“To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture”

Last updated: Jun 5th, 2024

With a love of travel, languages and culture, Rayburn Education team member, Claudia, is passionate about what she does. Originating from Guatemala in Central America – a land of volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites – we ask Claudia to tell us a little bit about the importance of her mother tongue.


There’s no such thing as a single spoken “Spanish”

The Spanish language is one that has been enriched by words from many of the native languages of the Americas, as well as English. There is no such thing as a single spoken “Spanish”. Instead, there are different Spanish variations because of the evolution of the language in different regions. Whilst pronunciation and usage of the spoken Spanish language varies amongst countries, regional differences are not so great as to make it difficult to understand speakers from different areas.

The adaptability of Spanish has propelled it into a language of international communication and the number of people studying it as a second language increases year on year. With more than 400 million speakers worldwide, Spanish is currently the second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin.


Spanish is certainly not limited to Spain

Spanish is certainly not limited to Spain. I was born in Guatemala and lived in Guatemala City until I was 18 years old. The Republic of Guatemala is a Central American country often regarded as the cradle of the Mayan civilization. It has an immense cultural heritage that, combined with the great Spanish influence from the colonial period after the conquest, has given the country 24 recognised National languages with Spanish being the official language. As you can imagine with such variety of Mayan languages spoken, Guatemalan Spanish has many words that are unique to the country!


The best way to learn a language…?

There is no doubt that the best way to learn a language is to visit the country it originates from. With Spanish, you have another 21 countries from which to choose! Wherever you decide to go, culture will always have a great impact on your learning journey. Learning about the norms, values, food and beliefs of the country of a language has to go hand in hand with grammar and spelling.

If you were to take other important elements of culture like food, music and holidays, you will find many are interlinked and shared whilst others are totally unique to each country. So the next time that you associate Spanish language and culture to “Tapas by the sea” think again.


Get exploring!

The Spanish language opens the door to many cultures, countries and an array of possibilities. Frantz Fanon once said “to speak a language is to take on a world, a culture” and the Spanish language is associated with many worlds and many cultures, leaving much to be explored.

If you’d like to give your students the lesson of a lifetime, get in touch with our experienced team of travel experts, subject specialist and linguists by calling 01332 347 828 or emailing info@rayburntours.com.