The lack of interest most Americans have learning a second language is very unfortunate. I hate to admit that until recently I was in the group. I wish I would have been smarter and started earlier (just like my father always told me).
Interest Facts (source):
Ihave two friends in
- Spanish has grown to be roughly the same size as English in terms of its native-speaker base, and may overtake it. Spanish is challenging English in some parts of the
, where a number of towns have predominantly Spanish-speaking populations. Side comment for my US friends: How many times have you heard “Press one for English, press two for Spanish” when you call an 800? Exactly, a lot. USA
- In terms of native-speaker rankings, English is falling in the world league tables. Only 50 years ago it was clearly in second place, after Mandarin. Estimating the number of speakers for the very large languages is surprisingly difficult, but it seems probable that Spanish, Hindi-Urdu and English all have broadly similar numbers of first-language speakers. Some commentators have suggested that English has slipped to fourth place, where its position will become challenged by Arabic in the middle of the present century. The figures opposite show the demographic profiles of Chinese, Spanish and Arabic over the century 1950–2050.
- Chinese will remain the largest language terms of native speakers in the world for the foreseeable future. Its transnational use will grow.
- Arabic, demographically speaking, is the fastest growing of the world languages.
- While English is a major language, it only accounts for around 30% of the world Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and is likely to account for less in the future. Neglecting other languages means ignoring significant potential markets.