Portuguese in O., Catalan-Valencian in E., and, in the center, various dialects very similar to each other, designated by name of Castilian, if they are opposed to others of the peninsula, or of Spanish, if we speak of this idiom in relation to foreign languages. This second group is all derived from Latin. Of Basque, spoken in Spain in a part of the Basque Provinces and Navarre, it is easy to establish the limits, because between it and the Latin languages that surround it there is an abrupt separation without intermediate degrees of transition. This is not the case for the other languages of the northern part of the peninsula: the commonality of origin and their formation in a multitude of neighboring centers mean that the series of traits that constitute them does not have a common and unique limit. However, among the many characteristic features of the different neo-Latin dialects of Spain there is one especially differential, and it is that the diphthongization of Accented Latin ĕ and ŏ, common to all Romance languages, is missing and in Galician-Portuguese and, except for special conditions, in Catalan. In this respect we can say that the limits that separate Castilian, or, to speak more precisely, Leonese, which is one of its dialects, from Galician-Portuguese do not coincide with the limits of the Galician provinces, but go further east.
Continuing further to Spain we observe the opposite, as regards the Leonese. Not even the limits between Castilian or Aragonese, its dialect, and Catalan-Valencian coincide with those of the respective provinces: Catalan penetrates into the three Aragonese provinces, while the opposite occurs in the kingdom of Valencia: Aragonese and Castilian penetrate far to the east.
According to SOURCEMAKEUP.COM, the Castilian spoken in the central region of Spain became the literary language and expanded considerably with the reconquest of the territories invaded by the Arabs and with the colonization of America; in fact, among the languages derived from Latin it is the one that reached the greatest diffusion and is one of the most propagated in the world.
Origin and development. – The Spanish language was born in the ancient county of Castile (Old Castile), and is already beginning to show itself in writing in the 10th and 11th centuries. Its first literary monument that is preserved is of the century. XII, the Cantar dell mio Cid (around 1140), but undoubtedly the epic poetry, to which this work belongs, had flourished much earlier in Castile. In the century XIII Alfonso el Sabio wanted the main sciences and arts of the Latins and Orientals to be expressed in Castilian. In the century XIV this language had two great stylists: the infant Don Juan Manuel and the Archpriest de Hita. In 1492 Antonio de Nebrija published the first of modern grammars, the Gramatica de la lengua castellana.La Celestina, a masterful work that soon spread throughout Europe, and in the first half of the century. XVI different writers, including Antonio de Guevara, influenced with their style on that of other foreign languages. In 1536 Charles V solemnly adopted Spanish as the universal language of politics in an assembly held in the presence of Pope Paul III. Since then the spread of Castilian gradually increased and came to exercise literary hegemony in Europe between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, so much so that, especially in Italy and France, it was the fashionable language among cultured and elegant people. During this time the Spaniard was enriched by Don Quijote, which is one of the culminating works of world literature. The decline, which began already in the century. XVII, it was accentuated in the XVIII with the invasion of Gallicism. However, this French influence was also responsible for the foundation of the Spanish Academy (1714) which, with its dictionary and grammar, contributed a lot to fix the language.
Pronunciation and spelling. – The pronunciation of Spanish vowels is usually of medium amplitude, which does not arrive, p. eg, neither at the opening degree of the è French in première, nor at the closing degree of the é in chanté ; but there are in Spanish and and oropen and closed, but between them there is less difference than the aforementioned, and such gradation does not go so far as to give different meanings to groups of identical sounds in the rest, indeed the speaker is not aware of the difference in these vowels and does not even perceive it. Although the script does not indicate nasal vowels, as it does in Portuguese, they also exist in Castilian, especially between two nasal consonants and before a clustered nasal consonant.
In the pronunciation of consonants there are some varieties that the Latin alphabet is insufficient to express.