In the United States, while English is by far the main language spoken around the country, the Spanish language is present in many of our daily lives. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States and the United States has the second-largest amount of Spanish speakers in the world by country. That is almost as many Spanish speakers that come from Spain which is the country from where the language was invented. Like it or not Spanish is here to stay in the United States and knowing at least some of the language will be really important for a few different reasons.
Every business in the United States should speak English but the fact is that there are clients around the country that do not know how to speak English and need to be assisted in Spanish. Immigrants arrive from all over the globe, mainly from South and Central America and they may need help from a business or a government official which is why knowing Spanish in the United States can greatly increase your chances of landing a job.
Let's not forget we also do a lot of international business with Latin American countries. Mexico is a key trading partner to the United States, and a territory of the United States (Puerto Rico) primarily speaks Spanish. So if you don't have a firm grasp of the Spanish language and would like to learn for the love of learning languages and the possibility of finding a job speaking a language other than English there are plenty of opportunities for you around the country.
Study Spanish in High School and College
Taking a Spanish class may not seem super interesting to some but for many, it's great to learn a second language, in fact in most countries around the world younger people speak at least two languages. Spanish is a fantastic language to learn as it is one of the most spoken languages around the globe. Taking your common core Spanish then advanced Spanish classes will help push your level to new heights and prepare you for taking Spanish in college.
Spanish isn't as difficult as learning an Asian language, it uses the same Latin alphabet that English does with a few extra letters and accents that aren't really used in English. When you are in college at this point you should have a somewhat advanced level of Spanish. There are a few things that will give you problems when speaking and writing Spanish.
- Subjunctive- This will give you all sorts of problems and it will take you quite a while to master, as in English we really don't ever use this form, you use it when you wish to express a desire
- Irregular verbs - You may still be finding yourself with some problems with some irregular verbs although you should be more or less okay if you've been studying Spanish for some years already.
- The imperative- This grammar point is for giving orders to someone else, the main problem with this and the subjunctive is the verb form changes in Spanish while in English it doesn't
Immerse Yourself in the Different Cultures, Accents, and Dialects
Many people seem to paint a blanket when it comes to Hispanic countries. They all think of spicy food and mariachi or salsa music, but every country in Latin America and Europe have their distinct traits and even language. While Spanish is spoken throughout Latin America in each country you can find a distinct dialect and accent, even within the countries themselves you can learn different accents that exist in the country (Spain has quite a few different accents by itself).
If you are able to travel and perhaps living in a Spanish-speaking country for a bit of time is a fantastic option that you can take and can prepare you for a career in Spanish as well as give you an amazing life experience.
There are various ways that you can live in other countries to learn the language and culture of whatever country or countries that you choose to live in.
- Foreign exchange student
- Study abroad
- Au pair
- Going for 90 days on passport
Any of these options will all you to become immersed in a country's language and culture, the best tip is to talk with natives as much as possible, this will improve your Spanish much more than if you hang out only with other native English Speakers.
There are many countries that speak Spanish, and many offer distinct cultures and dialects.
Way down south in South America you can find the country Argentina which has a lot of different landscapes and coastlines. While many people think that all Spanish countries are tropical paradises like you would find in Punta Cana or Cancun, Argentina is quite different and has geography and climate similar to the north and central United States.
Argentina is a very unique culture in Latin America as the population is descendants of Spanish and Italian immigrants. The fusion of these cultures as well as some of the native culture has created the Argentinan culture and accent. Argentina has a very easily recognizable accent. Many of the immigrants that came from Spain to Argentina come from the Galician community in Spain and therefore the Argentinan accent is influenced heavily by Galician and Italian accents.
The most noticeable thing about how Argentinians speak is the double L or "ll" that would find in the words silla or Lluvia. In Argentina (and Uruguay) the double L sound is a "SH" sound. For example, silla in Spain or Mexico sounds like see yuh whereas in Argentina it sounds like see sha.
Mexico is a fantastic country to live in as they have so much pre-colonial history that it is amazing. Mexico and Peru still have so much of their history intact compared to other Latin American countries that were destroyed after the Spanish arrived. It would be a fantastic learning experience not only for improving your Spanish but also for discovering facts and the history of the Aztec and Mayan societies that were native to current day Mexico.
Living in Spain offers a lot of positives, and differences to being in Latin America. Spain shares similarities with countries in Latin America however at the end of the day it is a European country with European traditions. If you've already been to Latin America thanks to a family visit or the proximity going to Spain and living there for a while can be a great adventure for you.
As the country that gave birth to the Spanish language, you will find quite a few dialects and accents in such a small space. Mexico is a huge country but Spain has many accents often influenced by other languages that exist in various regions, such as Galician, Catalan, and Basque, while in Andalusia and the Canary Islands you'll find really distinct dialects as well.
Best Spanish Programs in the US
While trying to learn Spanish can take you abroad there are plenty of programs in the United States that can help you learn Español. The top colleges around the country will offer you Spanish language and literature degrees, universities like Harvard, Yale and Columbia will get you a degree that will surely land you a job as a Spanish language user.
Most colleges and universities offer Spanish language as a major, apart from learning in college you can also learn at some institutes and academies. The most recognized institute is the Cervantes Institute from Spain. This institute not only can help you study but prepare you for an internationally recognized level test from the Cervantes Institute.
Studying at this institute can definitely help you there are many Cervantes Institute locations across the United States especially in large cities.
Learning Spanish with a Spanish Tutor
Whether you are in high school still or in college, asking for extra help can be a magnificent idea. At any stage of the game you're going to have to take exams that you'll need to pass, and even if that isn't the case learning and speaking a second or third language comes with a certain rule "if you don't use it, you lose it". You are always going to need to keep practicing your Spanish whenever you can as to not get rusty.
Finding a Spanish tutor on Superprof is a great idea as tutors on Superprof are rated and you can choose the tutor that is right for you based on their rating and location. You can even have online video calls instead of meeting in person if need be.
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