Sunday, August 29, 2010
From an article (among others) in Spanish here. The article isn't clear about whether it's talking about Spanish as spoken as an L2 or L1, as numbers can vary wildly depending on whether one only counts native speakers or others as well, but since it attributes a greater number of students as the main reason for the increased population I assume it's including both L1 and L2. How Spanish is supposed to displace English in this area is unclear, but over a period of 35 years it certainly is possible.
Spanish will have the largest number of speakers before the middle of the century. In spite of this, there are many aspects in its teaching that need to be improved. "The most recent projections signal that Spanish will be the most spoken language in the world by 2045", said Humberto López Morales, secretary of the Association of Spanish Language Academies. He said that the new estimate brought forward by five years (from 2050 to 2045) the date at which Spanish would surpass the other languages in the world in number of speakers. Nevertheless, López Marolas warned that the teaching of the language at the moment was "catastrophic". "There's no point in knowing what the subject and the predicate is if you don't know how to speak (in the first place)" he said, pointing out that current methods are focused too much on grammar, when they should focus on other aspects such as vocabulary. At present Spanish is the second-most studied language in the world as a foreign language, only surpassed by English. This advance, according to him, is due mostly to the increase in the number of American students who study Spanish, as in the United States "being bilingual opens doors in the labour market".