17 Reasons Every American Should Learn Spanish

Ever hear about those teachers who used to tape kids mouths shut for speaking Spanish in schools along the U.S.-Mexico border? Turns out they weren’t just cruel, they were also limiting their student’s intellectual growth.

“Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter,” Yudhijit Bhattacharjee wrote earlier this year in a piece for the New York Times Sunday Review. “It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.”

And in the United States, there’s no question that one of the most practical options for those interested in learning a new language is Spanish. It’s the second-most spoken language in the country and the dominant tongue of many communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, South Florida and Puerto Rico. It’s the language of most of our neighboring countries in the Western Hemisphere. And it just sounds really cool.

So check out above 17 reasons why every American should learn Spanish. Got any more ideas? Let us know in the comments.

1 – Easier To Get A Job

According to the U.S Census Bureau, about 12 percent of U.S. residents speak Spanish at home. As a result rising number of jobs require spanish or at least prefer individuals who can speak spanish.

 2 – Reduces Risk Of Alzheimer’s

Seriously, for real. Fluency in two languages reduces risk of Alzheimer’s. Source: CBS

 3To Improve Cultural Understanding

Latinos are one of the fast-growing populations in the United States. English may be the country’s most commonly spoken language, but America doesn’t have an official language. We come from all around the world, and some 50 million of us have our roots in Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish can often help you get to know your neighbors.

4 – Helps Your English

Spanish is derived from Latin, like many words in English (via French). Learning Spanish will boost your vocab by familiarizing you with words that have fallen out of everyday use in English, but have common equivalents in Spanish.

 5 – Your Children Will Speak Spanish

By 2050, the US will be the largest Spanish speaking country, according to Humberto López Morales, the general secretary of the Association of Spanish Language Academies.

 6 – Bilingual In A Global World

In an increasingly global world, being bilingual makes you a more competitive force in society for jobs, travel, speaking to clients abroad.

 7 – You Should Learn For When You Travel

With 329 million native speakers, according to Ethnologue, Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the world. Get to know your hemispheric neighbors in Latin America and fake your with through Portuguese in Brazil with your new language skills.

 8 – Second Most Commonly Spoken Language In U.S.

You’re bound to run into someone who speaks only Spanish in your daily life.

 9 – Makes It Easier To Learn A Third Language

Once you learn one language it’s easier to learn others.

 10 – Makes You Smarter

That’s right — the latest research shows that speaking being bilingual improves cognitive skills unrelated to language.

 11 – Some Industries Demand Spanish Speakers Industries

Kathryn Gilles, a new registered nurse at Sutter Memorial Hospital, in Sacramento, Calif., puts information into a patient’s chart under the supervision of her mentor, Eileen Anderson, R.N., BSN, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. California’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 10.7 precent in July, as the state saw slow employment growth, adding a little more then 25,000 jobs. The figure released Friday by the California Employment Development is an improvement over the state’s 11.9 percent unemployment rate of a year ago. Jobs were added last month to health care, the government sector, financial and professional services, education and the hospitality industry. But job losses were seen in construction, manufacturing, transportation and information sectors. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

 12 – It’s Not A Hard Language To Learn

Chinese requires learning tones. French is spelled funny. Arabic has a different alphabet. Spanish, on the other hand, is spelled phonetically and many of the words are similar to English.

 13 – Watch Foreign Movies Without Reading Subtitles

Understand the subtleties and get the jokes in real time next time you watch a film from Latin America or Spain once you master the language.

 14 – Expand Your Dating Pool

Knowing another language, especially one popular in your own country boosts the amount of potential dating partners you might find. Know how to flirt in Spanish and get a leg up on the competition.

 15 – Accomplish Routine Tasks On The Border

Ever find yourself in downtown Laredo, Texas or somewhere in Miami without an English speaker in sight? Learning to speak Spanish will take care of the problem.

 16 – Impress Your Friends

Americans have a reputation for being monolingual, though about 20 percent of us speak a language other than English at home. Impress your friends by joining the ranks of the bilingual. Better yet — help them learn too!

 17 – Understand Foreign Song Lyrics

Curious why those tango singers are wailing about so dramatically? Want to know what those reggaeton guys are yelling about? Interested in knowing what the salsa your dancing to means? Learn Spanish and find out.

Augusto Restrepo

Augusto is the founder of Spanish for America, and a Spanish Instructor based in the United States. He is a professional translator and business language consultant, who focuses on the correct use of the Spanish language for advertising, media, promotional campaigns, television and radio. He also advises individuals and businesses on new structures for intercultural relationships with Spanish Language communities, countries and markets.

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