Thursday, April 2, 2009

Benefits of Speaking Spanish

Benefits of Speaking Spanish

Have you been to the store lately? You've probably noticed that on a clothing label, right next to the word "small," you'll see "chico." Your medication may encourage you to "agite bien" as well as "shake well." Why this sudden emphasis on the importance of learning Spanish? Simple Hispanics are the fastest growing "minority" in the United States, and most Hispanic Americans speak at least some Spanish at home because that's the language with which they're most comfortable.

But what does this mean to you? You may ask yourself why you must learn to speak and understand Spanish if you are not Hispanic or if there is not many Spanish speakers in your community? Because your ability to speak a language native to so many millions of people in the United States translates to greater job opportunities for you. Some American companies may require you to speak and understand Spanish; but even if yours does not, your ability to speak Spanish may earn you higher pay because you are more versatile. In circumstances where an English-speaking person is required, you can do the job because English is your native language, but in situations requiring a Spanish speaker, you can fill that slot too. The importance of learning Spanish, in many cases, equals your ability to be a team player in today's economy.

And because our economy is consistently becoming more global, the reach of the average business is growing. Twenty years ago, the average Mom-and-Pop shoe store was only likely to sell shoes to people within its own community. Today that same store probably has a website, possibly an online catalog, and a toll-free number for phone orders. The customer service representative who answers that telephone needs to be comfortable speaking to a much more diverse customer base than would have been required a few decades ago. In short, that person needs to speak Spanish and the importance of learning Spanish has never been greater.

"But I don't have time to go back to school to learn Spanish!" you may be thinking. There's no reason you have to. There are many wonderful programs you can download to your computer or access via CD or DVD. Audio-based Spanish learning programs are the best, which combines the type of dialogues you may remember from your school days that include effective computer-based games that teach grammar, build vocabulary, and are just plain fun to learn with. But whatever program you choose, make sure that it's delivered in some kind of audio (versus written) format. You need to hear native speakers pronounce the words so you can learn to pronounce them correctly too. The importance of learning Spanish is moot if Spanish speakers can't understand you.

If a Spanish language learning program tells you that you need to apply no effort to learn to speak Spanish, then it will be false and misleading. No reputable learning system would make that claim! But never before in history has the importance of learning Spanish been greater, and with today's technology, it's not the arduous chore it used to be. So give it a try. You will receive a lot of benefits learning to speak and understand Spanish and your job and bank balance will show the results in time!

Gerrit founded audio-based language learning website Listen Hear.
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