Every so often a curious friend or a friendly acquaintance asks me “Why learn Spanish?”. Now I must clarify that I live in downtown Toronto, Canada. And I’m always a little surprised at the question! For those of you who have been to Toronto know full well we are one of the most multicultural cities in the world!! And everyone here is speaking something other than English, everyone. But Spanish? Well, I can pass on this, Spanish is the number 2 most spoken language in the Western Hemisphere after English. (Mandarin outnumbers but it is not as widely spoken in Western Hemisphere, yet :).
In Canada, we learn French in our grammar school from the time we are little until a little later into our teens when we are then given a choice to continue or drop the language. French is good. I like French! French is sexy. French is challenging. I took French from the time I was in grade 3 in class and in (French club) all the way through High school and into University and French Immersion in Quebec for 3 years and then got my first job because of my French! I published my first writing piece in French and worked at a French/Quebec newspaper for a summer. Whew, a whole lotta French for me.
So Why now learn Spanish? Well, well…..let me tell you. After all those years of French little did I know that most of the Caribbean speaks Spanish (and some French) and a good portion of the United States speaks Spanish (as noted on all their signage) and Central America speaks Spanish, South America speaks Spanish and Spain speaks Spanish. Did I miss anyone? Possibly, if so forgive me as I’m not fact checking this post. But what is really in common with almost all of these glorious places is that they are HOT. Yes, I mean warm, “caliente”, physically hot!
So for a Canadian like me with a really solid French background, learning Spanish is very appealing. I dream of days of heat filled streets with the sun warming me to the core. Bare toes and some loose clothing and some snug clothing :). A hat. A carefree attitude. It’s so wonderful, I can dream.
Spanish is useful. Now that I know some Spanish I can listen to other people’s conversations on the subway to work. I hear their complaints about husbands, jobs, screaming at little kids, it’s like a whole new world of communication. I’ve been eavesdropping on my French friends and family for years! Every so often I would get an annoyed look “You know what I’m saying!” indignantly they would protest! Well, yes, of course. Ha, ha, ha. But now, Spanish is like a secret weapon! You can’t get it past me. And when I get in a Spanish taxi, I know how to “bluff”. I had a driver in Madrid completely fooled!!
So now you know! Spanish is used in all the hot, exotic countries and many that are cold (because places like Canada have great job opportunities) and French will always be French because they’ve got Paris.
But I am a new PR spokesperson for Barcelona, so watch out Paris! Spanish classes are overflowing in Toronto because we want the sun.
We want the sun. 🙂
Olives in Rhonda, Spain. Created by the sun.