Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, only Chinese has more speakers. Spanish is also the second most used language on the internet.
They say that Julius Caesar once stated that “Beati Hispani quibus bibere vivere est”, meaning “Happy are the Spaniards, for whom drinking is like living”. Aside from the enological connotations included in the ancient emperor’s play on words, modern observers will also note here that the phonetic differences between the B and V had already disappeared in 1st century Hispania. This linguistic feature, along with many more, helped to create a Latin dialect that would be the seed of today’s Spanish, in all its regional varieties.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. Only Chinese has more speakers. Native Spanish speakers, people who speak it as a second language, and those that have learned Spanish as a second language, all make up over 500 million speakers spread throughout the world.
In the time of King Philip II, it could be said that “in Spain, the sun never sets”, a popular phrase pointing out that the Spanish empire was so extensive that it was always daytime in some Spanish territory around the world. Today one could easily say that it is always daytime in some Spanish speaking region. The language covers geographic landscapes that stretch beyond the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America to also encompass Equatorial Guinea and Western Sahara, two countries in which Spanish is an official language, along with certain areas of the US and the Philippines.
Spanish is also the second most used language on the internet. Statistics confirm that the presence of Spanish on the internet has been steadily increasing by 800%! Spanish is also the second most used language in the world in advertising. It’s the second most used on Twitter behind English, and 80 million people use Spanish on Facebook.
According to the latest report from the Cervantes Institute, about 18 million people around the world study Spanish as a foreign language.
The future of Spanish also looks bright. The language’s evolving demographics seem to indicate that Spanish will soon be spoken by 10% of the world’s population. It’s not surprising that, according to the latest estimates, the US will be the country with the most Spanish speakers in the world by 2050.
The rich cultural value associated with the Spanish language, the booming Spanish publishing industry in all Spanish speaking regions around the world, and the language’s flexibility and ability to adapt are all qualities that have helped Spanish continue to thrive in areas and communities that seem like they would be relatively isolated from the language, such as the Sephardi community in Isreal, where a distant mother tongue is kept alive, like a fossil that has miraculously survived the test of time, in memory of a country their ancestors were expelled from in 1492.
Spanish is increasingly becoming much more than a language of culture and civilization; it is gaining great importance in the global business world. One indicator of that fact can be seen in the number of language tourists travelling to Spain, which has nearly doubled in the last 15 years.
All these reasons and many more (which are already well known to those that use the wonderful communication tool that is Spanish) make it clear that for anyone with even the least bit of curiosity about the world, for anybody that considers the future even on a superficial level, learning Spanish is now not only a goal for intellectual or communicative purposes, but is a necessary investment in the future.