Why We Should Learn Spanish :
Beginner Tips : The 2010 census is just around the corner, and I would like to make an early prediction: every indication points to there being more again in this increasingly diverse and multilingual country. It behooves all of us to learn Spanish. Beginners in learning the language, luckily, have a handful of resources readily available to us to begin this process.
We've all heard or read about the phenomenal success that software like Rosetta Stone has enjoyed over the last several years. There's no doubt that the software is popular, comprehensive and, by most accounts, a far cry from the staid and boring language tapes that were in vogue more than a decade ago and certainly more effective than most high-school level language courses. On the other hand, Rosetta's price tag is prohibitive for those of us who are both crunched during the current economic downturn and might not want to invest in such a comprehensive right away.
For those of us who fit under that category, there are sites like Rocket Languages (at www.rocketlanguages.com) that offer comprehensive and affordable Spanish courses. Sites like these offer real, conversational Spanish lessons as opposed to courses where only the most proper forms of the language (which no one speaks anyway) are taught. It's sites like these that will help us all adapt to the ever-growing need in certain parts of the country to be able to adapt to our constantly changing language needs.
The most Spanish I remember is either from spending time on mass transit systems in New York and Chicago (where the most memorable signs are all warnings about staying off of the doors) and Sesame Street (where the song "'Ola' Means Hello" and daily counts to ten in the language are the extent of the lessons,) and chances are that unless you spend a lot of time around small children, your Spanish is as rusty as mine. Fortunately for our children's generation, a new awareness of the need for us to learn Spanish will probably be made easier to them than to those of us who grew up in the fairly chauvinistic "English" Only" idealism that bled over from the conformity that was so vigorously encouraged by new immigrants in our grandparents' generation.
We're in a new era, we have new problems, and we have a new series of solutions to those problems that we're able to use. Being that the use of the Spanish language is bound to increase anyway, it's better to be realistic about the need to learn the language"n and to be open to learn in the first place-- than it is to haughtily stick our chests out in the air and demand that everyone learn English without our making some kind of compromise as well.
There are other languages we could learn, it's true. But let's be practical and acknowledge that both the largest and fastest-growing minority in this country either come from countries who speak Spanish as a first language or speak the language themselves more often at home than they do the language that we've been trying to shove down their throats since their parents came here to find work. It easily behooves all of us normally-lax language students to learn Spanish. Beginners have access to sites like Rocket languages to help us along the way.