Spanish (español) is a multi-centric language which arose in the middle ages in the kingdom of Castile. According to various estimates around 450 to 500 million people speak Spanish the world over. It is one of the official languages at the UN, the European and Africa Unions and the Organization of American States. Spanish is spoken in the majority of countries in Latin America, and it is also very widespread in the USA. For example, in the state of New Mexico use of both English and Spanish is encoded in the legislation, and in Puerto Rico the latter has the status of an official language. In Brazil, where Portuguese is spoken, Spanish has the status of second language among students and qualified professionals. In order to reduce economic dependency on trade with the USA and Europe, and to increase the trade turnover with the neighbouring Spanish-speaking countries, bilingualism and knowledge of Spanish have been gaining in importance.
Since this is a language which is widely used in a number of countries which are isolated from each other, historically it has acquired a large number of dialects. In Spain alone there are at least a dozen dialects, without considering the variants in Central and South America, and even Africa.
In written Spanish questions are indicated by the use of two question marks: one is placed, as usual, at the end of the sentence, and the other at the start, and upside down. For example, the sentence “How are you?” is “¿Cómo estás?” in Spanish.