Why study Spanish over other languages?

keep-calm-and-study-spanish- image by www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.ukIn today’s globally-connected world, everyone knows the importance of speaking more than one language. Whether to boost your career, to be able to travel or just for fun, language skills are highly valued. But why learn Spanish over any other language? UniSpain investigates…

Number of speakers
There are approximately 470 million native speakers of Spanish, making it the second most spoken language in the world. In fact, there are more native speakers of Spanish than English! What’s more- the proportion of the world population that speaks Spanish as a native language is constantly growing, whereas the native-speaking populations of English and Chinese are gradually declining.

However, it is not only the large number of native speakers that makes Spanish a wise choice. After English, Spanish is the second most studied language in the world, and more than 100 million people speak Spanish as a second language.

Widely spoken

When selecting a language to learn, it is a good idea to take into account not only the number of speakers, but just how widely spoken the language in question is. Spanish is spoken in 21 countries, across 4 continents. Of course, Spain and most of Latin America is Spanish speaking, but did you know that Spanish is spoken on the continent of Africa? It is an official language in the countries of Equatorial Guinea and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla are also located in Northern Africa.

Although not an official language of the USA, in actual fact America is home to the second largest population of Spanish speakers (50 million), second only to Mexico (114 million). In the state of New Mexico, Spanish is considered to be co-official with English. spanish_speaking_countries_flags- image by www.miclaseessuclase.com

Ease of learning

Spanish is generally considered an easy language to learn. It is a phonetic language (unlike English!), which means that words are spelt as they are pronounced. If you speak English, many words are exactly the same or similar (such as idea, animal, perfecto, importante…) and Spanish uses many English loan words (el email, el sándwich). As one of the romance languages, Spanish evolved from Latin, so if you speak French, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan or Romanian you will also note many similarities.

Don’t worry about the differences between Peninsular and Latin American Spanish- accents vary and there are some differences in vocabulary, but these do not impede understanding.

Hispanophone culture

Hispanophone culture is rich and varied, and many Spanish-speakers have made significant contributions to the worlds of literature, film and art. Eleven Nobel prizes for literature have been in Spanish, from writers including Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Octavio Paz. Pedro Almodóvar and Alfonso Cuarón are two of the most renowned Spanish-speaking directors, and Spanish speaking artists include Picasso and Frida Kahlo, to name just a few.

There is no doubt about it- choosing to study Spanish is a wise decision and a fantastic investment for your future!


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