Spanish Is The Most Important Foreign Language In U.S.

I can’t believe I missed this one, but back in December The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof wrote a column in which he said that learning Chinese is great, but the U.S. really, really needs to learn Spanish. While reading the column I realized that, while Kristof may be a renown renaissance man when it comes to the third world, he kind of missed the boat when it comes to Latinos and Spanish.

For example he said Spanish wasn’t “prestigious” and implied it was easy to learn, which is funny, because I’ve been learning it forever and still feel like I don’t have a firm grasp of it. He also said that Latin America is “finally, getting its act together,” a strange statement coming from a columnist in the U.S., which I would argue, is also still getting its act together.

But the main thrust of Kristof’s column rings true:

As the United States increasingly integrates economically with Latin America, Spanish will become more crucial in our lives. More Americans will take vacations in Latin America, do business in Spanish, and eventually move south to retire in countries where the cost of living is far cheaper.

We’re already seeing growing numbers of Americans retire in Costa Rica, drawn by weather and lifestyle as well as low costs and good health care. We’ll also see more and more little bits of Florida that just happen to be located in Mexico, Panama or Dominican Republic.

Another reason to bet on Spanish is that Latin America is, finally, getting its act together. Of all regions of the world, it was arguably Latin America that rode the recent economic crisis most comfortably. That means that Spanish study does more than facilitate piña coladas on the beach at Cozumel. It’ll be a language of business opportunity in the coming decades. We need to turn our competitive minds not only east, but also south.

I give Kristof a half-bravo on this column and urge him to get to know more about Latin America, even if it’s still “getting its act together.”

[Image Courtesy NASA]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED on massive scale to help reunite immigrant children with their families

Victor Landa July 9, 2018

This is an opportunity for experts on Latin America to get involved and lend their expertise. Please also share widely: URGENT HELP NEEDED ASAP!! Center for Human Rights and Constitutional […]

Is THIS the Year Latino Voters Finally Turn Arizona Blue?

Victor Landa July 17, 2018

PHOENIX — “Democrats hope demographic changes will translate into a win in November,” wrote The Nation magazine a while back. “Arizona, the second fastest-growing state … brimming with Latinos and Independents [is] […]

Appalachia has a booming Hispanic business and population — and its growing food scene is making an impact

Victor Landa August 1, 2018

From strip malls to historic downtown landmarks, buildings across Appalachia today are telling stories of a changing region. Former nail salons, once-stately banks and empty storefronts are beginning fresh chapters […]

US officials must now say “illegal aliens,” not “undocumented immigrants”

Victor Landa July 27, 2018

The US Department of Justice wants US attorneys offices to stop referring to undocumented immigrants, the term that media and immigrant advocates have increasingly used to refer to people who […]

Audiences are shrinking for Hispanic- and black-oriented U.S. news media

Victor Landa August 1, 2018

In a fact sheet released this week, Pew looks at how “news media made by and for the two largest racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States — blacks and Hispanics” […]

Declining white population is spawning fears, bias

Victor Landa July 23, 2018

Over the last three decades, demographers have told us that there would come a day when the declining white population would become less than half of the U.S. population. The […]

Today’s Latino News Headlines – August 7, 2018

Victor Landa August 7, 2018

Black Man Who Filmed Latino Workers Striking Is Fired from His Job, Regrets Nothing – The Root Remeber this guy with the running commentary from yesterday’s headlines? He recorded a group of Latino […]

Today’s Latino News Headlines – July 27, 2018

Victor Landa July 27, 2018

Census Bureau Stops Plans For 2020 Census Advisory Committee – NPR According to the letter provided by Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed […]