[Mamiverse’s Bilingual Plus is an online channel devoted to bringing parents and educators the bilingual learning tools they need in the form of digital picture books, sing-alongs, and free curriculum-based family activities]
Maybe your child is grumbling at your efforts to have him learn Spanish. Or maybe you’ve spent a lifetime resisting learning yourself, despite knowing that you really should. In either case, there are plenty of reasons why Spanish is the most important second language to learn. Here are six good ones:
1. Expand your world. Communicate in 23 nations, with more than 4.5 million people, or nearly 7% of the world population. By speaking Spanish, you can communicate with nearly all of South and Central America, Mexico, and, of course, Spain.
2. Increase your hireability. If you’re looking for any kind of work where you’ll deal with international colleagues or clients, speaking Spanish gives you an advantage over non-Spanish speaking applicants. If you live in a city or state with a high population of Hispanics, they are your potential clients, co-workers and vendors on the job. Your boss will expect you to be able to speak to them.
3. Know your neighbors. If you live in New Mexico, Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, or Colorado, at least 20% of your fellow residents are Spanish-speakers. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to speak to your neighbors?
4. Spanish is a gateway language. Spanish, along with French, Italian and Portuguese, is known as a romance language, in that it takes its roots from ancient Latin. Learn Spanish and these other languages will all come more easily to you.
5. Exercise your brain. A bilingual brain works harder and as a result, is more cognitively “fit.” The upside to this is increased ability at problem-solving and observing/assessing a situation. Plus, research suggests that being bilingual might help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementia.
6. Discover Latin culture! What might it be like to hear and understand a Pedro Almodovar film in its original language, or understand Penelope Cruz when she speaks Spanish on screen? That Spanish love song sounds beautiful, but would sound even better if you understood the words? And how about visiting a restaurant in Spain or South America and understanding the menu and the sommelier’s recommendation for the perfect bottle of Andalusian or Chilean wine to go with your meal?
When you speak Spanish, you open a host of doors—from job opportunities to greater cultural understanding and appreciation. So ándale already, and get learning!