Spanish continues to grow. The twenty-first century will be expansion until a certain final decline, expected for demographic reasons. Currently, 577 million people speak Spanish all over the world, according to the new yearbook of the Cervantes Institute (IC), presented on Tuesday at the headquarters of Madrid. Of these, 480 million have acquired it as their mother tongue and the rest learned. The trend continues to rise with 22 million students in 107 countries and an increase of about five million speakers over the previous study. But, as it counts Luis García Montero, Director of the institution, will stop. The demographic curve plays against: "At the end of the century the population of the Spanish-speaking countries will decrease and rise in Asia. The experts calculate that then we will go from being 7.6% to 6.6% ".
In the middle fit the right strategies to consolidate Spanish as a fundamental language in the world. This is how García Montero has crumbled them, Richard Well, academic director of the IC, and David Fernández Vitores, Professor at the University of Alcalá and author of a study included in the yearbook published since 1998, just two decades ago.
The number of speakers is many times ahead of the quality in terms of their consideration in areas of influence. Although it is the second most spoken language in the world, behind Mandarin Chinese, and the most used in Internet sites such as Wikipedia, Twitter or Facebook, it drops to the third position in its general use on the Internet and the fourth as powerful in diplomatic and political spheres, below French.
"The weight of Spanish must deepen their cultural awareness more than economic," says Luis García Montero.
To avoid these imbalances, Garcia Montero says that the strategy in relation to Europe is to gain weight: "We must defend it in the official instances as a working language and level, especially after the Brexit". In that, the data accompanies him; The British consider Spanish as the language with the most possibilities for the future after theirs.
Although in the Anglo-Saxon area, Cervantes is disturbed and motivated by the United States. There, in a few years, there will be 50 million speakers. It will be the second country in quantitative terms. Hence the offensive of Donald Trump with his "English only", Product of his fear of a cultural invasion. More when it is the most studied language in all levels of teaching. A good reason to redouble efforts and position yourself. "Downtown Washington will open as soon as possible. There we must open a seat with more institutional character. In Los Angeles too, so that it becomes something more Pan-American, "says García Montero.
The weight of Spanish should deepen their cultural awareness, says the director. Hence, the past strategy of the Spain brand is relegated to the priorities of Cervantes. "It is absurd to compete with English at economic levels. We must accentuate their cultural values. Do not allow anyone to be discriminated against because they speak it and make it clear that they have in that sense the same level as Shakespeare's English. "
Nor should we ignore its economic value. Spanish speakers represent 6.9% of the Gross Domestic Product worldwide. The ties of accomplices of the same language multiply by four the bilateral commercial relations between the countries where Spanish is spoken.
The study faces several more fronts. The audiovisual production, editorial and development in the scientific field has great weight and there is an imbalance to be taken into account between them. The presence in academic studies and science goes way behind the production of books, films and series. In the publishing sector, Spain is the third producer country behind the United States and the United Kingdom. In the field of screens, Spaniards, Argentines and Mexicans are among the 15 countries that have the most dominance in the world.