Out of all the languages in the world, Spanish/Castilian is one of the most widely spoken, second only to Mandarin in terms of native speakers. So, having a good knowledge of Spanish can help the kids go farther in the world, since the sun never set on the former Spanish Empire. Thus, here are some reasons why learning Spanish is important for the kids.
We Have Our Own Dialect of Spanish
Nope, I’m not talking about Chavacano here, what I am referring to is Philippine Spanish, or Castellano Filipino. Yes, you heard that right, we have our own dialect of Spanish. However, it is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain because it is based on the Mexican dialect, due to the Spanish administering the Philippines as part of Mexico/Nueva España. Sadly, due to American colonization and the switch to English, this dialect is dying. In spite of this, we should not classify Spanish as a foreign language, for due to this dialect, we made it our own.
We Have Many Spanish Words in Filipino
Since we made Spanish our own by developing our own dialect, it also follows that many words in our national language came from Spanish. Examples of these words include yelo (from hielo), bangko (from banco), which means bank or bench (the first banks were just benches where the banker sat), and even banyo (from baño). These everyday words reflect how much the Spanish influenced our culture. After all, the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss argues that borrowed words reflect new things that enter a culture.
We Have a Plethora of Spanish Documents
Due to being a Spanish colony for 333 years, we have a lot of documents in Spanish, just like baptismal certificates, census lists, and other demographic documents. These are very important in retelling our story because these show how ordinary people lived. After all, history is not shaped by the great names alone, but by ordinary people, for they made the great names’ contribution to history possible.
Allowing the kids to have a good knowledge of Spanish would be helpful, since they get to explore the family’s personal history, for they get to know their ancestors better. Thus, they can start by researching on old parish documents.
The Filipino Nation was Built on Spanish Ideas and Culture
Another reason why the young should consider learning Spanish is because our nation came to be because of the Spanish. Remember kids, the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo are Spanish-language texts. Our first Constitution and our Declaration of Independence are written in Spanish as well! So, before you end up dismissing Spanish as a relic of colonialism, remember that our nation was built on ideas that came from Spain, yet synthesized with native culture. After all, the ideas of the French Revolution (Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite) came to us through Spain, and these were the foundation of our nation.
Spanish is More Than Just a Global Language
Spanish may be the second-most spoken native language, and it may help your kids get far, but for us, it is much more. In our history, the Spanish language has played an important role, since as part of Spanish culture, it was synthesized with our native ways to form one Filipino culture. This explains why we have many Spanish words in our language, and we even developed our own dialect of Spanish. However, this heritage may be dying, so, we have to reclaim it. After all, we wouldn’t have become Filipinos without the Spanish, right?