Originally spoken by only a handful of people in the picturesque Castile region of Spain, Spanish has now become one the most influential languages in the world. Not only it is the official language in an astonishing 22 countries, but it is also estimated that more than 427 million people speak Spanish as a native language, which qualifies it as the second most spoken language by number of native speakers in the world after Mandarin. “The world is becoming increasingly multicultural and Spanish is one of the languages of the future” claims British researcher David Graddol.
Spanish is also the second most spoken and fastest growing non-English language in the United States.There are currently 33 million people who speak Spanish in America. Some projections indicate that by 2060, this number will increase to 128.8 million, making the United States the largest country in the world where Spanish is spoken as a first or second language. While a few monolingual English-speakers might cringe at those numbers, the reality is that those who can’t at least hold a basic conversation in Spanish will soon be in the minority. Whether you need it for business, cultural or personal reasons, learning Spanish is becoming a prerequisite for any individual who wants to succeed in today’s global economy.
When faced with the choice of two equally qualified candidates, employers in all fields will choose a candidate who can speak another language – especially Spanish – over a monolingual candidate. Bilingual employees usually receive a larger salary than their counterparts who speak only one language. Sometimes even a basic knowledge may be all you need to separate yourself from the crowd of applicants vying for the same position.
In the past Spanish was only an optional skill required in a handful of fields such as education, healthcare, social services and customer service. New trade agreements with emerging Latin American countries, an interconnected global economy and the rapidly increasing Hispanic population have made Spanish proficiency a relevant and sometimes mandatory requirement in almost every imaginable field.
It might be surprising to most people that studying Spanish will also contribute to a better understanding of the English vocabulary. Spanish is considered one of the “Romance” languages that emerged from Latin spoken in the ancient Roman Empire. Many English words are also of Latin origin, so learning Spanish will expand your English vocabulary and provide you with a deeper understanding of these Latin based English words. When it comes to learning a third language such as French or Italian, already knowing Spanish will be a huge advantage because these languages are also considered “Romance” languages.
In addition, a recognition and understanding of these words of Latin origin is particularly helpful in certain professions. Many centuries of Roman rules left their linguistic mark on science, medicine, law, and many other professional fields with specialized vocabulary.
By conquering the soulful and passionate Spanish language, you will also embrace the spectacular art, magnificent literature and celebrated musical traditions that make the Latin culture one of the most fascinating and proficient in the history of mankind. Whether you become familiar with an international icon such as Miguel de Cervantes or Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, you will have the opportunity to read literal masterpieces in their original version. From the royal portraits of Goya to the surreal depictions of Picasso, Spanish influence on the fine arts has always been monumental. Hispanic and Latin American cuisines are so popular around the world that their impact on our eating habits is substantial everywhere we go. Tortillas, burritos, tamales, tacos, paella, guacamole, pico de gallo — the list goes on and on.
Learning Spanish means looking at your present and future while opening your life and career to new horizons.