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Spanish (or Castilian) is the world’s second most spoken language by number of native speakers: it is the mother tongue in 21 countries. In addition, it has spread in many others from Brazil and the United States (with an outstanding presence) to Switzerland, Morocco, Philippines and Australia. In total, today nearly 500 million people speak Spanish as a native, second and foreign language. Estimations are of continuing growth: within three generations, 10% of the world population will communicate in Spanish.
Moreover, Spanish is the third most used language on the internet after Chinese and English, and the fourth concerning documents’ demand. All in all, it is one of the most important international communication languages.
The origins of the Spanish language date back to ancient Rome and Latin, from where romance languages derive. Besides, it feeds on Iberian, Greek, German and Arabic words inherited from different peoples who settled in the Iberian Peninsula. If we add to this the vast contribution of American Castilian (i.e. variation spoken in Latin America), Spanish thus becomes a remarkably rich language.
This impressive variety, nonetheless, does not prevent Spanish from being one of the most cohesive and accessible existing languages. Indeed, international use of many Spanish words such as fiesta, tapas, amigo or señorita is good proof of its global appropriation. Furthermore, English common words like tomato, mosquito, potato, tornado, chocolate, tobacco originate from Spanish forms.
Spanish is the world’s third most studied foreign language (6%), after English (69%) and French (7%). More than 110 countries offer the opportunity of obtaining the official DELE (Certificate in Spanish as a Foreign Language) and the number of candidates increases every year. Similarly, there is a growing number of tourists who travel to Spanish speaking countries to learn the language.
For the most part, greater Spanish’s scope responds to a professionalization in ELE teaching speciality (Spanish as a Foreign Language) in the last 25 years. A key aspect is also found in the transformation of the language image, associated now with a certain economical prosperity and an international quality culture. Speaking Spanish constitutes, undoubtedly, an asset and a decisive element in the new world order. On another scale, Castilian gives access to an enormous cultural heritage: Art, Science, Literature (11 Nobel Prizes), peace culture (5 Nobel Prizes), etc.
Far beyond clement weather, appealing lifestyle or general Spaniards’ sociability, Spanish rich culture is highly valued and its contribution, acknowledged. There is not one who is not acquainted with brave hidalgo Don Quixote; who is not marvelled by Dali’s or Kahlo’s genius; who is not carried away by Neruda’s or Lorca’s poetry or by Vargas Llosas’ prose; or finally who has not looked into Spanish idiosyncrasy through Almodovars’ eyes, to list a few examples.
Russia is, traditionally, one of the countries that has best welcomed Spanish. Either because of a Spanish speaking colony settlement in Moscow or rather the historical or academic bonds with Spain/Latin America, the truth is that Spanish awakes great admiration and sympathy among Russians. No wonder, it is replacing other foreign languages at primary and high schools. In addition, there are 5 bilingual schools in the country and 165 high education centres offer Spanish lessons.
Language Link Moscow opened its Spanish programme in 2011, coinciding with the Dual Year’s celebration of Russia in Spain and Spain in Russia. The school has several Spanish teachers (native and Russian) who give lessons in various centres in the region. The teaching method used is the Communicative Approach, common in international pedagogical praxis, which stimulates creative and natural use of the language in real life situations. Class groups are small: 3 to 5 students, normally, and up to a maximum of 10. This allows a certain degree of personalization and larger interaction opportunities.
The typical Russian student has a higher education and speaks other languages, namely English, thus he/she is completely familiar with the Latin alphabet and learning Spanish is not excessively difficult for him/her. A number of factors help to achieve this goal: Russian students' discipline; their love and gratitude towards education; their big curiosity for Hispanic culture; their travelling experience to Spanish speaking countries or the seasonal residence in Spain, typically.
From Language Linkwe would like to invite you to work hand by hand towards the visibility and immersion of the Spanish language, (both) for those who ignore all about it and those who carry it from the cradle: may the first learn it and live it and the latter continue discovering it and going in depth, and may we all together share it and enjoy it. In the end, Spanish as all languages should promote understanding and acknowledgment among its speakers: a humble contribution towards a better and wiser world.
“I have never been left without homeland. Language is my homeland”
María Zambrano (1904-1991), Spanish philosopher and writer
“A people without literature is a mute people”
Miguel Delibes (1920-2010), Spanish writer