Every once in a blue moon, you hear a statement about the necessity of learning a foreign language.
Actually, being honest, I haven’t heard shit about that in years.
The last time I did was when I was in college and you had the obvious foreign language department of the college always talking about how everyone needs to learn a foreign language.
That’s like a car salesman telling you how you need to buy his car…
Well, of course he’d say that!
On top of that, you do get the occasional person shitting on Americans about how “we don’t speak other languages.”
This article isn’t about that though but I will say that I think the criticism is a little bit unfair.
First, it’s ignorant. We have a shit ton of foreigners in our country who are literal immigrants or children of immigrants that speak other languages.
We have more foreigners than most countries in the world outside of Saudi Arabia and Canada last I checked (numbers in terms of ratio of foreigners on a per capita basis).
And many of those folks do become American or have American children.
Second, it’s a little bit silly.
We don’t really need to learn foreign languages in my opinion because we can continue to brain drain the rest of the world and suck in more people who choose to immigrate to our country.
So most of the demand for having people with foreign language skills from far away areas can be solved by that.
Third, it’s a little bit unfair to compare us to countries like India that have much more linguistic diversity from my understanding..
Or countries like those in Europe that are much smaller and are surrounded by other countries with different languages.
If you grow up in Iowa for example, the demand for anything but English isn’t very strong (outside of maybe Spanish to a degree perhaps).
Now having put that topic away….
Let’s then focus on the broader topic: Do native English speakers in general (including non-Americans) need to learn Spanish specifically?
I focus on Spanish because of its relevant to Latin America.
And also because, even though this focuses on all native English speakers, I am American and you do hear this point of view back home that we should take Spanish more seriously.
Reminds me of this clip from “The Office” as you can see here where Michael talks about how us Americans “learning Spanish can unite all of North America.”
Let’s jump into this topic briefly with what comes to mind for me.
First: Individual Context
So it depends first and foremost your individual context.
Let’s say I never left my small town in Iowa.
Not at all.
The only time where you might need Spanish is when you go to this one Mexican restaurant that opened up a few years ago out there…
Where they have this one waiter who is a nice young guy but who doesn’t speak much English whatsoever.
He won’t understand you really.
He knows how to give you the menu, the drinks, whatever else.
But can’t really take orders well unless you point on the menu what you want.
And that’s only one waiter they have that is like that.
Outside of that, you don’t need Spanish obviously and most areas of the US are like that in my opinion.
Now if you are in Florida perhaps…
Maybe then but who knows.
I have a cousin who used to live in Florida and she’d say that it was common to see restaurants in her part of Florida requiring Spanish and English to work.
Basic restaurants and other places that were not Latino based at all.
So it heavily depends on where you live…
And also your line of work.
In some cases, I can see speaking Spanish being very beneficial career wise.
Like if you want a job being sent oversees to represent a company…
To maybe having a business in an area with lots of Latinos…
To, as my sister encourages me to do so, working in healthcare where you have Latinos who don’t speak much English.
But if your line of work doesn’t involve Spanish…
Like most folks I went to high school with.
There’s one guy I know of who moved to Texas where I assume Spanish would help him for his career as a fire fighter.
Otherwise, for most folks staying back home, I don’t see it as being very helpful.
But context matters.
And the same could be said for other parts of the English speaking world.
Perhaps even more so than the US.
Small town Australia?
I don’t see Spanish as being too necessary here.
Maybe more Mandarin given how much influence China supposedly has on Australia that you hear about.
Second: Demographic Change?
Again, this point is going to be American heavy.
If you aren’t American, I guess this again doesn’t matter as much to you.
But in the US, as we all know, there has been somewhat of a demographic change over the last few decades with a lot more Latinos.
Do you need Spanish now?
Eh, depends again.
Again, if you live in an area heavy with Latinos, I could see it being very beneficial.
But also keep in mind that not every Latino speaks Spanish.
As the generations go on and farther away from whoever it was that immigrated to the country…
Like the grandchildren maybe of the immigrant…
You are more likely to see Spanish basically vanish from the family.
Same thing how I don’t speak a lick of German or Norwegian despite some of my heritage dating back to that.
Same thing for most people.
On top of that, not every Latino in the US wants to speak Spanish with you.
They might feel uncomfortable for reasons when it comes to speaking Spanish in public..
To also the fact that a vast majority speak English much better than the random waiter at that Mexican restaurant mentioned above.
Many are fluent obviously!
So why the hell would they speak Spanish with you or why would you need Spanish to speak with them?
On top of that, a few Latinos, as I wrote in an article about cultural appropriation, get offended if you speak Spanish with them in the US.
In the same way I find it annoying when some Latinos in Latin America want to practice their English with me.
Some will find it that you are “culturally appropriating” their language (though I think that’s a retarded idea).
And some will find it offensive if you speak Spanish because they might be assuming that you assume that they don’t speak English very well!
In the same way I find it annoying when locals down here assume that about me with Spanish.
Plus, some Latinos in the US don’t speak Spanish very well but are, from my perspective, insecure about their lack of Spanish and can feel uncomfortable at the fact that you, a non-Latino, might speak Spanish better than they do.
All around, I don’t see Spanish being very helpful here despite the demographic changes.
That said, you do see more influences of Latino culture in the US these days and you can more easily enjoy that obviously if you know the words to your famous reggaeton song or whatever the fuck else that serves as your minimal engagement with Latino culture.
I already covered in other articles.
Yes, for the folks living in Iowa or Australia, speaking Spanish can help you travel the world more.
But, like I said in that article, English is much more of a “global language” in some ways…
And you can usually find someone who can speak English with you.
Or enough of it anyway.
Plus, if you are going on a weekend trip to Cancun, you don’t need any Spanish at all.
I wouldn’t stress it.
If you plan on living down here long term though, I highly recommend it even though it is technically not necessary in most cases (especially if you stick to a gringo bubble).
But I’d recommend it strongly then if you are going to live in Latin America or Spain long term!
Your experience all around will be much better for obvious reasons.
This is the part that seemingly, from my perspective, gets skipped over a lot when people emphasize how much you need to learn Spanish.
What is your motivation for doing so?
First, if you don’t need to because of the “context” as pointed out in the first point above, then you aren’t going to be as motivated.
Not anywhere near so.
When I was in high school, I remember thinking how cool it would be to learn Russian.
I started with the alphabet.
Gave up in a week because I forgot to keep learning as I stopped giving a shit about it.
I simply had no motivation.
No Russian friends to drink vodka with while smashing people’s mailboxes.
No Russian whores to pour vodka on their big titties with them pepperoni nipples.
No corrupt Russian mayors to drink vodka with at parties.
No Russian heritage where my ancestors died of alcoholism from vodka in Mother Russia.
No personal experience living in Russia reading the Russian words on the vodka bottles in the Russian supermarkets.
No vodka at all!
Therefore, no reason to learn Russian.
I gave it up.
And you likely will also if you don’t have a larger motivation to learn Spanish.
Maybe you simply are interested and fascinated by foreign languages?
That could work!
Maybe there is something about Latin America or Spain that you love.
Maybe there is a hot Dominican chick named Michelle who is calling you “papi” on Dominican Cupid sending you pics of her bobs and vagina while asking for 200 dollars by Western Union to “go to a beauty salon.”
Got to learn Spanish now!!!!
Fun fact, on the show 90 Day Fiance, there was this American guy who fell in love and impregnated a Brazilian chick.
Didn’t speak a lick of Portuguese himself so he had to use Google Translate in their relationship as you can see here.
So, technically speaking, I guess language skills might not be necessary for DESTROYING Latina pussy walls.
Still, I imagine it makes the relationship with her easier.
And would’ve been his own motivation to learn Portuguese!
So if there is no motivation, I’d be doubtful of this working out long term.
To be fair, I never knew I would need Spanish in my life.
When I was living in Iowa, I had no desire to live in Latin America.
Had no interest in this region.
And here we are now – 6 years so far in this region and having visited most countries down here.
No desire to go back to the US.
Suffice to say, I kinda need to know some Spanish.
And life changes!
You might need it someday.
So while I would argue most folks don’t need to learn Spanish necessarily and sometimes it is a little bit unnecessarily emphasized in my opinion but that depends on the context…
I would say that it has been a huge benefit to my life!
But that’s because I chose to and enjoyed greatly living abroad in Latin America.
Most folks back home, I would argue, don’t want to live in Latin America or Spain.
Perfectly fine where they are!
That’s good enough then.
For me, learning Spanish and living down here has brought many benefits and countless memorable moments.
So I would recommend that people learn Spanish (or whatever foreign language) and travel the world!
If they don’t want to though, that’s fine also.
We all live different lives and find enjoyment in different ways.
I know some people would have their heads explode in terror at the thought of living down here.
So it is what it is.
I’d recommend it anyway to do what I did but I know it’s not for everyone.
Anyway, drop any comments you got below in the comment section.
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Thanks for reading.