Today’s post is by, J. Salvage
Approximately twelve percent of the US population speaks Spanish. The United States houses the fourth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. Depending on one’s state of residence, this percentage may be higher. For example, more than twenty-eight percent of California’s population speaks Spanish. Texas is close on California’s heels with over nineteen percent of her population speaking Spanish. Florida is the third-most populous state in terms of Spanish-speaking residents with nearly ten percent.
Knowing that customers are more comfortable conducting business in their native tongue, American industries are eager to hire and promote employees who can speak both Spanish and English. Bilingual employees widen the accessible market share for the companies that are fortunate enough to hire them. For those states in which a significant portion of the population speaks Spanish, bilingual employees are even more vital.
Individuals fluent in English and Spanish are highly employable in governmental and nongovernmental service organizations. Federal regulations ensure that all federal programs from Unemployment Compensation to Driver’s License services must provide information in a variety of languages – including Spanish. Ample opportunities for bilingual employees also exist in various service organizations such as legal services, customer service representatives, and translators.
Learning to speak Spanish not only increases one’s value on the job, it increases one’s personal value. Foreign travel is easier when one speaks the local language. An individual who is fluent in Spanish can find the hottest night clubs in Cancun, order from a menu in Costa Rica, and find the most interesting Mayan ruins in South America. Because Spanish is a Romance language (a category of languages including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan), individuals who are fluent in Spanish are able to negotiate their way through other similar languages than are non-Spanish speaking travelers.
Spanish is easy to learn, given the large number of cognates (words that sound alike and have the same meaning) between Spanish and English. While English is not strictly a Romance language, it does borrow heavily from Latin, providing numerous similarities with Spanish. For example, the Spanish word “teléfono” is clearly recognizable as the English word “telephone”. One crucial difference between English and the Romance languages is that of gender. In English, virtually all nouns are neutral, with a few notable exceptions. “Doe” is a female deer, “waitress” is a female waiter, and the ambiguous “ship” is always referred to in the feminine. In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine. Knowing the gender of the noun affects its spelling, pronunciation, and translation into English.
Individuals interested in learning Spanish, whether for business, pleasure, or both, should consider an immersion course. This type of Spanish course places one in an entirely Spanish-speaking environment, enabling her to learn the language through living the language. Such courses mimic the way children learn their first language, making the road to fluency in Spanish an easy and fun path to a new and rewarding career. If this type of course is not an option, there are several downloadable or CD Spanish course options available.
J. Salvage is late-blooming career woman with a lot to say.