What is the Future for the Spanish Language? – Part 2/2
Spanish Language – Facts, Figures and Trends
How the language of Don Quixote, fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de La Mancha, spread around the world has been discussed in the first part of this article. Here, in part two, I explore the importance of Spanish as a world language.
Today, more than 400 million people in the world speak Spanish as their native tongue; another 100 million plus, do so as a second language.
Spain has over 46 million native-speakers whilst Latin America and the USA make up the majority of the overall 350 million native Spanish speakers in the World today.
Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations as well as of the European Union and Mercosur, and of many international organizations and bodies such as the International Criminal Court and the World Trade Organisation.
It is the official language of 20 countries in the World. As mentioned earlier, it is also widely spoken in the USA, Philippines, Africa, Equatorial Guinea; and amongst a small number of inhabitants of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco, Belice, Andorra and Gibraltar.
The 22 Academies which are part of the Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, (ASALE), The Association of Spanish Language Academies, ensure the coherence of the language throughout the countries where it is spoken.
It is estimated that in 2050, four out of ten USA inhabitants will speak Spanish; making it the highest concentration of Spanish speakers in the World.
In 2005, Brazil introduced a new law, establishing that public and private secondary schools must offer Spanish as a second language. Whilst this is obviously very costly to implement, learning Spanish as a second language in Brazil is extending fast. This is considered a national priority, and a worthwhile investment for the future of Brazil as a global nation.
Spanish is in the top three languages most studied as second language. According to the Instituto Cervantes, currently, the number of people studying Spanish as a second language exceeds 19 million in the World.
Similarly, learning Spanish as a second language has been on the increase in Europe. In recent years Spanish has become one of the most studied languages in Ukraine; this appears to have been a byproduct of bilateral relations between the Spanish and Latin American countries with Ukraine.
As you can clearly see Spanish is becoming a truly global language, be that simply through natural growth and evolution or through deliberate design by future-savvy Governments and nations.
Currently in the UK it is estimated that there are 850,000 Spanish-speakers. In 2014 the British Council published Languages for the Future . The Report suggests that native English speakers are not choosing a variety of second languages to learn or use, therefore the UK needs to develop its citizens’ competence in a wider range of languages, and in far greater numbers, in order to reap the economic and cultural benefits available to those who have these skills.
The Report concludes that not enough British people are learning a second language and the country needs a greater number of people speaking additional languages to boost its world standing. The predictors used by the British Council show that Spanish emerged in pole-position of the 10 most useful languages for the future success of the UK.
 To access to the British Council report, click here: Languages for the future.
(This blog is a follow up to my previous article: What is The Future for the Spanish Language – Part 1/2, 11 Jan 15)