Spanish: c2018 Daniel Franklin (1843magazine.com)
Imagine that the Spanish-speaking world was a single country, called Hispanidad. It covers a territory perhaps one-and-a-half times the size of China. Its population is nearly 500m, making it the world’s third most populous country, behind China and India.
(See below for course ideas)
Among these people, the number of native Spanish-speakers is rising towards 400m; as a mother tongue, only Mandarin Chinese is bigger. Hispanidad also has a rich literature, from Cervantes to Gabriel García Márquez, that is best enjoyed in the original. And you really should see an Almodóvar film without subtitles. Only English and Chinese are more widely used on the internet than Spanish.
So if you are in business, into the arts or just want to join la conversación, the sheer size of Hispanidad is a powerful reason to learn Spanish. But Hispanidad is not a single country. The fact that it spreads across the Americas, Spain and even parts of Africa and Asia makes the case for Spanish stronger still.
After English, it is the most used international language. For tourists it eases and enriches travel in the 20-plus countries where Spanish is a main language (though some may prefer to skip Equatorial Guinea). Students have an enviable choice of stimulating places to hone their Spanish skills, from Venezuela to Argentina to Spain itself.
Not forgetting the United States, the country with the second-largest number of Spanish-speakers (about 50 million and rising) after Mexico. Latinos are growing in influence culturally, commercially and politically. Nowadays, would-be presidents make sure to advertise in Spanish: Soy Mitt Romney y apruebo este mensaje.
Even for those with no political ambitions, there is another compelling reason to pick Spanish as your second language: it’s easy (certainly compared with, say, Mandarin). And once you’ve got Spanish, you’re half-way to Italian, French and Portuguese too.
Learn Spanish? ¡Cómo no!, as they say in Hispanidad.
Here in Hondon, there are many private teachers, shared classes and the Townhalls in the area will from time-to-time offer free courses. if you want to learn remotely online, a quick “Google” will find you many courses (free, cheap and full certified courses). There are also interactive mobile Apps such as DuoLingo (free) to get you started. Rosetta Stone make a DVD-ROM course.
Or you cold plump for the old fashioned “buy a book” to learn. Which ever is best for you, we highly recommend you learn some Spanish as it will help you integrate more, understand the rules and medical and of course engage with the many friendly locals in the Hondon Valley.
Lane Green suggests:
Duolingo is a free all-in-one package, and will get you going. If ready to commit, Babel is a cheap and high-quality subscription that helpfully explains grammar in the teaching. Rosetta Stone, much marketed, now offers a competitive subscription price, but its approach of teaching through pictures, without ever using the learner’s native language, is best kept for easy European languages. Memrise, with many free courses, is brilliant for vocabulary, and even some elements of grammar. It is based on the science of spaced repetition: words are re-introduced at lengthening intervals in flashcard-style exercises. When you get one wrong, the length between repetitions is shortened again, before gradually lengthening. (If you can find them, use the Memrise courses that have audio: when you hear and see the word simultaneously, each reinforces the other – and the audio will train you out of pronouncing the words as though they were English much faster.)