The Spanish colonized many countries around the world during the height of their empire, between the 13th and 17th centuries, leaving the Spanish language firmly planted in each territory. Today, Spanish is one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world.
Spanish is one of the European Union’s official languages (being spoken in Spain), it is one of the United Nation’s six official languages, and is predominant throughout Latin America. Over 50 million people in the United States today speak Spanish, comprised of 45 million hispanics and some 6 million students of the Spanish language. This makes the U.S. host to the largest Spanish-speaking community in the world, outside of Mexico. It’s predicted that by 2050, nearly 100 million people in the United States will speak Spanish.
Worldwide, Spanish is spoken by over 420 million people (some estimates suggest that up to 500 million people may speak Spanish). Spanish is commonly spoken in more than 20 countries and is the second most natively spoken language after Mandarin Chinese.
Today, many people who learned English as their first language are beginning to appreciate the importance of learning a second (or third) language. Americans are leading the way with large numbers of mono and bi-lingual Americans now beginning to learn second and third languages in earnest. For mono-lingual Americans, Spanish is at the top of the ‘second language wish list’.