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Why You Should Learn… Spanish

Bullfighter          Following on from my post last week about learning Mandarin Chinese, here’s the second post in my series on the top 10 most spoken languages in the world.

No. 2: Spanish

420 million native speakers, 500 million total speakers. Official language of 22 countries, spread over Europe and North & South America, and 1 of the 6 official languages of the United Nations.

Why Spanish?

         If you’ve ever been to Spain or Latin America and have gone somewhere even only slightly off the beaten track, then you’ll understand me when I say that English hasn’t really taken off. If you’re planning on going travelling, then at least a smattering of Spanish is essential if you want to get a real insight into the country. What’s more, Latin America has faired far better than the US or Europe during the recession, and it’s another great area like China that is experiencing huge economic growth and therefore lots of opportunities. And also, Spanish-speaking people are just great fun!

         Being one of the romance languages it shares the Latin root that also underpins certain elements of the English language, making it relatively easy to learn. And for any native speaker of another Romance language, picking up Spanish is virtually effortless as there are so many similaritie,s in terms of vocabulary and grammar, with French, Portuguese, Italian, etc. Look for evening classes in your area – there are bound to be plenty as it’s one of the most popular languages to learn.

Macchu Picchu

         I would of course extol the virtues of learning Spanish as it’s one of the languages I speak, and having lived in Andalucía in the south of Spain, I can truly say that having Spanish in my toolkit was very necessary! One decision you may need to make is whether to embrace Castilian Spanish (from Spain) or Latin American Spanish. They are of course still the same language (and a speaker of one can easily speak the other) but there are big differences in accents and colloquialisms. I personally prefer Castilian Spanish, as to my ear it sounds smoother, and so when I first went to work in Chile during my Gap Year, I did struggle to adapt to the ‘Chileanisms’. But with a little effort, it is possible to learn how each country moulds the language in its own unique way.

Top 5 Survival Phrases:

  • Hola – Hello
  • Gracias – Thank you
  • ¿Qué tal? – How are you?
  • No hablo español – I don’t speak Spanish.
  • Adios – Goodbye

          To compliment the myriad of courses that there are out there, try to find a native Spanish-speaker to be a tandem partner – surrounding yourself with natives will help you perfect the accent far better than by speaking to fellow language learners. Set up a weekly tandem and spend half the time speaking Spanish, and the other half speaking the language your tandem would like to learn. You can also sign up for daily emails at Online Spanish Course containing vocabulary for a quick & easy daily lesson.

Next week I’ll be profiling the No.3 most spoken language: English.

[You can still vote below for the languages you’d most like to learn]


  1. Reblogged this on My Five Romances and commented:
    One of the blogs I follow is The Well-Travelled Postcard. Its author, Virginia, is a lot more talented than me – she speaks “English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, intermediate French and (extremely basic) Russian”. Wow. She has been doing an interesting series on the top 10 most spoken languages in the world. I would encourage you to check it out. Here I am reblogging her item encouraging people to learn Spanish and later I will reblog her item on Portuguese. I am secretly hoping that she will cover the rest of My Five Romances languages, but am not sure that Romanian will sneak into the top ten!


    • Thank you Bernard – very flattering! And always good to find another ‘linguaphile’. I have in fact just finished the series of the top 10 languages, but I do have one more post in store for next week which hopefully will meet with your approval… And I like the idea of the Five Romances – lovely idea!


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