Let’s face it. Learning a foreign language can be an intimidating and overwhelming concept. Stuck in your own little world, surrounded by other English speakers, it is easy assume that English is sufficient and that there is no need or reason to venture outward. Don’t let this small sense of security fool you. The world is so much bigger than you can imagine. If you have ever dabbled in the idea if learning Spanish, let me reinforce those thoughts with 10 undeniable reasons to start learning Spanish, today!
1.) …to join the club!
Over 575 million people speak Spanish (2018). Why don’t you? In fact, Spanish is the 2nd most spoken native language in the world. Can you guess which language took the number one spot? I’ll give you a hint! It’s NOT English. (It’s Mandarin.) English comes in third place with approximately 480 million native speakers, followed by Hindi. The Spanish-speaking population has been growing at supersonic speeds for the last several decades and will most likely continue to grow steadily, even within the United States. According to El País, there are approximately 40 million native Spanish speakers in the United States. This doesn’t include those within the U.S. that are not native Spanish speakers, but have learned Spanish secondarily.
2.) …to increase brain function!
Is your memory lacking? Do you wish that you could recall information more rapidly? Many studies suggest that learning a second language significantly enhances cognitive abilities and memory. In fact, statistics have demonstrated that there is a direct link between bilingualism and higher academic achievement, higher self-esteem, and higher scores on standardized tests, including reading, math, science, and social studies scores. The NEA report labeled the resulting benefits to self-image, self-esteem, and satisfaction as “enormous.” On top of this, these results were not gender or race specific. In other words, regardless of who you are, learning Spanish can make you smarter.
3.) …to open more doors!
Among the top benefits to learning any foreign language (especially Spanish) is career advancement and security. While English may be the world’s international economic language, the ability to reach out to individuals of the 2nd most common use language in the world definitely has its benefits. Learning a foreign language promotes more global competency. The vast majority of industrialized countries require students to begin world language courses in the elementary schools and continue them yearly throughout high school. As of right now, most U.S. colleges/universities require only two years of a foreign language for acceptance. International business leaders have warned that American graduates competing for the same jobs as their peers from other countries, may be technically competent but are increasingly culturally deprived and linguistically illiterate compared with graduates from other countries. Stay ahead of the game!
4.) …because, in relation to English, Spanish is a breeze.
Ok, so perhaps Spanish grammar seems a bit more complicated, but phonetically speaking, in Spanish, what you see is what you get. There are minimal exceptions to phonemic rules. English, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Sometimes it seems as if we have more exceptions to the rules than rules themselves. Spanish has 25 phonemes, while it is argued that English has 44. As a native English speaker, we become desensitized to the complications of the English language. Take the words cough, rough, through, though, for example. Why do these words not rhyme? How about the word “Queue”? Who said, we’re going to make this word 5 letters long, but we’re only going to pronounce the first one? Crazy, right? The image below also demonstrates how crazy English can be. Moral of the story→ if you can learn English and abide by its rules (or lack thereof) you can dominate Spanish.
5.) …because your knowledge of English helps you learn Spanish (& vice versa)!
This point kind of goes along with the previous point. The Latin roots of the Romance languages makes learning Spanish a lot easier. Between the existence of cognates (ie: música and music) and root words, Spanish reading comprehension skills should be very attainable. As an added bonus, learning Spanish can actually to improve your English language skills, too! Multilingual Living (an magazine that promotes global communication and multilingualism) sums this concept up quite nicely in the following excerpt:
“For example, the Spanish word “mal” means “bad”. That small root always carries a negative connotation in English. It becomes obvious in words such as malevolent, malicious, malfunction, and malignant. The Spanish inverse is “bien”, which means “good”. English words with positive connotations containing a similar root include beneficial, benevolent, benign, and benefit.”
Visit this Multilingual Living’s article by clicking HERE for more information regarding how learning Spanish helps you better your English.
6.) …to receive gratitude for service and assistance!
Have you ever been behind someone in line at the store who is struggling to communicate with the clerk? What about at work? Have you ever had a client that needed a service, but was unable to adequately communicate his/her needs with you? Just the other day, I was at the dentist for a cleaning, when the person in front of me was trying to make an appointment. Unfortunately, this individual’s insurance had changed and the dentist office no longer accepted this type of insurance. Long story short, the lady behind the desk was struggling to relay this information to the patient who did not understand what was being said, as her English was limited. Due to my knowledge of the Spanish language, I was able to jump in and help them out. I relayed the information to the woman and was also able to offer directions to a location that would be able to accept her insurance. The gratitude from not only the patient, but also the worker, was immense. It felt good to know that my bilingualism is beneficial to myself, as well as other people.
7.) …to impress your friends!
Not only can your Spanish be beneficial to other people, but it’s impressive, as well. Learning a foreign language is an admirable feat. You’ll, undoubtedly, be the star of many conversations. Isn’t it nice to have people highlight a characteristic of you that you worked so hard on? It definitely helps with self-esteem! Plus, your awesomeness might even be motivation for your friends to try and learn Spanish, as well! Look at you, role-model!
8.) …to find the love of your life!
You know, in the movies, when the protagonist goes on a much needed vacation and meets a super hot, exotic stranger with whom they instantly click? It doesn’t matter that they don’t speak the same language, because they both know the language of love and that is all that matters. With the language of love, they can break down any barrier and conquer the world. Yeah, no. That doesn’t happen. You cannot build a future with someone who doesn’t understand you. So, why not broaden your horizons and expand the pool. Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but what if your fish is a pez? What if your soulmate is waiting for you and all that is restricting you from being with him/her is that you don’t know their language and you’re not confident enough to grab the bull by the horns? Don’t lose out on the chance to have the love of your life! Learn Spanish!
(Photo credit: Jonathan Borba)
9.) …because you’re missing out on so many awesome books and movies!
There are an abundance of amazing books and movies in Spanish that you’re missing out on and they are all right at your fingertips. Here are some of my favorites:
Super Awesome Spanish Movies
–Bajo la misma luna
–No se aceptan devoluciones
–La lengua de las mariposas
–Como agua para chocolate
–Overboard (okay, not entirely Spanish, but a lot of Spanish included that adds so much to the charm and hilarity.
Super Awesome Spanish Books
–El alquimista (Paulo Coehlo)
–La distancia entre nosotros (Reyna Grande)
–Corazón tan blanco (Javier Marías)
–Que nadie duerma (Juan José Millás)
–Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes) …Ok, You knew I couldn’t put a list of great Spanish novels without including this one.
Do you have a favorite Spanish movie or book? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below to let us know all about your favorites!
10.) …because you’ll get left behind!
If all of the other reasons weren’t enough to convince you, just consider everyone that has made the leap. As I mentioned before, the Spanish is a vastly growing world language. Twenty-one countries list Spanish as their official language. Several more speak it as a secondary language. The world is progressing whether you join or not! Get with the game! Don’t get left behind!
(Photo Credit: Dan Gold)
Alban, Deane. “The Brain Benefits of Learning a Second Language.” Be Brain Fit, Be Brain Fit & Blue Sage LLC, 29 May 2019, http://www.bebrainfit.com/benefits-learning-second-language/.
Collins, Leslie. “Learn Spanish to Help You Understand English!” Multilingual Living, 25 Apr. 2014, http://www.multilingualliving.com/2011/09/23/learning-spanish-can-help-you-understand-english/.
Morales, Manuel. “Number of Spanish Speakers Tops 577 Million.” EL PAÍS, 5 July 2018, http://www.elpais.com/elpais/2018/07/05/inenglish/1530780465_701866.html.
Stopera, Dave. “18 Rules that Prove the English Language Needs to Be Stopped.” BuzzFeed, 10 February 2017, http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/english-language