Saturday, June 22, 2013

¡Que festejemos el día de español!

A half billion persons around the world use Spanish as a first or second language

Guadalajara -
The Cervantes Institute, a Madrid-based non-profit whose goal is to promulgate the Spanish language through education and the promotion of literature, the arts and cultural events, today is celebrating World Spanish Day.

The organization claims that based upon native speakers, Spanish is the second largest language in the world, with more than 400 million users. Another 60 million people rely upon it regularly as a second medium of communication.

Only Mandarin exceeds Spanish as a language of birth.

Mexico has the largest number of native Spanish speakers in the world - over 118 million - followed by Colombia, Spain and Argentina.

According to 2011 Census Bureau data, the United States has 51.5 million Spanish speakers, which rank it above the last three mentioned countries. But since less than 38 million people claim it as a birth language, the U.S. is regarded as home to the world's fifth largest Spanish speaking population. That's little surprise, given its geographical proximity to huge concentrations of Latin American users.

Spanish is also becoming increasingly popular in Great Britain, where it could eventually become the primary language after English, according to this report.

By far the majority of Spanish speakers today use the "New World" variety, which differs significantly in pronunciation from so-called Castilian Spanish, the mother tongue. And within Latin America there are as many regional accents and vocabularies as there are nations where Spanish is the currency of communication. Even the grammar rules can change, albeit slightly.

Some years ago National Public Radio (NPR) carried a fascinating report on which country speaks the "best" Spanish. In tests it administered to hundreds of volunteer native speakers from different countries, "best" was defined as that accent, grammar usage and overall style of speaking most likely to be understood by the largest number of listeners. Colombian Spanish was the clear winner, and may explain why many of its citizens find jobs in TV and radio broadcasting and advertising.

May 26 - Mexican population is soaring, and most are young

Learning Spanish is a great way to make new friends in many lands.

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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