For most of my life, I’ve read that English, French, and Mandarin Chinese will be the future language that will take over the world in the coming decades.
There is some simple reasoning behind the prediction. Yet, Spanish is another one that ticks all the right boxes for the right reasons.
Today, we are living in an ever-changing and dynamic world. With the continuous shift, it is natural to think, what next? What the future holds, and how will it be?
If you already know Spanish, are learning, or plan to start soon, you may be interested in its prospects.
And why not, when your curious mind may have endless questions about this exquisite language?
Will Spanish remain relevant as it is today in the coming years? Or will the importance fade away and become less widespread over time? What’s in store for the future, and how will it unfold?
The future of the Spanish language guide will search for the answer to all such cases.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The Past, Present, and Future of Spanish
- Why is Spanish growing in popularity?
- The Future Prospects
- Final Words on the Future of Spanish
The Past, Present, and Future of Spanish
The Spanish language, or Español, Castellano, or Castilian, has a glorious and rich history spanning many centuries. It is a compelling, diverse, and beautiful language that flourished over millennia.
The effort was always to promote the language through culture, customs, food, and literature. But now, language is central, and the language circulates everything else.
There was a time when most people used to study Spanish because everyone wanted to visit Spain or was interested in colorful traditions.
The richness of literature, theater, cinema, music, dance, festivals, and so on will continue to grow. Still, job and business options are taking to a new height.
The language is not just restricted to a few countries but has opened up on 5 continents.
The Spanish language has witnessed sharp growth with no faraway and modern technology. From instructor to study resources and learning apps to podcasts, all are easily accessible from anywhere and anytime.
Today, it fascinates many to know not just as the cradle of a rich cultural heritage but as a modern economic power. Spanish is a language of love and family, but it’s also a language of economic interactions.
The Global Reach of Spanish in Present
The Cervantes study estimates 493 million native Spanish-speaking populations worldwide. The number rises to 591 million if we count those who know it as a second or third language or have good competency as a learner.
To sum up, roughly 600 million people communicate in Spanish to varying degrees. This translates into 7.5% of the world’s population being Spanish speaking.
After Mandarin and Hindi, it is also the third most spoken mother tongue. Spanish is the official language of 20 nations and 1 US territory (Puerto Rico).
Spanish remains influential or helpful economically in many other regions and countries. Some examples are the United States, Morocco, Belize, the Philippines, France, etc.
It is no surprise that Spanish is the third most frequently used language on the internet, with 8% of usage. This is because Hispanic America is the fastest growing region in terms of the internet after English and Chinese.
Another striking fact is that 94% of the population of the nations where it is an official language spoke Spanish. This number is much higher than in English (27%), French (34%), and even Mandarin (roughly 70%).
The Relevance of the Spanish language
Languages spread, extend, and rise in influence because of various political, cultural, and financial factors. So, we can better apprehend the present and future of Spanish in the context of its status where it is spoken.
Spanish is the official language of many international bodies. For instance, Mercosur, WTO, AU, ICC, LU, ILO, ITU, OAS, OSCE, EU, NAFTA, UNASUR, CACM, and many more.
Spanish is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, along with Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian, and French.
The trade relations between Spanish-speaking Latin America and other major economies are currently underdeveloped. This creates tremendous opportunities for Spanish learners in export-import and global business.
The Hispanic world’s inordinate low share offers immense opportunities for companies worldwide. And for that, the Spanish language can be necessary to operate successfully.
Why is Spanish growing in popularity?
The Hispanic world is sought after for its rich history, fabulous literature, soccer craze, delicious food, diverse customs, addictive music, stunning places, friendly people, and colorful festivals.
The language, despite various Spanish varieties, is a central component. It expresses the beauty, elegance, uniqueness, strengths, and vividness of the culture and its depth.
The Spanish-speaking region is the birthplace of diverse literature, fascinating traditions, and other popular cultural trends!
Although cultural and artistic aspects are the top reasons. Many also pick Spanish for job potential, immigration, business opportunities, and study abroad destinations. And also for the love of dance, music, and movies.
There is a reason the British Council has ranked Spanish as the top ‘Language For The Future‘ due to its predicted rising global influence.
Predicting the future of a language like Spanish can be precarious, and unforeseen events can alter expectations.
Still, the Spanish presence across so many countries makes it more stable and less affected by unanticipated affairs in one nation. Here are five top reasons for a more optimistic future.
1. Hispanic countries are high-growth markets
Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Spain, etc., are some major global Spanish-speaking markets.
With a combined population of over 400 million, it is an enormous market for emerging and developed economies. These are also some of the most open trading nations.
Thus, it has a vast network of bilateral trade agreements across the globe.
Spain, Argentina, and Mexico are top places for international students. In addition, many superior colleges in Costa Rica, Colombia, Uruguay, and Chile get many students from abroad.
Top-rated universities, quality education, affordable fees, scholarships, traveling, and diving deep into culture are reasons students choose Spanish-speaking countries.
The language of instruction in these places is usually Spanish. Still, more English-taught courses are there to attract more international students.
While the requirement varies, in most cases, many universities ask for at least a B1 on the Spanish test SIELE or DELE.
2. An increasing number of Spanish learners
Spanish has become more popular as a second or foreign language in recent years.
According to the 2021 edition of Spanish in the world, published by the Instituto Cervantes, 24 million students are studying Spanish worldwide.
The number comprises students currently existing in 111 countries. Of course, the number is not accurate but a mere estimate. Still, this is an impressive number.
Many statistics show Spanish is a widely studied language. For example, there is a broad consensus among many analyses that it is now the fourth most studied language globally, after English, French, and Chinese.
There are many obvious reasons to study Spanish. That is why it is one of the most taught languages in the world.
Vacations to breathtaking locations, jobs involving Spanish, and cultural aspects are some of the key motivations.
The entertainment form of music, dance, TV series, and films are already in-trend worldwide. As an outcome, it attracts Spanish lovers from far and wide.
3. Promotion of the Spanish language
Several governments where Spanish is the de facto or de jure language are promoting the Spanish language globally.
The governmental institutions can give a very effective tool to spread. For example, Instituto Cervantes is the official representative of the Spanish government.
Cervantes promotes the Spanish language and culture in 77 centers in over 40 countries. It teaches Spanish and organizes cultural activities, various events, dance performances, music concerts, art exhibitions, movie screenings, debates, and more.
It also conducts the official Spanish DELE exam in over 500 exam centres in over 100 countries. And so, almost all organizations requiring Spanish language certification and scores recognize this international test.
Those passionate guardians of the Spanish language at the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language have plenty to smile about these days.
Why? Because despite the English dominance, the figure of Spanish speakers has recently shot up.
The ASALE was started in Mexico in 1951 to improve the Spanish language’s harmony, integrity, advancement, and growth. It includes all other academies in the Spanish-speaking area.
Today, it has 24 member countries, with Real Academia Española of Spain being the oldest, formed in 1713. It publishes writings, research, and reports on literature, history, culture, and work on language and the Hispanic world.
There are also several initiatives of private organizations to boost the language through courses, cultural programs, and publications.
For example, Instituto Hispania is the premier institute in India. It has created a niche to create awareness about the language and culture of the countries where Spanish is prominent.
4. Spanish is a relatively easier language to learn
Learning a new language demands time, effort, and patience. If you decide to go with Spanish, it will be an excellent choice considering its global usefulness and not being so hard to learn.
Spanish is a pretty simple language to learn for the average English speaker. While there are many Spanish dialects around the world, most speakers can communicate with each other with little to no problem.
It shares a Romance root with French, Italian, and Portuguese. There are also many similarities between Spanish, English, and German because of their Latin roots.
The Latin alphabet makes it easier for speakers of most Latin-originated languages. The grammar rules and sentence formations are also simple to understand. But the vocabulary is enormous, and it takes time to get used to it.
According to the research of FSI studies, Spanish is in category-I, i.e., relatively easier and more like English. It assesses 24 weeks (600 class hours) to achieve advanced level skills.
Once we add the US Department of State recommended 1:1 ratio of classroom and self-study. Then, it would translate into 1200 hours of Spanish studies. This is enough to achieve a C1 level of DELE or SIELE.
There are many differences between various Spanish in Europe and Latin America. E.g., the accent, vocabulary, and phrases vary. Sometimes there is a lot of influence from local languages.
Spanish remains understandable despite each country or region’s slang and unfamiliar terms. Further, the language is broadly mutually intelligible to a large extent.
5. Spanish is the 2nd most widely spoken in the USA
Do you know more Spanish speakers live in the USA than in Spain, Argentina, or Colombia?
That’s right! With over 52 million native Spanish speakers, the USA is now the second-largest Spanish-speaking nation. Only Mexico has more Spanish speakers.
62.5 million of the USA population in 2021 are of Hispanic origin, making nearly one-in-five (19%) people in the United States. It has a substantial presence in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and New York.
With a 7% growth per PEW research, they expect it to rise significantly by the mid-21st century. According to the US Census Bureau, the country will have nearly 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050.
This translates into one in three people there will speak Spanish. Thus, the US could be the world’s biggest Spanish-speaking nation.
Spanish is widespread and taught everywhere in the USA. It is valuable for various reasons. First, the global influence makes Spanish a powerful language for international business.
Many also choose to study Spanish to enhance their employment and business prospects. Or if you want to communicate with Latino Americans spread all over the country.
6. More career and job choices
Over time, Spanish became an important language of communication in cross-border business in the age of a globalized, interconnected world.
Spanish is beneficial if you prefer tourism, banking, healthcare, export-import, IT, fashion, education, food, commerce, design, or business.
Spanish matters in trade and economic relations as a foreign language learned on all continents.
There are also many career opportunities in outsourcing, international business, writing, translation, interpretation, and teaching, to name a few. Being bilingual with Spanish skills can add an advantage to your CV.
Speaking Spanish can make it easier to be qualified for jobs and work-study programs in Hispanic countries — specifically if you have sought-after skills.
The Future Prospects
Spanish is growing fast and prevalent across the board in the fastest-growing areas of the world, particularly Central and South America. The latest projection by Cervantes is that by 2050, as many as 750 million people will speak the lingo.
As the importance of Spanish grows, the language’s current status and future potential look bright. The language of love has all the elements to remain a powerful language of the future.
To benefit from globalization and take their business across the world, many non-Spanish speakers are learning Spanish. Consequently, there is a steady growth in the number of learners.
The number of organizations adopting Spanish has also increased. Now, companies are adapting their content in the Spanish language for an extensive reach.
In a nutshell, all circumstances point to a positive future.
Final Words on the Future of Spanish
If you wish to learn a language with a bright future, Spanish is the one for you that offers a variety of clear motivations for that.
A global reach, relevancy in today’s world, importance in business and non-profit, immigration, traveling confidently, gateway to other Romance languages, cultural aspects, and easy language to learn.
And the list is pretty endless!
As the craze for learning Spanish is increasing globally, choosing for a brighter future from personal and professional viewpoints makes sense.
With so many good reasons to learn Spanish, it can translate into a commitment to the long term for learners across the globe.
Only time will unfold if it will dominate in the future or not. But with all the indications and outlooks, destiny looks promising. So I hope you understand why I said Spanish could be the language of the future.
Whatever happens, I can assure you that Instituto Hispania’s team of Spanish experts will help with all your Spanish-related questions.
Do you want to share your thoughts or add something? Do not hesitate to add to the comment section.
I am writing an article on Spanish in the US for the Research Institute of United States Spanish, RIUSS. I will quote you and send the article to you when finished. Gracias.