6 Reasons to Learn Spanish
Does one really need reasons to learn Spanish? Spanish is more than just a language; it’s an art, a culture, and rhythm rolled into one; it is vibrant, energetic, pulsating and exciting. Spanish reminds you of warm sunny beaches, flamenco, salsa and tropical paradise – it has that quality to it!
Spanish is spoken in over 20 countries around the world – and by almost 6% of the world population. That translates into roughly 500 million people; not a small figure by any shot. It’s the third most spoken language in the world, behind Mandarin and English. In the United States alone, there are around 41 million speakers of Español; that is about 16% of the entire population of this country! So now you know how important this language is.
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It is very useful to learn any language; but when you learn a language that is spoken so widely – a global language – you have several advantages. So let’s take a look at why it is important to learn Spanish:
1. It is easy to learn and fun to speak
It really is; compared to other languages, Spanish is quite easy for someone who is fluent in English. The grammar is nowhere near as difficult as French or German, and the pronunciation is also relatively easier. Spanish is also a very fun language to speak; the way the words roll of your tongue makes it sound exotic and awe inspiring. If you live and work in the US, you’re bound to meet at least a couple of Spanish speaking persons every week. You can enjoy some nice conversations – new experiences are always refreshing and rejuvenating.
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2. You will Grow as a person
Learning a new language also exposes you to their culture, their food, their passions, their music, art… in fact, everything that is specific to the speakers of the language. You will get to learn a great deal and feel the richer for it. You will be able to converse with many more people, make new friends, enjoy many more movies, TV shows and songs; it will open doors you never thought could be opened! Spanish is a very expressive language, unlike English which believes in restraint. Call it hot-blooded if you will! Learning Spanish can make you more expressive as well – and that’s always a good thing. There are several Latin American singers who are very popular – Jeniffer Lopez, Ricki Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Daddy Yankee and so on. Once you’ve learnt Spanish, you can enjoy the song fully as you will be able to understand what they are singing too – apart from the wonderful rhythm and melody all those songs seem to have .You will enjoy your travels more as well; you can have a much richer and fulfilling experience in your travels in all the regions where people speak this language. You can immerse yourself in the Latin culture and appreciate Hispanic contributions to culture. Open your mind to a host of out of the world experiences, and you will be grateful that you decided to learn the language. Another benefit is that you can improve your cognitive skills. Learning a new language can sharpen those little grey cells. Research has also suggested that knowing more languages keeps your brain young and prevents the onset of dementia and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
3. It can help you Improve your English
This may have some of you staring at the screen in disbelief or laughing as if it was a joke, but believe me, it’s not. English is a language that has borrowed heavily from numerous languages around the world – French, Latin, German, Hindi, Tamil, and more. When you know Spanish you will have a better understanding and appreciation of English words that have Latin roots. If your career involves any field of linguistics like translation, this will be a huge advantage for you. Understanding the cultural nuances of a language goes a long way in performing precise translations.
4. It will help your Professional Growth
This is perhaps the most compelling reasons an individual could have to learn this language; this is especially so if you live in the US. Many organizations have started mentioning that they would prefer a candidate who is reasonably fluent in Spanish also. If you live in States with a sizeable Spanish speaking population like California or Florida, it becomes even more imperative. It is crucial if your work involves meeting people from diverse backgrounds and interacting with them – like social services, healthcare, teaching, legal services and so on. And if you’re in the translation industry, it is of utmost importance and necessity. Living in the US as a translation expert means you’re highly likely to get documents to be translated to or from Spanish; if you don’t have expertise in the language, it means you’re missing out on a horde of opportunities. You could even make a career change and become a translator, especially if you’re fed up with your present work. As a translator, you can also work as a freelancer, which means you can pick the amount of work, the timings, your clients, and your charges. You can have a great career, and specialize in your subject matter; like legal documents translation, or transcriptions translation to or from Spanish. So if you’re keen to grow in your career – whatever it is, and especially so if you’re a translator – you need to learn Spanish.
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5. Find International Jobs
If you are ever in a situation where you have to relocate, knowing another language will stand you in good stead. We have already established that Spanish is spoken in over 20 countries. Well, imagine you’re headed for one of those 20 countries – Caramba! If you’ve learned and mastered Spanish, there will be no dearth of employment opportunities for you to choose from – provided you do possess the educational qualifications requisite for that job of course. If you are relocating to a country where Spanish is not spoken, you can still work. You can freelance as a translator. In fact, you may find more work, as there may not be many people who actually know the language well enough to undertake translation work. Another career opportunity for you as a linguist can be helping a Spanish speaker to learn English. You can do this whether you live in the U.S or in a Spanish speaking nation. Today Spanish is found in many places, even outside Latin America or Spain. Even in a few other European and some Asian countries, you can find Spanish influence. This could be in the form of the cuisine or entertainment. With the borders between countries shrinking day by day in a rapidly globalizing world, knowing a language spoken by millions of people is a gigantic plus. Even if your career is not in linguistics, you can be benefitted: imagine getting an international transfer to a Spanish speaking country because you’re fluent in the language! Now there’s a free travel itinerary for you!
6. Learning Other Languages will be Easier
Once you have gained mastery over Spanish, you will be amazed to know that several other languages are now not all ‘just Greek and Latin’ to you. Italian and Portuguese have many similar words, and you will be able to pick up those languages with relative ease now. Even if you want to learn a Germanic language, you will find it much easier than if you had tried to learn that language before Spanish. This is because your brain is now fine tuned to quickly grasp and learn new languages. It is pretty much like muscle memory. Did you know that thousands of Spanish words have their roots in Arabic? Ah yes, the Alhambra! You get the drift? Ages ago, Arab moors had ruled Spain for some time, and left traces of their language on the local tongue. So yes, learning Arabic will also be easier for you this time round. For those of you who don’t know about the Alhambra – it is a grand palace and fortress in Granada, Spain built in the mid 13th century by the then Muslim Emir. This bit of information is just to make you aware of the extent of intermingling of cultures that has been happening globally for hundreds of years.
If you want to start learning Spanish there are many avenues open to you. You can enroll yourself in a Spanish language course and attend classes. The Spanish Institute is one of the premier institutes where you can learn from native speakers and get your diction, grammar and writing spot on. There is also no dearth of online sites, like Lingoda, Telemundo, DuoLingo, FluentU, Fluencia, Coffee Break Spanish, Univision, and so on. They have free basic lessons, and the paid versions which are more advanced. You can also read Spanish newspapers and e-zines online, watch movies and shows, and listen to Spanish songs. If you have someone in your neighborhood who is Hispanic, you can take their help too. In fact, learning in an informal setting has plenty of advantages too.
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