Despite critics and those who see the growth of the Spanish language in the US as a threat to American culture and lifestyle, no one can deny that Spanish is not a foreign language in the United States. More than that, the rapid growth of the language has benefits that not only impact our economics and ability to do business globally, but also influences the way we relate to one another.
While many people link the spread of the Spanish language in the US only to immigration from Latin America, the reality is that the mindset around language learning has been changing and more monolingual Americans either venture into learning a second language or enroll their children in dual programs recognizing the need their kids will have of Spanish or Chinese once they enter the job market a decade or more from now.
Along with formal learning of the Spanish language in the US it’s also the more spread use of Spanish words by English speakers, in TV commercials and the introduction of Spanish language shows with subtitles in English available via Netflix. Each of these things have help growth the use of Spanish and are a sign of the times we are living in as the world has gone global.
Even if you are on the opposing side of the spread of the Spanish language in the US, on the fence as what that really means for Americans, or are excited about bilingualism and the potential it presents, the reality is that the Spanish language in the US is not a foreign language anymore and that it brings benefits for the country that impact everyone, even if you are a monolingual English speaker.
Here Are Some Benefits Of The Spanish Language In The US
- Good for the bottom line. A couple of years ago there was a fun fact about the use of Spanish to send love notes through social media and crowned Spanish as the language of love (a title we know has belong to French since forever). I don’t know about that; what I do know about is the economic benefit of Spanish to the US economy. As researchers established in the 80s, language is a form of human capital, a resource that helps generate and produce money. With more people using the Spanish language in the US, the ability to conduct more business and be connected to global markets has increased.
- Global mentality growth. With the spread of the Spanish language in the US comes an inevitable familiarity with listening people speak things other than English. Even though we have a long way to go before the United States is considered a country of citizens with a global mentality, we must recognize that the use of other languages helps people be at ease and experience less fear of the unknown.
- Raising better thinkers. It is not secret now that learning a second language makes a kid smarter. The need to code switch from an early age, makes bilingual kids’ brain more flexible and adaptable, making bilingual children better at thinking outside the box. If the trend of raising bilingual kids continues, we are seamlessly grooming the next generation of thinkers and innovators without much effort. That will impact the United States of the future having professionals that not only have benefit from the growth of the Spanish language in the US, but also are better prepared in professional fields due to their improved cognitive skills.
- The social language. When it comes to social media, there is no doubt that American Latinos are at the forefront of using all digital platforms to be social, conduct business, engage on politics and everything else. That’s why it comes to no surprise that Spanish is the third most used language on the Internet, and the second most used in the two biggest platforms: Facebook and Twitter, with a rapid growth that might position it at the top at some point. This is beneficial because it gets us closer to the world, social media allows us to meet people and learn from them even when they are miles and oceans away.
- Embracing multicultural America. I’m a firm believer that language is the ultimate connector. It makes what seems foreign and incomprehensible into something interesting and familiar. With the growth of the Spanish language in the US, as well as Mandarin Chinese and other languages that are spoken in the United States, will definitely come an embrace to multicultural America. I believe that language is going to ultimately allow us to see each other as equal, as citizens of a great country with different, unique and beautiful cultural backgrounds, but with common goals, interests and a love of country.
What other benefits you think Spanish bring to the US?