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Why Learn Spanish

Why Learn Spanish

Join the world of the hispanohablante!

Today’s world is an increasingly interconnected one. Companies looking to do business today, can no longer exist in isolation within their protected national markets. Present day marketplaces are truly global, with organizations exporting their products and importing materials from all over the map, requiring them to interface with people from different countries, with different cultural backgrounds and speaking different languages. For companies looking to expand outside the English-speaking world, knowledge of the Spanish language has become essential.

Consider these facts:

  • Spanish is the second world language as a vehicle of international communication and the third as an international language of politics, economics and culture.
  • About 330 million people in the world speak Spanish as their first language.
  • Approximately another 100 million people speak Spanish as a second language.
  • Spanish is the official language in 21 countries.
  • Spanish is expected to be the first language of 50% of the population of the United States within 50 years.
  • Today Spanish is an official language of the UN and its institutions, the European Union and other international organizations.
  • Latin American countries are experiencing constant economic growth and because of that, are becoming more important as trading partners
  • A number of large Latin-American countries are on the verge of signing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), created by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
  • The setting-up of MERCOSUR and the imminent creation of a new free market throughout the Americas herald the emergence of a potentially lucrative market rivaling that of the EEC and NAFTA.

(Source: Instituto Cervantes)

If you’re learning Spanish, chances are one reason you picked it to learn was because you expected you would have a good chance of using it some day. If so, you’re probably right — Spanish is the most common first language in the Americas, and Spanish speakers also can be found in Spain (of course), in much of the United States, the Philippines, and even Africa.

Some facts about Spanish Language

Some other facts about Spanish you might be interested in knowing. In no particular order, here are some of the numbers about Spanish discovered from the web:

Spanish and English are in a virtual dead heat to be the second most spoken language in the world. As of 1999, Spanish had 332 million speakers, while English had 322 million. They were far behind Chinese, with 885 million. Source: Ethnologue.(If people who speak English as a second language were included, however, English would come out on top.)

Spanish, along with French, is the official language of Equatorial Guinea, making it the only country in Africa with an official Spanish presence, although Spanish also is spoken some in Morocco. The country’s official name is República de Guinea Ecuatoria. Source: CIA World Fact Yearbook.

Other countries or semi-autonomous areas with significant Spanish-speaking populations include Andorra, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, the United States and Venezuela. Source: Ethnologue..

Nearly 30 percent of the residents of Spain have a first language other than Spanish, although most also use Spanish as a second language. Languages of Spain include Catalan (some 12 percent of the population speak it as a first language, and even more speak it as a second language), Galician (8 percent of the population) and Basque (a little more than 1 percent). Source: Ethnologue..

As of 1998, the United States has the fifth largest Hispanic population, about 30 million people (the exact number depending on how Hispanics are counted). Of them, two-thirds trace their roots to Mexico, and 86 percent say Spanish is their first language. Source: Bill Stoneman, writing for American Demographics. During the sweeps period earlier this year, the top local TV newscast in the New York City area was Noticias 41, a Spanish-language broadcast. And Noticiero Univision, the newscast of a national Spanish-language network, beat out the big three network news shows. Source: Breaking News. Source: Global Reach.

A recent study of 25 metro markets in the United States found that Spanish-language programming was the sixth most popular format. Source: WILC radio.

Because the birth rate in the Spanish-speaking word is higher than among people whose first language is English, Spanish can be expected to remain firmly in the No. 2 spot for years to come. And if the economies of Latin American countries improve, Spanish could gain importance in worldwide trade and communications as well.

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