Every child should be taught a second language, and chances are the best choice for this second language is Spanish.
It’s important to remember that language, like every other aspect of culture, is regional. The languages that are important to you will be largely determined by where you live. Long before going into translation services as a career, I grew up in an area surrounded by bilingual immigrants. Many of my playmates as a child were bilingual, speaking English at school and in the street, but another language at home. It’s very possible the experience of going over to my friends’ homes to play and listening to their mysterious other language drove me to pursue languages as I got older. Certainly Spanish was one of the first languages I tried to learn, inspired by a desire to be part of the special club many of my friends were part of.
Today, I think Spanish is one of the best choices of second language to learn, especially for those people raising children in the United States but also all over the world. If not Spanish, every child should learn some other language, for a wide variety of reasons.
Generic Second Language Reasons
In general there are plenty of reasons children should learn any language aside from their native tongue:
- Mental stimulation. The fact is, children who learn second languages do better in school and in other aspects of life requiring mental agility. Learning a language connects them to portions of their brains they otherwise don’t use much.
- Interaction. The world is getting smaller. Speaking at least one other language of any kind is a distinct advantage – slowly becoming a requirement for success. Being able to conduct business or academic work without the need for interpreters or language translation services is a key advantage for anyone in any career.
- Mental broadening. Speaking a second language opens up a second culture to the child, and this results in a wider appreciation of the world.
Specific Reasons to Study Spanish
Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world, with about 6.15% of the world’s total population speaking it. That’s a huge advantage for anyone who wants to travel or conduct business around the globe. This is especially true in the United States, where Hispanics of all kinds are set to become collectively the largest ethnic group in the country, and learning Spanish will give any American child a distinct advantage in the future.
Spanish is also a beautiful languages that contains within it the cultures and art of dozens upon dozens of nations and ethnicities. Being able to read, write, and speak Spanish will open all of this up to your child, instantly expanding the universe that they live in.
Combining all of these reasons paints a clear picture: Your kids should be learning Spanish. If not Spanish, at least a second language of some sort, though if you drill down to something obscure you’re missing out on some of the key advantages!
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