Although some would call me biased as I love anything Hispanic or Latin American, it shouldn’t take much for me to persuade you to learn Spanish! There are so many reasons for learning this wonderful language and I will outline these below.
Firstly, Spanish has the second largest number of native speakers in the world. The language is spoken in so many countries around the globe. In fact, there are twenty countries which have Spanish as the official language plus Puerto Rico. It is also widely spoken in other countries such as the US, where there are more Spanish speakers than in Spain!
Secondly, when you learn Spanish, you also learn about lots of vibrant cultures in Latin America and Spain. There is so much more to Spain than bullfighting and flamenco (although, I DO love a bit of flamenco). Each region of Spain has its own culture and traditions and lots of amazing food. Latin America is the same, there are so many different people groups and even different types of Spanish (there is a lot of regional variation not only between mainland Spain and Latin America, but also between the Latin American countries themselves).
Thirdly, I find that Spanish and Latin American people just have an amazing way of viewing the world and this is expressed through their language. Of course, as I just reiterated, the culture of each region brings regional diversity to Spanish, but the common thread is that it is very passionate, romantic and expressive language. I almost find that I change personality when speaking Spanish; my polite British self gets much more extroverted when I switch to my second language.
Fourthly, if you are a history buff, learning Spanish and doing Hispanic studies would be really exciting for you. There is so much to discover, some of which is very sad, but worthwhile learning. I learnt a lot at university that I didn’t know about Hispanic history and it is amazing the effect that it has had on the language. For example, did you know that ‘zanahoria’ (carrot) is of Arabic origin? It comes from the time when the Moors ruled Spain. Similarly, ‘aceite’ (oil) is derived from the Arabic Azzait. Fascinating, isn’t it?
In addition, learning Spanish can improve your job prospects. Do you want to move to the US? You are at a serious advantage if you know Spanish! Do you want to teach English abroad in Latin America or Spain? Even a basic knowledge of the native tongue will grant you kudos with the locals and your employer. It certainly helped me when I went to Bolivia on my gap year that I knew Spanish; I was teaching English in a school and the kids had varying degrees of English knowledge and I needed to use my grasp of their native tongue to help them learn (especially the younger ones).
Furthermore, if you are a music aficionado and enjoy your Latin music, you’d enjoy knowing what the lyrics mean! Music can be a very useful tool in learning a language and if you are a musician it adds another string to your bow if you can sing (and pronounce) lyrics. However, even if you are not particularly musical, it can still be interesting to know what the songs are saying.
Finally, if you have children, if you know some Spanish and can teach it to them, that is an immense privilege for you and from them. It gives them a wider outlook on the world and teaches them new skills. Spanish is also a phonetic language (hurrah!) so that makes it easier for them (and you) to master. This means that letters are pronounced consistently.
Have I convinced you yet? I hope so! Let me know if you’d like Spanish group or individual classes.