Nearly 400 million people worldwide are speaking Spanish today. In fact, according to research, Spanish is the fourth most widely used language in the world, next to English, Chinese, and Hindustani. Yet, unlike the last two, which only have speakers concentrated in their own regionsChina and IndiaSpanish is spoken as the mother tongue in 21 countries and as one of the secondary languages in 21 other countries. Which is why it was assigned as one of the United Nations official languages and has become the most prominent second language to learn in the US and Canada. But are the efforts to learn Spanish just a fleeting trend? Hardly. Because although it initially seems that way, learning Spanish goes beyond the trend and in fact offers practicality.
There a lot of good reasons to learn Spanish, but here are the top five:
1. Gain better understanding of English.
Like Spanish, many English vocabularies are rooted in Latin, a Romance language. Learning Spanish, therefore, brings you back to the Latin roots of English words and therefore improve your English vocabulary. And because Spanish and English have almost the same grammar, learning Spanish is a good way to review the English sentence structure, which you would otherwise ignore in normal occasions. Your knowledge of Spanish, and therefore Latin, will also make you more adept at understanding and using medical and legal terms, many of which have Latin origins.
2. Have a good head-start in learning other foreign languages.
When you learn Spanish, it will be much easier for you to learn other Romance languages, like Italian and French, because languages under this family share many similarities and elements. Add to that the fact that as you study another foreign language, you tend to apply the same disciplines and learning skills you have developed while learning Spanish. By this time, therefore, learning will not present as many challenges as before. Even if you try to learn non-Romance languages, it will be fairly easy this time.
3. Get more employment opportunities.
The Hispanic population is growing rapidly and so are the Hispanic economies, which mean one thing: various employment opportunities for Spanish speakers. In whatever industrytourism, medicine, education, business and trade, and securitythe demand for Spanish speakers is in a steady pace. So if you want to improve your employment potential and get paid much higher than your monolingual counterparts, better start learning Spanish.
4. Appreciate arts, film, and literature.
Wouldn’t it be nice to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpieces in the original Spanish text? Or see Y Tu Mama Tambien without reading the English subtitle? Not that the English translation renders poor outcomes, it’s just that some important elements and details are oftentimes lost in translation. And it would be such an enjoyment if you can grip the total of any art, film, literature, or any product of a culture in its purest form and unaltered language.
5. Experience more travel fun.
Communication is of essence in any travel, whether you go to the illustrious Spain or to the exotic Mexico. Because many Spanish speakers can’t speak English, it is doubly challenging to communicate with them. Just try to imagine how upsetting it would be if you can’t talk to your taxi driver, or ask for directions, or make orders in a ritzy restaurant. Although you can get by with only little Spanish, the varied cultures of the Spanish-speaking countries are too vivid and rich to be left to ogling and poor translation. If you want to appreciate and be completely immersed in their culture, you have to learn Spanish.