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Spanish speakers amount to 572 million people

The Cervantes Institute's yearbook shows the "Good health" of Spanish and its advancement in the United States and China

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Spanish speakers amount to 572 million people

More than 572 million people speak Spanish in world, of which 477 are native speakers, five million more than a year ago, according to data from Yearbook of Instituto Cervantes of 2017, which predicts that by mid-century this figure will rise to 754 million.

These are some of data that Instituto Cervantes has released in Spanish Yearbook in world 2017. In words of its director, Juan Manuel Bonet, Spaniard enjoys a "good health". "The American continent no longer sends people out like before." Now y work on it and it welcomes people. "Spanish is very useful and opens markets," Bonet says.

According to yearbook, Spanish is still second mor tongue by number of users, only surpassed by Mandarin Chinese (950 million). Today speaks Spanish 7.8% of world's population, a percentage that will remain unchanged until at least year 2050, while proportion of Chinese and English speakers decreases.

According to one of studies included in this yearbook, carried out by David Fernandez cheering, professor of philology of University of Alcalá, toger with 477.6 million of native speakers, anor 73.7 million of speakers have a limited domain of Spanish, and 21.2 Millions more study it as a foreign language. Among three groups, total number of 572.6 million Spanish speakers is exceeded, says study that highlights that Spanish-speaking community will continue to grow until middle of century, 754 million of people with different degrees of domination of language.

This figure will be achieved both by demographic growth of countries where it is official language and by increase of speakers in United States. According to Census Bureau, United States will be in 2060 second country in number of Spanish speakers after Mexico and 28.6% of its population will be Hispanic. In United States re are 43 million of native Spanish speakers, plus 15 million with limited competition. "Spanish has a lot of weight in Latin America, but most interesting fact is how Spanish is making its way in United States." In middle of century, Spanish will break scheme of only English, says Bonet. In USA, Spanish is most studied language at all levels of teaching and in university, students enrolled in Spanish courses exceed total number of enrollees in or languages. The director of Instituto Cervantes also highlights advancement of Spanish in China. "The interest in China is significant." There is a very growing demand. "China is present in Latin America in economic key," he says.

More than 21 million students study Spanish as a foreign language in world, in such a way that this language is disputed with French and Mandarin Chinese second place among most studied. The Instituto Cervantes has multiplied by eight Spanish registrations (from 17,000 to 142,000) in its 26 years of activity. "We as an institution dedicated to teaching of Spanish language and our centers are tribunes of Spanish and of language defense." We have a clearly Ibero-American vocation. "We're in tune with Language Academy," Bonet says. In addition, it has multiplied by 11 registered for Diploma of Spanish DELE (of 7,800 to almost 90,000) that it grants on behalf of Ministry of Education and Culture. "The economic value of Spanish has a huge strength in publishing world, in audiovisual and in economic." But we have to work to improve ir presence in world of scientific publications, ' adds director of Cervantes.

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