Castellano o español?

Controversy around the terms “Español” and “Castellano”

Our language was first named “castellana” because it originated in the Spanish region of Castilla (Castiella: The castles). Its spread throughout the world was to start the expansionist policy of the Catholic Kings, Fernando and Isabel, who endorsed the project financially that Columbus had. In addition, as part of that policy in 1492, a scholar of the Court, Antomio de Nebrija, at the request of Queen Elizabeth published the (first) Grammar of the Spanish Language, “Gramática de la lengua castellana”.  But when this language was formalized as the national language, later, became known as  “Español”.

There is some controversy over the name of the language, the term “español” is relatively recent and is not supported by many bilingual speakers of the Spanish State, because they understand that  the name “español” includes in the meaning of that term other languages such as Valencian, Galician, Catalan and Basque languages. These languages, in turn, are considered official in the territory of their respective regions. Bilingual people intend to return to the older denomination that had the language: “castellano”, understood as ‘language of Castilla’ .

However in the Latin American countries people have kept the name “Castellano” and do not pose particular difficulty in understanding “castellano” and “español” as synonyms. In the first papers after the founding of the Royal Spanish Academy, its members agree using the term “Lengua española”.

Call back the language “castellano” would represent a return to origins.

On the other hand, if the Spanish people can name their language as “Castellano” ,  why could not do the same Argentines, Venezuelans, Mexicans and Panamanians, and appoint their respective languages “Argentinean language”, “Venezuela’s language,” “Mexican language” or ” Panamanian language “, to name a few. This could mean the first step in the fragmentation of a language, by number of speakers is in third place among the world’s languages. In Spain also speak Catalan and Galician languages with a Romanesque trunk, and Basque, of disputed origin.
What do the Real Academia Española say about this?

Prescriptive in the regulatory field, under the rules established by the principal language policy in the area speaking on the linguistic encoding standard (Royal Spanish Academy and Association of Spanish Language Academies), “castellano”  and “español” are synonymous terms. Dictionary panhispánico  nevertheless recommends the name “lengua española” for lack of ambiguity and be the one usually used in other national languages (Spanish, espanhol, espagnol, Spanisch, Spaans, spagnolo, ισπανικά, etc.).In addition, the standard dictionary published by the Royal Spanish Academy of Language and the Association of Spanish Language Academies entitled “Diccionario de la lengua española”.


At our Spanish Language School, you will be encourage to speak Spanish from the very first and to interact with local people.