Spanish or Castilian (español or castellano in Spanish) is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in the central-north of Iberia during the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the later Medieval period.
Modern Spanish developed with the "Readjustment of the Consonants" (Reajuste de las Sibilantes) that began in 15th century. The language continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of other languages, as well as developing new words. Spanish was taken most notably to the Americas as well as to Africa and Asia Pacific with the expansion of the Spanish Empire between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, where it became the most important language for government and trade.
In 1999, there were 358 million people speaking Spanish as a native language and a total of 417 million people worldwide. Currently these figures are up to 400 and 500 million people respectively. Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese. Mexico contains the largest population of Spanish speakers. Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language
Italian (italiano or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken as a native language by about 70 million people in Italy, Malta, San Marino and parts of Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia and France. Most native speakers are native bilinguals of both standardised Italian and regional varieties.
In Switzerland, Italian is one of four official languages, spoken mainly in the Swiss cantons of Grigioni and Ticino. It is also the official language of San Marino, as well as the primary language of Vatican City. The Italian language adopted by the state after the unification of Italy is based on the Tuscan dialect, which beforehand was only available to upper class Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian dialects and by the Germanic language of the post-Roman invaders.
Italian derives diachronically from Latin and is the closest national language to Latin. Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary. Lexical similarity is 89% with French, 87% with Sardinian, 85% with Catalan, 82% with Spanish, 78% with Rhaeto-Romance and 77% with Romanian.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_language
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