Why learn Spanish? Well, for a start as a Spanish speaker, you’ll find yourself in good company. Spoken in Spain, central and southern America, and parts of the USA, Spanish is the fourth biggest language in the world.
There are many reasons why learning Spanish, or any second language for that matter, is a good idea.
Improved understanding of English
A large proportion of English has French origins which, in turn contains a lot of Latin-based vocabulary. Since Spanish is also a Latin language, the study of it will give you have a better understanding of your native vocabulary. Likewise, Spanish and English share Indo-European roots, so they have similar grammatical systems. There is, perhaps, no more effective way to learn English grammar than by studying the grammar of another language, because you are forced to think about how your language is structured. For instance, students of Spanish often gain a better understanding of English verbs’ tenses and moods by learning how those verbs are used in Spanish.
The United Kingdom and the USA each has Spanish speaking neighbours so why not make an effort to communicate? And don’t forget, as a popular second language, Spanish can also enable you to talk with other people who do not share your native tongue, but, like you, know Spanish.
If you’ve travelled to any Spanish speaking country, you probably found that you could get by without speaking Spanish. You can check it at a hotel, you can ask for food and drink, and you can buy a bus ticket. But imagine the fun of engaging the locals in a real conversations as you would in English. Imagine the friendships you could make, the doors that might open, and the experiences you could have while travelling. You’ll feel less like a tourist looking in and much more like a part of the action.
Learning the languages of cultures other than our own can teach us about how other people think. Spanish also offers abundant literature, both modern and traditional. Just think of Miguel de Cervantes, Isabel Allende and Gabriel García Márquez.
Learning other languages
If you can learn Spanish, you’ll have a head start in learning other Latin-based languages such as French and Italian. Russian and German will also become more accessible, since they also have Indo-European roots and have some characteristics (such as gender and extensive conjugation) that are present in Spanish but not English. Even non-Indo-European languages could appear less daunting, since learning the structure of a language provides a reference point for learning others.
Spanish is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn. Much of its vocabulary is similar to that of English, and written Spanish is almost completely phonetic. Look at almost any Spanish word and you can tell how it is pronounced.
And while mastering the grammar of Spanish is challenging, a knowledge of basic grammar will see you communicating after only a few lessons.
Knowing a second language opens up opportunities in commerce, tourism, education and much more. Even if an employer has no direct need of a Spanish speaker on the team, the fact that you are making efforts at picking up a new skill demonstrates your willingness to learn. Also, there is evidence to suggest that bilinguals are just smarter!
Whether you enjoy talking, reading, or mastering challenges, you’ll find all of them in learning Spanish. For many people, there’s something inherently enjoyable about successfully speaking in another tongue. Perhaps that’s one reason children sometimes speak in Pig Latin or devise secret codes of their own. Although learning a language can be work, the efforts pay off quickly when you finally get to use your skills.
For many people, Spanish offers the most rewards with the least effort of any foreign language. It’s never too late to begin learning.