The Spanish language in the world (Cervantes Institute)

 

The Spanish language is becoming more and more popular and not just because it is the second most spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers, with 483 million Spanish speakers in more than 30 countries, according to ‘Ethnologue, Languages of the World’. It has also become the third most used language on the Internet, according to the figures from the ‘Internet World Stats’. Of the 4.2 billion internet users, 8.1% communicate in the language of Cervantes.

In addition, it is one of the most popular languages for students to learn: almost 22 million people are choosing to learn Spanish in 110 countries , according to the report by El español, una lengua viva. Informe 2019,, prepared by David Fernández Vítores, PHD in Spanish Language and Literature and professor at the University of Alcalá, and recently published by the Cervantes Institute.

Among the countries that stand out in regard to learning Spanish, are the United States and Brazil (more than 12 million students between the two nations). Although in this list we can also find our European neighbors France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany (4.5 million altogether) and in other places such as the Ivory Coast, Benin and Senegal (1 million altogether).

 

Influence and economy

 

In total, there are 580 million people who are able to communicate thanks to the Spanish language, 7.6% of the world’s population. Today knowing the Spanish language is an asset in the business world. According to the Cervantes Institute report, using Spanish multiplies bilateral exports between Spanish-speaking countries by four. Multiplying it by seven if we focus on bilateral foreign direct investment flows (FDI).

Currently, the Spanish-speaking community has a combined purchasing power of approximately 10% of the world’s GDP. It is estimated that the language serves to reduce transaction costs for some companies by almost 2%. In addition, the contribution of all Spanish-speaking countries to the world GDP is 6.9%, a higher percentage than that generated by those nations that use French as their official language.

 

Presence on the social media

 

Its presence on social media is also an indicator of just how many people are using the Spanish language. It is currently the second most used language in three of the main social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, according to data from the three platforms. For example, of the 2.27 billion active users that Facebook had in September 2018 (with at least one interaction per month) more than 370 million were communicating in Spanish.

In the case of LinkedIn, of its 580 million users, 55 million use Spanish to a greater or lesser extent in their interactions. Of this total, some 43 million belong to Central and South America, another 10 million are located in Europe and the remaining 2 million in the United States. Although our language does not yet reach the figures of the English language, it greatly surpasses Portuguese and French, which occupy the third and fourth position in this social media network.

If we look at Twitter, Spanish not only stands out in terms of global figures, but also occupies the second position of the most spoken languages in certain English-speaking cities, such as New York and London. Furthermore, according to the analysis carried out by the Cervantes Institute in the case of New York, our language is not only used by Hispanic communities, but it has also used by people from very diverse cultural backgrounds.

In short, the Spanish-language figures have risen in the last year: three million more Spanish speakers globally and a substantial growth of students who are beginning to learn the language of Cervantes. These figures verify the social, cultural and economic importance of one of our best legacies.

 

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