Learning Spanish is almost essential given how widely the language is spoken. In fact, the Spanish language is probably more popular than you think it is. In fact, Spanish is the 2nd most popular language in the world (in terms of native speakers). With Spanish being spoken in an official capacity across 21 countries, it’s also a language with a broad influence in a lot of different places around the globe.
If you’ve been researching different Spanish courses at college or are considering taking a few Spanish lessons to get to a conversational level, these facts and figures should make it clear how important learning Spanish as a second language might be. Let’s take a look:
Spanish in numbers:
Over 350 million know how to speak Spanish as their first language.
The third most popular language in the world after Chinese (Mandarin) and English.
The second most spoken native language.
The official language of 21 countries.
Spanish is not only one of the most important languages in the world but, as we mentioned before, it’s also increasingly important due to the number of countries that speak it.
There are so many places where you’ll find people speaking Spanish. (Source: Irtaza Ali)
While Spanish is obviously spoken in Spain, it’s also spoken across most of Central and South America. In fact, when talking about the number of speakers, Spain isn’t even the country where the most Spanish is spoken:
121 million people speak Spanish in Mexico. This means that most Spanish speakers are from there.
53 million people speak Spanish in the US and 41 million of them do as their mother tongue. This is a substantial figure given that the US is home to around 320 million people. According to the Cervantes Institute, this figure is set to go up to around 128 million people by 2050.
Colombia is home to around 48 million Spanish speakers.
There are 46 million Spanish speakers in Spain.
In the United States, states in the south and along the border obviously tend to have more Spanish speakers:
47% of New Mexico speaks Spanish.
38% in California and Texas.
30% in Arizona.
16% in New York.
Why is Spanish so common in the USA? It all starts with journeys by Christopher Columbus and the colonization of the Americas at the end of the 15th century. During the time of the Spanish empire, most of the states we mentioned (excluding New York) were owned by Spain.
Currently, it’s estimated that around 13% of Americans speak Spanish. You should start learning Spanish at school or online with a private tutor!
Put Google Maps away! You can now ask the locals for directions. (Source: Ingo Joseph)
It’s much easier to learn about the Spanish language and culture if you’re surrounded by native speakers and speak the language with a high degree of fluency. If you don’t, it’s probably a good idea to have learned the basics and studied a bit of Spanish grammar before you go. After just a few weeks of immersion, you’ll find yourself learning far more Spanish than you ever imagined. Maybe even to the point of business work!
If you’re still looking stuff up or relying on automatic translation software to express yourself, you really should take a few classes before you go anywhere!
Have you ever dreamed of immersing yourself in Spanish culture? Being able to speak directly to foreign people? Ordering food without looking foolish? Why not learn more about Spanish customs and traditions before you go. They’re fascinating!
That said, don’t forget about Latin America, either. Spanish isn’t just spoken in Spain, after all. Don’t worry about the language barrier and just book a flight to Spain, Mexico, or wherever you feel like, and go for it!
Learning Spanish will allow you to visit so many amazing places and maybe meet some very famous people. If you read celebrity magazines, you’ll know that plenty of Spanish-speakers are Hollywood stars. In both movies and TV shows, there are Spanish-speaking stars like Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek, and Penelope Cruz, to name a few.
Spanish is mainly spoken in Africa, South and Central America, and Europe. We could classify Spanish-speaking countries into two categories: Those where Spanish-speakers are in the majority and those where Spanish is spoken alongside other languages.
Countries where Spanish is spoken alongside another popular language include: Peru, Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, and Paraguay. In Paraguay, for example, while the Constitution states that both Spanish and Guaraní are official languages, Guaraní is more commonly spoken than Spanish. Equatorial Guinea speaks the indigenous Fang language alongside Spanish and French.
The countries where Spanish is spoken by most of the population include: Spain, Ecuador, Panama, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Cuba, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina, and Costa Rica.
Did you know that in certain regions in Spain they also speak Catalan, Basque, or Galician? Across most of the countries in South America there are plenty of indigenous languages, too! Unfortunately, vicious practices by colonists (similar to those in the US) during the Spanish empire has led to these indigenous languages being spoken by very few in a number of Latin American countries.
Then there’s America. While Spanish is not an official language (there is no official language, in fact), Spanish-speakers are the second largest linguistic group in the country.
Spanish is mainly spoken in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. (Source: pixabay.com)
There are 20 million Spanish speakers in the US. Most Spanish speakers can be found in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, California, and Florida. However, there are a number of states with significant Spanish-speaking populations including: Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and New York.
According to a study, the number of Spanish speakers grew by 60% between 1990 and 2000 while the general population only grew by 13%. Spanish speakers are therefore the largest minority group in the United States. This group is also expected to grow in the coming years.
Since Spanish evolved from Latin and half of English vocabulary comes directly or indirectly from Latin, there are plenty of words in Spanish that will look similar to English words.
While this makes Spanish easier to learn than a language such as Chinese, it can still be a challenge. Just when you think you’ve mastered one conjugation, you find out there are seemingly hundreds of tenses in Spanish!
However, this challenge is worth it for the cultural exploits including:
Don Quijote still remains the most popular Spanish novel of all time and is the second most translated book of all time after the Bible.
If you want to read the original version, you’ll have to learn Spanish and enjoy it as it was meant to be read.
Spanish architecture is also a sight to behold. There are so many Spanish cities where you can enjoy Gothic architecture, especially when it comes to cathedrals. Spain’s numerous old universities are also marvels of architecture. You can find completely different architectural styles next to one another in your typical Spanish city.
If you want to visit an architecturally-rich city, you have to go to Barcelona and visit the Sagrada Familia, the famous unfinished cathedral designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. That said, the country’s capital, Madrid, is also home to plenty of architectural wonders.
Barcelona is home to so many artistic wonders. (Source: pixabay.com)
There’s also plenty of other cities with architecture of note: The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, for example.
If you want to enjoy this kind of cultural diversity, Spain is the place to go. So why not get started with your Spanish tutorials today and plan a trip to Spain?
For a long time, Latin America was criticized for its more growth and high levels of poverty. However, in recent years, its economic growth hasn’t showed signs of stopping any time soon. In fact, since the global recession in 2008, it’s grown with capital from Europe and Chinese investment.
Brazil as well as Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru are becoming some of the most interesting countries in terms of economic growth.
Why not learn Spanish for work? These countries are becoming increasingly important economic partners.
Mercosur and numerous other treaties such as ALADI and CACM between South and North America have helped the countries in South America to grow. These continental and international deals have helped these countries grow massively. Learning Spanish isn’t the worst idea in the world…
Poverty is also decreasing rapidly in a lot of these countries. Many jobs have also been created as a result of the growth. Thus, despite certain inequalities that still remain, the quality of life is increasing. Since the global recession in 2008, poverty has decreased by 15%.
South America is also becoming more popular with tourists wishing to learn more about Latin culture.