Learning Spanish is almost essential given how widely the language is spoken. In fact, the Spanish language is probably more popular than you think it is. It is the 2nd most spoken language in the world (in terms of native speakers), and it is spoken in an official capacity in 20 different independent countries.
It's also a language with a broad influence in a lot of different places around the globe. For example, many international organisations use Spanish as an official language, such as the UN, the EU, and the WTO.
There are a wide range of benefits of learning Spanish, and if you've been researching different Spanish courses at university or are considering taking a few Spanish lessons near me to get to a conversational level, these facts and figures should make it clear how important learning Spanish as a second language might be. Let's take a look:
There are around 440 million Native Spanish Speakers
So why should you study Spanish? Well the following numbers should go some way to showing the importance of the language:
Around 440 million people know how to speak Spanish as their first language, making it the second most spoken native language after Mandarin Chinese.
It is the third most popular language in the world after Chinese (Mandarin) and English.
It ranks inside the top 10 in terms of the number of people who speak it as a second language.
It is an official language in 20 countries.
Such figures have elevated Spanish to having the status as one of the most important languages in the world. The shear number of native speakers and the number of countries where it is spoken are just some of the reasons to learn Spanish.
The history of Spanish has made it widespread, and while Spanish is obviously spoken in Spain, it’s also spoken across most of Central and South America. In fact, when talking about the number of speakers, Spain isn’t even the country with the most Spanish speakers:
121 million people speak Spanish in Mexico. This means that most Spanish speakers are from there.
Although Spanish is not an official language in the U.S.A (there is no official language recognised in the constitution), there are 53 million Spanish speakers there, with 41 million speaking it as their mother tongue. This is a substantial figure given that the US is home to around 320 million people. According to the Cervantes Institute, this figure is set to go up to around 128 million Spanish speakers by 2050.
Colombia is home to around 48 million Spanish speakers.
There are 46 million Spanish speakers in Spain.
Why is Spanish so common in the Americas? It all started with journeys by Christopher Columbus and the colonisation of the Americas at the end of the 15th century. During the time of the Spanish empire, a lot of territory in this part of the world came under the control of the Spanish royalty.
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Countries Where Spanish is Spoken
Speaking Spanish is a must if you love travelling. Not only is it a language that is spoken in Spain, but it spoken the whole length of Central and South America, from the U.S-Mexican border in the North, to the Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina. Spanish is spoken as an official language in the following countries:
- El Salvador
This wide range of countries gives you plenty of options for your holidays, but also if you are looking to do an immersion course in a Spanish-speaking country in order to learn the language of Miguel de Cervantes.
After all, it’s much easier to learn about the Spanish language and culture if you’re surrounded by native speakers and speak the language with a high degree of fluency.
If you don't, it’s probably a good idea to have learned the basics and studied a bit of Spanish grammar before you go. After just a few weeks of immersion, you'll find yourself learning far more Spanish than you ever imagined.
If you’re still looking stuff up or relying on automatic translation software to express yourself, you really should take a few classes before you go anywhere!
Have you ever dreamed of immersing yourself in Spanish culture? Being able to speak directly to foreign people? Ordering food without looking foolish? Why not learn more about Spanish customs and traditions before you go. They're fascinating!
From the list of countries that speak Spanish that we have just named, you could visit a number of different destinations that you hadn't previously dreamed of. In fact, if you want to work in a Spanish-speaking country, then one of these could even be your new home!
Learning Spanish will allow you to visit so many amazing places and maybe meet some very famous people. If you read celebrity magazines, you'll know that plenty of Spanish-speakers are Hollywood stars. In both movies and TV shows, there are Spanish-speaking stars like Mar Anthony, Salma Hayek, and Penelope Cruz, to name a few.
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International Organisations that Use the Spanish Language
The importance of Spanish on the world stage extends way beyond the number of native speakers that there are, and the number of countries where it is spoken. Some of the world's most powerful and influential international organisations use Spanish as an official language to conduct their business.
As you would expect, international organisations which operate in the Americas often use Spanish alongside English, and sometimes French and Portuguese. For example, the South American trading bloc, MercoSur, uses Spanish alongside Portuguese. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) also uses Spanish as one of its four official languages.
But international organisations beyond Latin America see the importance of Spanish in their day-to-day activities. In the sporting world, football's world governing body, FIFA, and Rugby's equivalent, World Rugby, both use Spanish in an official capacity.
But perhaps the power of Spanish is best exemplified by its use by some of the most important international organisations in the world. With Spain being a member of the European Union, Spanish is used as one of its official languages.
But Spanish really comes into its own when you consider that it is one of only three languages used at the International Labour Organisation and the World Trade Organisation, and one of six languages used by the United Nations.
These organisations wield considerable international influence, and they do so, in part, by using the Spanish language. That is why it is such a good idea to take Spanish lessons London or Birmingham...
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The widespread use of Spanish in such organisations means that if you learn business Spanish, or a form of Spanish that is specific to a particular sector, it could open up a number of different doors from a professional point of view.
Learning a specific form of Spanish will be essential as everyday Spanish won't teach you the vocabulary that you need to operate in the world of international business or international politics.
But once you have achieved this, and as a bilingual English-Spanish speaker, you will improve your employability enormously. This is because a lot of the aforementioned organisations use English as one of their official languages, too. Therefore, they often look to recruit people who are fluent (often native speakers) in one of their official languages, but who can also speak another language to a high level.
Spanish: A Cultural Language
Since Spanish evolved from Latin, and half of English vocabulary comes directly or indirectly from Latin, there are plenty of words in Spanish that will look similar to English words.
While this makes Spanish easier to learn than a language such as Chinese, it can still be a challenge. Just when you think you've mastered one conjugation, you find out there are seemingly hundreds of tenses in Spanish! There are a lot of reasons to learn Spanish at school, and this is one of them. By starting early, you can get ahead of your classmates and have a sounder grounding in Spanish grammar by the time you need it to apply for university or jobs.
The challenge of learning Spanish is ultimately worth it for the cultural exploits. These include:
Don Quijote still remains the most popular Spanish novel of all time and is the second most translated book of all time after the Bible.
If you want to read the original version, you’ll have to learn Spanish and enjoy it as it was meant to be read. Remember, there are advantages to all Spanish learning methods, so the key is to find a method that works well for you.
Spanish architecture is also a sight to behold. There are so many Spanish cities where you can enjoy Gothic architecture, especially when it comes to cathedrals. Spain's numerous old universities are also marvels of architecture. You can find completely different architectural styles next to one another in your typical Spanish city.
If you want to visit an architecturally-rich city, Barcelona is a good place to start. Whilst there, you can visit the Sagrada Familia, the famous unfinished cathedral designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. The country's capital, Madrid, is also home to plenty of architectural wonders.
There’s also plenty of other cities with architecture of note: The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, for example.
If you want to enjoy this kind of cultural diversity, Spain is the place to go. So why not get started with your Spanish tutorials today and plan a trip to Spain?
Spanish: The Language of a Growing Region
For a long time, Latin America was criticised for its slower levels of growth and high levels of poverty. However, in recent years, its economic growth hasn’t showed signs of stopping any time soon. In fact, since the global recession in 2008, it’s grown with capital from Europe and Chinese investment.
Brazil as well as Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru are becoming some of the most interesting countries in terms of economic growth. They are subsequently becoming important strategic partners, in terms of trade, politics, and security, for many western powers.
Mercosur and numerous other treaties such as ALADI and CACM between South and North America have helped the countries in South America to grow. What's more, a variety of trade agreements, association agreements, global agreements, and economic agreements tie the EU and a whole range of Latin American countries together. This helps to facilitate trade and cooperation between both sides, which has also helped both sides to benefit and grow.
Although there is a long way to go, poverty is starting to decrease rapidly in a lot of these countries. Many jobs have also been created as a result of the growth. Thus, despite certain inequalities that still remain, the quality of life is increasing. Since the global recession in 2008, poverty has decreased on the whole by 15%.
South America is also becoming more popular with tourists wishing to learn more about Latin culture, so learning the Spanish language could set you up perfectly if you want to work in tourism, business, or politics, or simply if you fancy a holiday to a slightly different location this year!