Spanish speakers have grown 70% in the world in the last 30 years

The ‘Brexit’ “consolidates the advance” of Spanish in the United Kingdom, according to the Yearbook of Spanish

The Spanish-speaking community has grown almost 70% since the launch of the Cervantes Institute 30 years ago, according to the yearbook ‘Spanish in the world 2021’, prepared precisely by the institution directed by Luis García Montero.

In a special edition of this study for the 30th anniversary of Cervantes, the yearbook also includes articles by different personalities, including King Felipe VI and the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, who congratulate the institution.

Thus, the King highlights the “support” of the Crown to Cervantes, evidenced in the inauguration of more than 20 new centers (and some venues) between 2002 (opening of Moscow) and 2012 (Krakow), in the presence of the Corona in the annual directors’ meetings since its inception in 2005, or in the election of the Cervantes to host the first public words of the Princess of Asturias (October 2018) and his first solo act on March 24.

“The role of Cervantes in these three decades reveals its importance as an instrument of public diplomacy,” stressed the monarch, who speaks of a future “with an exciting path, not without challenges and difficulties, that will have to be faced with rigor and enthusiasm “.

On his part, Sánchez speaks of a “commendable work” by Cervantes that has led to “unanimous recognition” of the institution, which has become “the international benchmark in the teaching of Spanish.” For the President of the Government, “his continuous commitment to a pan-Hispanic approach” in cultural dissemination “allows the uniting activities of creators in the Spanish language belonging to the 21 Spanish-speaking countries, as well as events in Catalan, Basque or Galician”.

In total, this work quantifies almost 493 million people who have Spanish as their mother tongue (four million more than in 2020). Furthermore, potential Spanish users exceed 591 million (six more than last year), equivalent to 7.5% of the world’s population.

Spanish is the second mother tongue in the world by number of speakers, after Mandarin Chinese and also the third language in a global tally of speakers, after English and Mandarin Chinese.

Cervantes estimates suggest that the number of Spanish speakers will continue to grow in the next five decades, although their relative weight “will progressively decrease” between now and the end of the century. In 2060, the United States will be the second Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico, and 27.5% of the US population will be of Hispanic origin.

Likewise, more than 24 million students study Spanish as a foreign language in 2021 (almost two million more than in 2020). Since 2010, the number of Spanish students counted by the Instituto Cervantes has doubled, from 11.3 million to more than 24.

Spanish is disputed with French and Mandarin Chinese for second place in the classification of languages ​​most studied as a second language. Furthermore, in the United States, Spanish is by far the most studied language at all levels of education.

In the European Union, the proportion of students of Spanish in primary and secondary education has increased “steadily” in recent years, while that of French and German has decreased. In the EU, English is by far the most studied language, followed by French. The Spanish disputes with the German the third position.

Likewise, the ‘Brexit’ “consolidates the advance” of Spanish in the United Kingdom and the study of this language has already surpassed French in high school, a situation that is expected to be repeated in the other educational stages of this decade.

81% of the Spanish students in the world are divided between the United States, the European Union and Brazil. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Spanish grows significantly, especially in countries where French is an official or co-official language, such as Côte d’Ivoire (with 566,178 students), Benin (412,515), Senegal (356,000), Cameroon (193,018), Gabon (167,410) or Equatorial Guinea (128,895).

© 2021 Europa Press.


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