The Story of Spanish

The Story of Spanish

Book - 2013
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Just how did a dialect spoken by a handful of shepherds in Northern Spain become the world's second most spoken language, the official language of twenty-one countries on two continents, and the unofficial second language of the United States? Jean-Beno#65533;t Nadeau and Julie Barlow, the husband-and-wife team who chronicled the history of the French language in The Story of French , now look at the roots and spread of modern Spanish. Full of surprises and honed in Nadeau and Barlow's trademark style, combining personal anecdote, reflections, and deep research, The Story of Spanish is the first full biography of a language that shaped the world we know, and the only global language with two names--Spanish and Castilian.

The story starts when the ancient Phoenicians set their sights on "The Land of the Rabbits," Spain's original name, which the Romans pronounced as Hispania . The Spanish language would pick up bits of Germanic culture, a lot of Arabic, and even some French on its way to taking modern form just as it was about to colonize a New World. Through characters like Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus, Cervantes, and Goya, The Story of Spanish shows how Spain's Golden Age, the Mexican Miracle, and the Latin American Boom helped shape the destiny of the language. Other, more somber episodes, also contributed, like the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of Spain's Jews, the destruction of native cultures, the political instability in Latin America, and the dictatorship of Franco.

The Story of Spanish shows there is much more to Spanish than tacos, flamenco, and bullfighting. It explains how the United States developed its Hispanic personality from the time of the Spanish conquistadors to Latin American immigration and telenovelas . It also makes clear how fundamentally Spanish many American cultural artifacts and customs actually are, including the dollar sign, barbecues, ranching, and cowboy culture. The authors give us a passionate and intriguing chronicle of a vibrant language that thrived through conquests and setbacks to become the tongue of Pedro Almod#65533;var and Gabriel Garc#65533;a M#65533;rquez, of tango and ballroom dancing, of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : St. Martin's Press, 2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312656027
Branch Call Number: 460.9 NADEAU
Characteristics: xiii, 428 p. : maps ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Barlow, Julie 1968-


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Sep 02, 2018

I really enjoyed this book -- and felt that it opened up a whole new understanding of the Spanish language, culture and thinking. Highly recommended.

Feb 04, 2017

Their books about French are great, but this one about Spanish misses the mark I'm afraid. However, it is not nearly as bad as the other comment claims. The authors are French speakers, and Spanish is just not native territory for them. They try to use the same format as their book The Story Of French, but this book doesn't seem to have the same passion for the language as they have with French. It is very informative though, with many insights into the formation of the language, especially on the French influence on Spain and the Spanish.

Nov 16, 2015

Far too long, badly written, full of mistakes; authors are not language experts, not even journalists.


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