Thursday, November 3, 2011

Looking for some more reasons to justify your study of Spanish? The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese website (aatsp.org) lists the following...

  • There are 328,518,810 Spanish speakers worldwide, putting it second only to Chinese for total number of native speakers.
  • In the US, it is used by some 35 million people or around 10% of the US population. This makes the US home to the fourth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world.
  • Spanish is the fourth most widely geographically used language in the world, spanning 44 countries.
  • It is the official language of 21 countries.
  • It serves as the most commonly taught foreign language in the United States.
  • 68.8% of high school students and 52.2% of post-secondary students with world language programs choose to study Spanish.
  • It serves as an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, World Trade Organization, and North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • It is the third most commonly used language on the Internet (after English and Chinese).
  • Hispanic citizens make up 15.4% of the US population and the second largest ethnic group.
  • There are more than 5,000 elected US officials who are of Latino/Hispanic origin.
Spanish has been spoken in the US for centuries, and it is used in many different ways today.
  • It began being used in what is now the US in 1513 (almost five centuries ago) by Ponce de León. Spanish was the language spoken by the first permanent European settlers and explorers.
  • Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer, traveled from Florida to the Gulf of California 267 years before the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • Spanish is a part of our popular culture, with shows like "Dora the Explorer," "The George Lopez Show," and "Ugly Betty," as well as the language of major networks such as Univisión and Telemundo. 
  • Spanish influence is evident in place names: states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Florida, California, and Arizona all come from Spanish words; cities and regions such as Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Alcatraz, Toledo, Sante Fe, and Las Vegas, to name a only handful, are also of Spanish origin.

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