A hundred years ago, 60 million people spoke Spanish in the world. Nowadays, there are more than 400 million people speaking Spanish as their native language and 100 million people speak Spanish as their second language. It is one of the most spoken languages in the world and one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The Hispanic community represents one of the fastest growing markets in the world, from which 100 million live in the United States. Demand for products and services in Spanish has increased substantively and more companies are targeting their efforts towards the Hispanic segment. Beside, the growing importance of the Hispanic population has had a clear political impact. This was seen during the last election campaign where the Hispanic vote had a considerable strength.
Today more than 655 cities in the United States are composed mostly of Hispanics and millions are surfing the web to purchase online, to read or simply for entertainment. According to WingLatino the buying power of the Hispanic population reached 1.2 trillion in 2010. Many major websites are translating their content to Spanish in order to take advantage of this potential market. For example, Yahoo! has opened more sites with content in Spanish. These include: Yahoo! Argentina, Yahoo! Mexico, Yahoo! Chile, Yahoo! Colombia, Yahoo! Peru, etc.
Being bilingual will provide you with a great competitive advantage since many companies are hiring employees who speak another language between English. However, with more than 10 Spanish dialects, learning Spanish has become quite difficult for many people. It is a language with many variations and spoken differently among many Latin American countries. Therefore, what is the most efficient way to learn Spanish? Definitely by practicing but there is also another component. People usually learn faster when they have fun doing it. A good recommendation would be watching television and listening to music in Spanish. Write down the words you do not understand, create a list and look up their definitions in the dictionary. But it is equally important to learn the culture, popular phrases and sayings. The idea is to find fun ways of studying this foreign language and understand its tradition to get familiarized with it more easily.
In short, it is essential to speak a foreign language in today's globalized economy, especially Spanish. If you live in the United States, simply look around and you will see how Spanish influences your everyday life. So do not lose any more time and learn how to speak Spanish efficiently, quickly and easily.