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Why learn Spanish? Why is it important in today's world?

Accordying to Instituto Cervantesinformation:

  • Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese.
  • Spanish is the primary language of 20 countries worldwide. It is estimated that the combined total number of Spanish speakers is between 470 and 500 million.
  • Spansih is the second most studied language and second language in international communication.
  • Every year the number of people studying Spanish grows significantly.

Traditionally, people educated in the United States have not been obligated to learn another language beyond English. But times have changed. Globalization, particularly in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (due in part to the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]), has elevated the increasing importance of being able to communicate with citizens from other countries. Increasingly, the second language U.S. citizens are choosing to learn is Spanish.

Trends today show that Americans are studying Spanish in record numbers. Indeed, education in an international setting is becoming a top mandate for the American government because people need to compete economically. According to Businessweek, for example, more students studying for an MBA in today's world are choosing to become trilingual by learning English, French, and Spanish. Moreover, two of the top ten MBA schools outside the U.S. are located in Spain.

Many other reasons compel people to learn Spanish as a second language. Why is it important to learn Spanish? First, almost 500 million people worldwide speak Spanish. Even more compelling is the fact that about half of the population in the Western hemisphere speaks Spanish, making it the primary language for as many people as English in this region of the world. Most citizens in South America speak primarily Spanish (aside from Brazil), as do people living in just about all of Central America, Mexico, and Latin America—more than 15 countries in total. In addition, within the United States, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language after English—by a very wide margin. Third, Spanish is the third-most commonly spoken language in the world. In Wikipedia, English, Chinese, and Hindustani are listed as the most commonly spoken languages. But geographically speaking, these languages are only widely spoken in China and India, respectively. In contrast, Spanish is spoken in more than 21 countries.

In the U.S., employment opportunities continue to increase for those who are fluent in both Spanish and English due to ever-increasing population of Spanish-speaking people. This means that being bilingual (Spanish and English) will continue to become more valuable for people who live in the U.S. with each passing year. In today's economy, every advantage one can offer an employer is extremely important to a career.

It's fairly obvious to see why Spanish is so popular. First, phonetically, Spanish is nearly perfect, which makes it easy to learn. Second, by learning Spanish fluently you can open gateways to communicating with people who speak different languages. This makes learning Spanish a good choice, particularly because the US and Canada are in the same hemisphere and do business with many Latin American countries. In fact, as a romance language, Spanish can open the door to communicating with millions of other people who speak one of the other romance languages. Such common understandings can create bridges to the European continent as well.

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