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Difference Between Latin and Spanish

Since time immemorial, terms have been evolving, and nomenclature has been one of the affected fields. Due to different factors like immigration, colonization, and close marriages, terms like Latin American and Spanish Americans have come into existence.

The terms Spanish Americans evolved during the 19th Century and gave way to the “Spanish-Speakers” and “Spanish-surnamed” terms. This happened for most of the 19th and 20th Centuries until the Hispanic term was officially introduced in 1970.

Latin, on the other hand, is widely viewed as inherently condescending. It emerged as a politically correct term around the 1990s and has come to replace an array of words that were used to describe Hispanics born in the US. These terms include Chicano and Mexican American.

The explanations above lead to the question, what is the difference between Latin and Spanish? Both are Indo-European languages, and it’s important to note that Spanish is derived from Latin. Also, Latin is usually considered as a dead language, but Spanish is considered as a living language that is used in many countries across the globe.


Definition of Latin

Latin is an abbreviation for Latin American. Latinoamericano can also be used in Spanish, as one word, and refers to people who were born in Latin America but later migrated to the United States. Regardless of a Latin’s immigration status, they are regarded as foreign-born workers who speak English as a foreign language and lack cultural fluency.


Definition of Spanish

Spanish is a term that relates to Spain, her people, and their language. As a noun, it refers to the main language that is spoken in Spain and much of South and Central Americas (except Brazil).


Definition of Hispanic

The term Hispanic is used to refer to a person of Iberian or Latin American ancestry but fluent in Spanish. The term is mainly used along the Eastern seaboard and is favored by people of South American and Caribbean ancestry or origins. For a Hispanic, English or Spanish can be their “native” language.


Differences Between Latin and Hispanic

  1. The Origin of Latin and Hispanic

The Latin language has its origin from Latium in Italy while Spanish has its roots in Castile, Spain.

  1. Alphabet

The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan alphabet while the Spanish one is derived from a Latin script.

  1. Connection

The Latin language is older than Spanish while the Spanish language is derived from Vulgar Latin.

  1. Native Language of Latin and Hispanic

Latin was highly adopted in the past but not used as a native language anymore while Spanish is nowadays used as a native language by hundreds of millions of people across the world.

  1. Grammar

The Latin language is a highly inflected one while Spanish is a relatively inflected language.

  1. Existence

Since Latin is not commonly used in the day to day life, it is considered as a dead language. It is also not as developing as other modern languages. Spanish, on the other hand, is regarded as a living language. It has kept on developing and is now referred to as a modern language.

Latin Vs. Spanish: Comparison Table


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1 Comment

  1. Thank you this is very helpful for me as I always wanted to know the difference between these two languages. God bless you

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References :

[0]""Hispanic" Vs. "Latino" Vs "Latin"". Hispaniceconomics.Com, 2018, http://www.hispaniceconomics.com/overviewofushispanics/hispaniclatinolatin.html. Accessed 27 Nov 2018.

[1]"The Differences Between Latin American Spanish And Spanish In Spain - ESL Language Studies Abroad". ESL Language Studies Abroad, 2018, https://blog.esl-languages.com/blog/learn-languages/differences-latin-american-spanish-spanish-spain/. Accessed 27 Nov 2018.

[2]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b6/UCB_Basic_Latin.png/880px-UCB_Basic_Latin.png

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:District_celebrates_Hispanic_Heritage_Month_(10601934644).jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Useful_Spanish_Travel_Phrases_Word_Cloud.jpg

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