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Spanish and Hispanic Culture
The culture of the Spanish speaking world, most correctly referred to as "Hispanic Culture", has strong ties to Spain, yet has evolved incredibly at each point throughout the world. The Spanish language is spoken throughout Central America, much of South America, Spain, the Philipines, Equatorial Guinea (Africa) and, of course, much of the United States.

One of the interesting facts about the Spanish language in different cultures and countries is that the local influences in each of these regions are strong, and the people, customs, food, music, folklore, literature and culture have evolved distinctly. What is "Spanish" in one place will mean something totally different from what is Spanish culture in another place.

Even the use of the phrase "Spanish Language" is controversial, because in Spain many distinct languages are spoken including Catalan, Galician and Basque, and within each of those languages, even more "dialects". The Spanish spoken in most countries outside of Spain is Castilian, which is the predominant language inside of Spain as well. But a speaker of Catalan is likely to take issue with the use of the word "Spanish" to describe Castilian. After all, Catalan is as "Spanish" as Castilian is, so in many parts of Spain it is important to use the word castellano, Castilian, when refering to the language. Among the many interesting Latin American culture facts is that throughout much of Central and South America people will refer to the language they speak as castellano, rather than espaņol, Spanish.

In many parts of the Spanish speaking world, indigenous influence has played an important role in influencing the collective consciousness of people in their respective regions. One of the extremely interesting facts about Latin American countries is that in addition to having a prominent influence on the culture and way of life of the inhabitants of these Spanish-speaking countries, the Spanish spoken is affected. Therefore, different countries and regions will speak with different accents and use different vocabulary from other words, often times words drawn directly from the languages spoken by the indigenous peoples. For instance, in Mexico the word for "avocado" is aguacate while in Chile the word palta is used. Both of these words are "Spanish" words, but are borrowed from the language of the indigenous people living in the respective regions, before Spanish speaking people immigrated. Knowing about these local influences on the dialects can give you a leg up when learning doing Spanish slang translation between regions, and languages. For example, many surprising Latino culture facts are gleaned from ther interplay between Spanish and English, commonly referred to as Spanglish.

Learn about Hispanic culture
Of course, there is much more to culture than simply facts about the difference between words spoken in Spain and the words spoken in Central and South America. Indeed, as any anthropologist would tell you, this unique culture has to do with the Hispanic customs, traditions, beliefs, foods, costumes and celebrations of the people. But how, exactly, does one go about learning more about Spanish culture. This is an excellent question, and the answer isn't necessarily cut and dry. That's because there are numerous ways to go about discovering, exploring and celebrating the Spanish culture and a long list of countries to go to if you want to learn more about hispanic culture. Indeed, travel is one very sure way of learning more about the people and customs of any of the cultures in the Spanish speaking world.

But even before you go traveling or take a Spanish language course in a country that speaks Spanish, we highly recommend that you learn more about Spanish culture by exposing yourself to the arts and expression of the hispanic peoples. A great way you can do this is by watching Spanish movies on DVD -- not only will you learn a lot about Spanish culture, but you will be able to do so from the comfort of your own home. The following DVDs about Spanish culture are very important because they represent either great cinematic accomplishments, or simply fun facts about Spanish culture. Buy the DVDs below and start learning more about Spanish culture today!

And for a list of the best Spanish movies for Spanish class, click here. Research these Spanish culture facts provided by the Townsend Memorial Library at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. Look up Hispanic culture facts compiled by Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Both these resources have extensive bibliographies and source ample material for further research. Students at Denison have put together some interesting Latino culture facts in the United States.

Due to the intense diversity of culture throughout the hispanic worlds, we generally avoid making generalizations about Spanish Culture or Hispanic Culture. Nevertheless, there are features to that which is "hispanic" which are found repeatedly throughout most of Spanish speaking countries and regions. And there are some very smart authors who can vividly describe what it is to be hispanic. Here are our favorite books about Hispanic Culture:

-Latino History and Culture: An Encyclopedia (Sharpe Reference)
-Salsa: A Taste of Hispanic Culture
-Hispanic Nation: Culture, Politics, and the Constructing of Identity
-St. James Guide to Hispanic Artists
-The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature, Volume 2: The Twentieth Century
-Latin America: Regions and People (Texts In Regional Geography)

Of course, each country in the Spanish-speaking world is quite unique. If you want to buy a Latin America culture book, we highly recommend the following country-specific cultural reference books, which detail the different cultures of Latin America. Different from literary books in Spanish, and the study of phrases in Spanish, this is where you will find Latino culture facts.

Academic courses
Spanish class: Intro to Hispanic Culture SPAN 331 offered through the University of Tennessee at Knoxville is a Latin American Studies course that also doubles as a Spanish class so that language students can receive 3 hours of Spanish credit while gaining a sociological perspective on world Hispanic cutlure.
Hispanic culture courses list of required sociology and language classes for the Certificate in Hispanic Studies through Indiana University East.

Here are a few academic resources with notes about Spanish culture and Hispanic culture.

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