May 27, 2020

Spanish, the fourth most powerful language in the world | Culture

In the babel tower of the world there are about 7,000 languages, spoken by its 7,300 million inhabitants. In that tidal wave, the Spanish language is the fourth most powerful, with English in first position, unbeatable frank language, and "slightly behind French and Chinese" (this is spoken in the most populous country on Earth, almost 1.4 billion ). This is the ranking of languages ​​according to the report Spanish in the world 2019, which each year produces the Cervantes Institute and that this time he has had the novelty of his presentation in New York. The reason for this first time outside of Spain is that the United States is one of the pulses that Spanish will have to face in the coming years if it wants to continue growing, even more so with a president so obsessed with Hispanic immigration through the Mexican wall, So today's act is a stance against the anti-Hispanic policies of Donald Trump. The forecast for 2060 is that the US is the second Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico.

In an act that opened the director of Cervantes in New York, Richard Bueno Hudson, and closed the director of the institution, Luis García Montero, it has been pointed out that today Castilian is the official language in 21 States and the one used, with different degrees of dominance, for 580 million people, three million more than in the 2018 report – a very slight growth for demographic reasons – and that already account for 7.6% of the world population. The first two places are for English and Chinese (950 million). Well, he has stated that "the number of people who speak a language does not always matter." "We must consider a strategy for the formation of Spanish in the world. If not, we risk getting stuck."

Daniel Fernández, from the American Academy of the Spanish Language, said that the Spanish in the US "is no longer something that impoverishes, nor is it a symbol of failure. It is something that enriches and is not a burden to be corrected." He also pointed out that if he has a future it will be "through teaching, by the hand of English."

Spanish, the fourth most powerful language in the world

Of the 580 million Spanish speakers, "483 million have Spanish as their mother tongue," said the study (last year there were 480), which places it as the second in the world after Mandarin Chinese. In this section, Mexico is the first country with more native Spanish speakers (almost 122 million), followed by Colombia (49.4), Argentina (44) and Spain (43).

To these are added those that the Cervantes fit into the "limited competition group", are those that are managed in the language of Cervantes, although with some precariousness (75.2 million across the planet) and "the group of apprentices" (students), which are 21,882,448. The study emphasizes that the interest in learning this language "is especially intense in the US – there are eight million apprentices, 37% of the world. – On the point that Brexit is consumed, on October 31, the British perceive" the Spanish as the most important language for the future, "he adds. Another attractive pole for Spanish in Brazil, where there are 6.1 million who study it, and France (2.7 million).

The fourth place of Spanish in the world in terms of its influence comes from measuring its weight in various fields. Thus, as a language for trade, "in imports from countries that have it as the official language it occupies the third position (9%)"; English is 31% and Chinese is 16%. However, it is ahead of German (7%) and French (5%). If we talk about diplomatic relations, "Spanish occupies the third position in the UN and fourth in the EU", although Cervantes regrets "his insufficient representation" in both international forums. The exit of the United Kingdom from the European club "will benefit the position of the Spaniard in this organization".

The battle on the Net

Spanish, the fourth most powerful language in the world

Another more earthly field of this battle of the languages ​​is the Network. The study indicates that the Castilian is in the third position (8.1% of the 4,200 million users does it in this language), once again after the English (25.4%) and Chinese (19.3%), although "it is the second on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter". In the latter it occupies that second place even in cities like London or New York. Worse is the situation on Wikipedia, being eighth by number of articles written among the 303 languages ​​in the free content encyclopedia. Even the Swede and the Dutch have more presence there.

An area where traditionally has little influence, as the Spanish institutions that deal with language always regret, is science and technology. "The presence of Spanish is anecdotal in the scientific literature and is clearly relegated to a secondary level." Better is the situation in the publishing world. Spain is the third largest exporter of books in the world, after the United Kingdom and the United States; the eighth in volume production and the ninth in market value in the publishing sector.

And in the journey of the pages to the cinema screens, Spain is the eighth country in terms of film production worldwide. Two other nations in the Hispanic sphere, Argentina and Mexico, are in positions 11 and 12. However, the report regrets that its use in the films is "inferior to that of French or German."

"Without immigration will plummet"

The presentation of the report on Spanish at Cervantes headquarters in New York is a wake-up call in a country where there are 41 million Spanish speakers today. Professor Kim Potowski, from the University of Illinois in Chicago, warns, in one of the articles included in the report, that “without immigration in the US, the use of Spanish would plummet because of intergenerational linguistic loss,” the problem of the Spanish transmission of Hispanic immigrants to their children. A problem that boosts “the negative public discourse towards languages ​​other than English” in the country that Trump presides over.

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