Maybe you’re considering learning a new language. Maybe you’re even toying with the idea of Spanish.
In any event, you might be wondering why you should learn Spanish, or how you would even start.
The truth is that there are a bunch of reasons to learn Spanish, and even if you live in the US, there are lots of ways to learn Spanish.
Spanish is only second to English in the United States, and there are over 350 million native speakers of Spanish globally.
Additionally, if you’re living in the US, you might be surprised to know that Spanish is an integral part of US history. Spanish has been spoken in the US for longer than English, and with all the native Spanish speakers in the United States, there are lots of ways to learn Spanish. Interested in immersion? It’s one of the best ways to learn Spanish, right? Well, you don’t have to leave the US if you’re interested in immersion in Spanish.
All of this is just barely scratching the surface, so let’s dig into the top 12 reasons to learn Spanish.
In the United States, with a population of around 300M people, over 37M speak Spanish. That means that roughly 12% of people in the US speak Spanish, and the trend is growing. Since 1980, the number of Spanish speakers in the US has more than doubled, and the trend is expected to increase for the foreseeable future. That means that more than 1 in 10 people in the US speak Spanish. Whether you are dealing with sales prospects, current customers or colleagues, that’s a lot of reason to learn Spanish.
Remember how we said that there are over 37M Spanish speakers in the United States? Well, by 2050, that number is expected to rise to over 132M speakers – in the United States alone. That means that Spanish speakers in the US will rise from 12% of the population to about 30%. That’s a lot of growth in Spanish speakers, so if you’re looking to secure your future job prospects, there are a lot of reasons (and a lot of ways) to learn Spanish.
Globally, there are over 350M Spanish speakers, and Spanish is the official language of 20 countries across three continents – North America, South America and Europe, and that list doesn’t even include the United States, where Spanish is not an official language. Actually, if you ignore population growth in those 20 countries and just factor in growth in the US population, that figure of 350M speakers world-wide will grow to around 450M speakers by 2050, so learning Spanish allows you to join a global community.
Did we mention that Spanish is spoken in 20 countries across three continents? If you’re a student, speaking Spanish means that you can study in a bunch of countries all around the world. That’s a lot of different geographies, a bunch of culture, and a ton of frequent flier miles. It’s also a great way to differentiate yourself from an academic perspective.
If you read the blurb above, all those opportunities apply to you if you’re already in the work force. Spanish-speaking countries include developing and fully-developed economies, and collectively, the combined economic power of Spanish-speaking countries is greater than that of Japan, and nearly twice the size of China. That’s a lot of opportunity!
You may have heard of Univision or Telemundo, but there are literally dozens of Spanish television networks in the United States, and there are hundreds of radio stations. This is all separate and apart from web sites, streaming media outlets and print publications. That’s a lot of TV shows, movies, songs and talk shows you’re missing out on. Have you ever had a chance to catch a Telenovela? If not, then you’re totally missing out!
Language is the soul of a nation, and there are over 20 nations that count Spanish as their official state language. That’s a lot of culture to tap into, and a lot of opportunity to expand your horizons. Whether you’re looking to better understand new cultures, connect with local or international history or just looking for personal development and improvement, learning Spanish is a great way to address all of those goals.
Learning a new language is a cognitive function, and one that’s proven to keep your mind sharp. Did you know that clinical studies have shown that learning a new language can help you delay (or even avoid) ailments like Alzheimer’s or dementia? By the way, that goes for people of any age, so whether you’re a teenager, baby boomer or anyone in between, learning Spanish is a great way to sharpen your mind.
Lots of people chose to learn a new language in order to study or work abroad. Others study a new language in order to connect with friends, family or loved ones closer to home. In both cases, access to native speakers is hard to come by in the US. Nothing could be further from the case with Spanish. Like we mentioned before, there are over 37M speakers of Spanish in the United States. That means that on average, one out of every eight people you come into contact with every day is a Spanish speaker. What better way to connect with people in your community than to speak their native tongue?
You may have noticed that we’ve never referred to Spanish as a “foreign language”. That’s because Spanish is as “native” to the United States as English- even more so, depending on your perspective. We’ve all heard of the Pilgrims and the lost colony of Ronoke, but Spanish was the language of the first permanent European settlers in North America. Ponce de Leon landed in the modern United States in 1513, and the city of St. Augustine, Florida was founded by Spaniards in 1565.
From Florida to Texas to New Mexico to California, Spanish has been in the United States for as long as European settlers have been here, and longer than English or any other European language.
French may be the language of romance, but love is blind to ethnicity or language. Even if you’ve only been skimming everything on this page, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that Spanish is spoken by 12% of the US population. That means that one out of every eight people you come into contact with, on average, will be Spanish speaking. We’ve all heard how hard it is to find a good man or woman, so why limit yourself even further?
With just a few exceptions, English and Spanish share a common alphabet, and somewhere between 30% – 40% of English and Spanish vocabulary words are shared in common. Sentence structure and grammar are remarkably similar in both languages, so if you can already speak English, learning Spanish should be pretty easy. More so, it’s a ton of fun. Have you read all the different reasons to learn Spanish above? Travel opportunities, culture, Spanish media, romance… that all sounds like a ton of fun!
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