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The Messi Effect

by John Bascombe on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spanish as a Second Language

British students are increasingly choosing to study Spanish as a second language.

In the last ten years the number of British students choosing Spanish as their second language when taking the General Certificate of Secondary Education exam has risen by 50%.  The vice-president of one UK exam board has attributed the phenomenon to the popularity of Spanish speaking personalities such as FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who is often celebrated as the world’s greatest footballer (soccer player). There has been a clear “Messi effect” she has stated. Another exam board exec has asserted that it was only a matter time “as to when the most popular language taught in the UK is Spanish”.

As of four years ago, more UK students are already opting to take the exam in Spanish than in German, and it is expected to overtake French in the near future also.

Messi, who is from Argentina, won the coveted FIFA Ballon d’Or award an unprecedented 4 years in a row. Just to give you an idea of Messi’s popularity, consider his 50 million Facebook followers. He has also been featured in Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world.

Many observers also attribute the recent success of Spanish in schools to the popularity of vacation destinations; Brits have been flocking to Spain’s Mediterranean coast for years to spend their vacation time there. Others point out that now students have a choice of which language they want to study while in the past French and German were assigned to students. Students with a choice are opting for Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers (after Mandarin Chinese)… read more »

Other Posts

Dolce & Gabbana Go Spanish

by John Bascombe on Monday, October 20, 2014

Spanish Influence Spain has a long history of influence in Europe , all we have to do is remember that Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, was also the same Spanish King Carlos I. As ruler of Spain (and its American empire) he was also the ruler of most of central Europe and Italy. Today this influence is still seen in many parts of Europe, in fact there is an annual festival in Brussels called the Ommegang. In the town square, thousands of Brusseleers participate in this parade that recreates the welcoming of Charles V into the city that would be his principal home during his reign. Another part of Europe that pertained to the Spanish crown was Sicily. This Italian island was first part of the Kingdom of Aragón beginning in 1409 and later as part of the Spanish Empire . This territory would remain under Spanish control until 1860 with Garibaldi leading the charge for Italian unification. So after over 400 years of relations, something must have stuck as far as influencing the culture and life, right?… read more »

10 Spanish Film Festivals

by John Bascombe on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Top 10 Film Festivals in Spain You could say that Spain is a country you’d see in movie and a country in which you’d see a movie: its scenic landscapes have not only been captured in an impressive number of famous films, but they also capture a big variety of film festivals . You can find film fests here on just about any genre imaginable, from documentary, feminist, environmental, short film, gay/lesbian, fantasy, horror, advertising, international film… Spain holds more than 80 film festivals every year. That’s almost 2 per week… read more »

How October 12 Is Celebrated Around the World

by John Bascombe on Sunday, October 12, 2014

Christopher Columbus arrived to the Americas for the first time on October 12, 1492 . The historic event marks an important change in the course of the history of the Western world, as it lead to permanent contact between Europe and the Americas. The day is officially observed in a variety of ways and called a variety of names in much of Latin America, the US and Spain. … read more »

Justo Gallego Martinez' Cathedral

by John Bascombe on Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Cathedral of Mejorada del Campo Justo Gallego Martínez has spent over 50 years absorbed in an intriguing one-man mission: to single-handedly build a cathedral from scratch. It’s all part of a seemingly impossible dream that materialized after his period as a young trappist monk . A deeply devout Don Justo had spent 8 years with a trappist monastery when he contracted tuberculosis in 1961. For the safety of the community, he was forced to leave. Devastated, the former monk returned to his home town of Mejorada, Spain and promptly went about building what he calls “an offering to God”… read more »

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