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The Importance of Spanish

The Importance of Spanish

Spanish is characterized for its responsiveness and adaptability which has allowed it to continually evolve and expand over time. Learn more about it

Spanish is a language characterized for its responsiveness and adaptability with regards to incorporating other sounds and languages which has allowed the language to continually evolve and expand over time. In the third century B.C., when Hispania was populated by speakers of common Latin, there were already signs of different linguistic characteristics in the region. By the 11th century, after more than a thousand years, these changes developed into what was the beginning of a new language. By the end of the 13th century the status of the new Castilian language would be affirmed when Alfonso X authorized its use over Latin to write important works. In 1492 the Spanish language would get a fresh of breath air with the arrival of Spanish speakers to America and the subsequent mixture of races and language that still continues today.

If we were to put numbers to the language, we could point out that the Spanish language amasses 150,000 words in its Historical Dictionary. Only English surpasses the lexical richness of Castilian Spanish with some 350,000 entries in the Oxford dictionary.

The Spanish language has been greatly enriched by words from both the native languages of the Americas and English. English has especially contributed to the language in with its technological words. Although there is a strong push to maintain the Castilian language as pure as possible, the widespread use of certain Anglicisms is undisputed and has lead to the inclusion of such words in the Royal Spanish Academy

The elasticity and adaptability of Castilian Spanish have converted it into a language of international communication and growth. Spanish is the main language in more than twenty countries which implies not only a growing demographic influence but also a great economic importance. The Latin American market speaks Spanish and the language is already the second most spoken language in the US with a rapid growth of almost 2 million speakers a year. It should not be forgotten that Spanish arrived to North America before English and it is therefore no surprise that such a large part of the country has been influenced by the language. This is most obviously seen with a simple glance at the names of places in the US which have been clearly impacted by the prevalence of the language. In areas such as the state of Florida, Spanish is spoken by more than 50% of the population. It is a mother language in the U.S. which is estimated to become the first Spanish speaking country in the world by 2050 when it surpasses Mexico.

Spanish as a foreign language has been propelled by emerging economies in countries such as Brazil. Recognizing the importance of the language, Brazil added Spanish as an obligatory subject in secondary school and has since seen the number of students of the language multiply by five times.

Reflecting upon the number of people whose mother tongue is Spanish, the language is the second most spoken in the world after Mandarin China. Even English and Hindi-Urdu has less native speakers. Recent studies agree that English, Spanish and Chinese are set to further their status as the three main languages of international communication this century.

The Spanish language also has a significant economic importance. For example, the Castilian publishing market exports make up 5% of the Spanish GDP.

Also, in the global world that we are living in thanks to Internet, it is important to note that of the estimated two billion web users, 500 million speak English and 200 million speak Spanish, beating out France (80 million), German (65 million), Arabic (50 million) and Russian (45 million).

Eduardo Lago, director of the Cervante’s Institute in New York commented: “The power of Spanish is in its infancy with respect to what it will become in the future.  Spanish will make Simon Bolivar’s dream of uniting all of the Americas a reality”.