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Spanish Program

The Spanish Program introduces you to the language, literature and linguistics of Spain and Spanish America.

Discover the fascinating social and cultural context of the Spanish speaking world. Our courses explore a range of topics from the development of the Spanish language to an examination of Renaissance and Baroque literature when Spain's prolific playwrights rivaled Shakespeare; from the literature of the Spanish Civil War to the vast, innovative work of Latin America's writers.

The Spanish Program enables students to:

  • Explore the rich cultural heritage of Spain and Spanish America, and develop a command of Spanish through intensive practice in listening, reading, writing and speaking;
  • Publish in the student literary magazine "Entre Voc/zes";
  • Connect with community and univerisity-wide activities, lecture series, theatre and music/literary events;
  • Gain valuable research and cross-cultural skills, and build your international networks by participating in faculty-led research projects

What Can Spanish Do for My Career?

Spanish is an ideal foundation for work in many different areas. Qualified bilingual and multilingual graduates are in demand in fields such as law, business and finance, media, social services, medicine, education and hospitality.

The ability to read and speak Spanish allows you to communicate in one of the major international languages. With the NAFTA agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Spanish has become even more essential in the world of international commerce. Graduates have also gone on to graduate studies in literature, cultural studies and other fields.

Interesting Facts About Spanish

Spoken by over 400 million people, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language worldwide. It is the official language in over 20 countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ecuatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela. A significant percentage of the world's Spanish-speaking population resides in North America (Mexico, U.S., Canada, with over 34%). In Canada it is the mother-tongue of growing and vibrant Latin American and Spanish communities and it is the fifth most common home language in Toronto.

Spanish Speaking Population by Region

Region Population
(Number of People)
Percentaje of the
Total Spanish Speaking Population
North America 154,276,438 34.10 %
Central America 40,982,389 9.06 %
South America 191,225,429 42.26 %
Islands 24,889,213 5.50 %
Europe 40,491,051 8.95 %
Africa 616,459 0.14 %
Total Worldwide 452,480,979 100.00

Spanish Speaking Population by Country


(Number of People)

Percentaje of the Total Spanish Speaking Population

1. Mexico 109,955,400 24.30 %
2. Colombia 45,013,674 9.95 %
3. United States 44,321,038 9.80 %
4. Argentina 40,677,348 8.99 %
5. Spain 40,491,051 8.95 %
6. Perú 29,180,899 6.45 %
7. Venezuela 26,414,815 5.84 %
8. Chile 16,454,143 3.64 %
9. Ecuador 13,927,650 3.08 %
10. Guatemala 13,002,206 2.87 %
11. Cuba 11,423,952 2.52 %
12. Dominican Republic 9,507,133 2.10 %
13. Bolivia 9,247,816 2.04 %
14. Honduras 7,639,327 1.69 %
15. El Salvador 7,066,403 1.56 %
16. Paraguay 6,831,306 1.51 %
17. Nicaragua 5,785,846 1.28 %
18. Costa Rica 4,195,914 0.93 %
19. Puerto Rico 3,958,128 0.87 %
20. Uruguay 3,477,778 0.77 %
21. Panama 3,292,693 0.73 %
22. Equatorial Guinea 616,459 0.14 %
Total Worldwide 452,480,979 100.00 %

  Study Abroad


During the Summer Session of 2014, twelve York University students embarked on a higher learning adventure in Ávila, Spain, led by Professor Shanna Lino. Through the inaugural offering of "SP 2020 – Intermediate Spanish Abroad," students were able to build on classroom and online language instruction with one month of full immersion in one of Spain's most charismatic cities.

Read more ...


New Program Coordinator!

Professor Michol Hoffman is the new Coordinator of the Programs in Spanish and in Portuguese Studies. Please contact Professor Hoffman by email ( with any questions related to these programs or to set up an advising appointment.

Connect with Spanish-speaking international students: through the new Wor(l)d Buddy Project

Connect with Spanish-speaking international students at York by becoming a Wor(l)d Buddy at DLLL! For more information, visit:

  Course News

SP 1001 and SP 1002 have been redesigned: Check out these two 3.0-credit beginners Spanish Language options

SP 1001 - Elementary Spanish for Professional Communication

This course introduces students to the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world, with a particular emphasis on communication for professional purposes. It focuses on developing comprehension and production for basic oral communication in a professional context (formal language skills). Students will have the opportunity to learn targeted Spanish vocabulary given their professional background and goals, including law, medicine, business, engineering or education. Course credit exclusions: AP/SP 1000 6.00, GL/SP 1000 6.00.

SP 1002 - Elementary Spanish Grammar & Writing

This intensive course exposes students to the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world through Spanish grammar and writing. While speaking and listening in Spanish are practiced and polished, this course focuses on developing explicit knowledge of the basic grammatical and orthographic principles required to advance to an intermediate course in Spanish, with a special emphasis on written forms of communication. Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of Spanish gained at high school level or in other language training, according to Placement Testing procedures of the program; AP/SP1001 3.00. Course credit exclusions: AP/SP 1000 6.00, GL/SP 1000 6.00

New Course! - Hispanic Caribbean Literature: The City, The Nation, and the Sea

AP/SP 3220 3.00 Hispanic Caribbean Literature: The City, The Nation, and the Sea

Instructor: Prof. Emiro Martinez-Osorio

Course Description: This course examines the construction of the Caribbean (Hispanic Caribbean) as a
geographic and cultural space whose boundaries have been charted by imperial rivalries.

Topics under consideration may include Early Modern European expansion, the search for 'El Dorado' and the 'Fountain of Youth,' colonization, piracy, migration, slavery, the New World Baroque, transculturation, identity, race relations, revolutions, and nation building.

Special attention is given to the representation of cities like Habana (Cuba), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Veracruz (México), and Cartagena (Colombia) in the works of writers like José Lezama Lima, Roberto Burgos Cantor, José Martí, Germán Espinosa, Reinaldo Arenas, Junot Díaz, Alejo Carpentier and others.

Prerequisite: AP/SP 2200 6.00

Language of Instruction: Spanish

New Course! - Epics of the Indies: Iberian Poetry of Exploration & Empire

AP/SP 4360 6.00 Epics of the Indies: Iberian Poetry of Exploration and Empire

Instructor: Prof. Emiro Martinez-Osorio

Course Description: This course examines the representation of the encounter between Europe and its "Others" in the epic and heroic poems written by Iberian poets in the XVI and XVII centuries. Topics may include the epic tradition in Western civilization, the Renaissance practice of poetic imitation, the campaigns of exploration and conquest of America, the epic topos of literary mapamundi, the first literary representations of Amerindian cultures, and narratives of shipwreck and captivity.

Prerequisite: AP/SP 2200 6.00 or equivalent.

Language of Instruction: Spanish

Term Y Section A



Section Director: Prof. Emiro Martinez-Osorio






Cat #





R N146


New Course! - Nos/otras: Contemporary Poetic Expressions of Spanish American Women

AP/SP 4880 3.00 Nos/otras: Contemporary Poetic Expressions of Spanish American Women

Instructor by Prof. Maria Figueredo

Course Description: This course analyzes how Spanish American women poets (such as Alejandra Basualto, Cecilia Vicuña, Belén Gaché, Ida Vitale, Cristina Peri Rossi, Alejandra Pizarnik, Nadia Prado, Malú Urriola) since the 1980s have employed varied creative and receptive practices to shape new tendencies in poetic language. Examines their poems in tandem with selected films and electronic media created by these writers to reveal the cultural, historical and social threads emerging from the literary works..

Prerequisite: AP/SP 2200 6.00 or equivalent.

Language of Instruction: Spanish


Hispanic Caribbean Dialogues @ York: Migrating Borders, Memories, and Texts

Students from SP3220 Hispanic Caribbean literature: The City, the Nation, and the Sea attended Hispanic Caribbean Dialogues @ York: Migrating Borders, Memories, and Texts.

This 2013 international colloquium aimed to combine research with teaching by giving undergraduate students the opportunity to interact directly with researchers and writers from Colombia, the United States and Canada. The colloquium consisted of three separate panels dealing with topics such as the politics of race at the border between Dominican Republic and Haiti, literary translations and film in Cuba, and the analysis and discussion of the legacy of slavery in the novel La Ceiba de la Memoria (2009).

Burgos Canto

In the picture above Colombian writer Roberto Burgos Cantor, winner of the Casa de las Américas Award for narrative (2007) signing books at the Schulich Executive Education Centre

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The presenters included Fernanda Macchi (Hispanic Studies, McGill University), Cesar A. Salgado (The University of Texas at Austin), Néstor Rodríguez (University of Toronto), Adriana Urrea (Universidad Javeriana, Colombia), Margaret Olsen (Macalester College, USA), María Constanza Guzmán (Hispanic Studies, Glendon College), Karen Connor (Social Anthropology, York University), Emiro Martínez-Osorio (York University), and Roberto Burgos Cantor (Writer Colombia).

The colloquium was organized by the Spanish & Portuguese Section of the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics with the support of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Center for Research in Latin America, Founders College, Vanier College, the Department of Humanities, the "Slavery, Memory and Citizenship" Research Project of the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African People and the Office for Research Services.

Colloquium Poster | Colloquium Program


Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos Professor Shanna Lino has recently published a special edition of the Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos on the topic of "Tráfico y producción cultural: trazas de una globalización fragmentada" ("Trafficking and Cultural Production: Traces of a Fragmented Globalization" Vol. 38.1).

This monographic issue, which Professor Lino co-edited with Dr. Luis Molina Lora (Ph.D. University of Ottawa), drew together eleven critical essays from scholars in Canada, the US, and Latin America and is the first of its kind to theorize the notion of trafficking in the Spanish-speaking world, including that of people, narcotics, literature, cultural heritage, and history.

Poesía y canto popular: Su convergencia en el siglo XX. Uruguay, 1960-1985 [Poetry and Popular Song: Their Convergence in the Twentieth Century. The Case of Uruguay, 1960-1985] published "the work of Maria Figueredo on the resemantization of the poetic text when it is articulated with a musical structure, to integrate a new reality of language, that is, the song, is the first systematic investigation in this field. There existed periodic journalistic articles and reports on writers and musicians, as well as references inserted into various works of literary criticism, but never had a global and comprehensive work of this nature been undertaken on this fundamental aspect of contemporary culture" (Cosse, 9). The book studies the socio-cultural process of poetry that is set to music in relation to context of Latin America, with particular focus on the case study of Uruguay in response to particular socio-political challenges faced in the latter half of the twentieth century."

  Alumni News

We invite you to learn more about some of our recent graduates and share in their post graduation accomplishments.

Spanish Studies Program Brochure