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Languages of the Spanish World



Languages of the Spanish World
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.47

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    predominant, russian, catholic, better, founded, finding, civilization, advancement, religion, obscure, tourist, conduct, government, salary, result, border
     content words:    Central America, South America, New World, Yucatan Peninsula, United States, Nueva Escandinavia, New Scandinavia, Baja California, Mexico City, Kickapoo Indians


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Languages of the Spanish World
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The most predominant Hispanic language is, of course, Spanish. When the conquistadors conquered the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Central America, and South America, they insisted that the natives learn to speak Spanish. Catholic priests were brought to the New World to teach religion and language. About one and a half million Mexicans are still able to speak Nahuatl and Mayan. Nahuatl was the language used by the Aztec civilization. Mayan was spoken by the Maya people of the Yucatan Peninsula. More obscure native languages such as Lacandon are spoken by much smaller numbers of people.
 
2     English is spoken by many Hispanics for business purposes. Having a good knowledge of the English language can lead to job advancement or raises in salary for Hispanics working in some companies. People living in areas close to the United States border or in high tourist areas also find knowledge of the English language beneficial. Many private schools in Mexico conduct their classes in both Spanish and English.
 
3     Certain areas of Mexico and Central America have been settled by specific European groups. For instance, the present day city of Chipilo, Mexico, was founded in 1882 by immigrants from Venice, Italy. These people adopted many of the traditions of the Mexican people. They also merged many of their words with the Mexican words. What resulted is a special dialect recognized in other parts of Mexico as the "Veneto" dialect.

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