Why do we learn Spanish?
Most of our students are aware that Spanish is a language they will continue using beyond their academic life. They see the importance of the Spanish language in the world and how it is present in their daily life, not only in our school, but also in popular music, literature or that Netflix series everyone is talking about…
By Karin Oyarzo, Andrea Romero and Cristina Querol, secondary Spanish Language Acquisition teachers
Often we hear from our students how much they enjoy learning Spanish. They recognise it is a fun, warm and friendly language. But we also hear how hard it is: understanding so many dialects, lexicon, and let’s not even talk about all the tenses. To persevere with learning Spanish is might help to learn some facts and figures about the Spanish language.
Every year in October, the Instituto Cervantes (Spanish institution that promotes the teaching and learning of the Spanish language around the world) publishes a report with information based on studies, statistics and predictions regarding the language. These are interesting facts to consider from the last publication:
- Spanish is spoken by 8% of the world population and it is calculated that this percentage will remain at least until the year 2050. Furthermore, there are strong indications that this percentage might increase, as the interest in learning Spanish is increasing.
- Around 480 million people have Spanish as their mother tongue. If we add the numbers of those who are learning the language, the number grows to above 570 million, positioning this as the second most spoken language in the world.
- Spanish is the third most used language on the Internet.
- Three Spanish-speaking countries (Spain, Argentina and Mexico) are among the fifteen main film-producing countries in the world.
- Spain is the third exporter of books in the world. Two Spanish-speaking countries (Spain and Argentina) are among the top 15 producers of books in the world.
- Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, one of the most influential countries in the world economy.
When our students learn Spanish they also begin to understand the diversity of many cultures and thus develop their international mindedness. They can create connections between their own culture and the ones from the Hispanic countries, learning through diverse artefacts and topics: videos, infographics, celebrations, flora and fauna, and geography to name but a few.
As teachers, but also as Spanish speakers, we encourage everyone to learn this language. Not only because it’s a very useful language to learn in the world today, but also because thanks to it, we can understand the beauty of “En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme…” or “Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche. Escribir, por ejemplo: “La noche está estrellada, y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos”.