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Spanish is the second mother tongue worldwide and the second language in terms of international communication

José Manuel Albares closed the presentation ceremony for the report titled "El español en el mundo 2023" (Spanish in the world 2023), an academic publication from the Cervantes Institute updating the most important data concerning the Spanish language in the world every year. 

October 30, 2023
As the minister put it, Spanish is a language “of immense value that we must use to create closer ties between Spanish-speaking countries and others nations interested in learning about our language and culture”. José Manuel Albares recalled that promoting Spanish is a key part of Spain's foreign policy.  

According to the Cervantes Institute report, almost 500 million people have Spanish as their mother tongue (6.2% of the world's population). The total number of potential Spanish users is close to 600 million, if speakers with limited proficiency and learners of Spanish as a second or foreign language are added to the native speakers. These almost 600 million represent 7.5% of the world's population. Therefore, having 500 million native Spanish speakers makes Spanish the second mother tongue in the world in terms of number of speakers, after Mandarin Chinese, and the second language for international communication. 

80% of Spanish language students are spread across the United States, the European Union and Brazil. Outside these three areas, the United Kingdom stands out, with a steady increase in the number of students, as well as some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the nations where French is an official or co-official language.

This time, the report also includes a section dedicated to reflecting on “Language and Inclusion” that deals with different factors such as the coexistence of sign languages with Spanish, language and equality between men and women, the history of Braille, the design of adapted language proficiency tests for people with disorders such as dyslexia and the promotion of a clear administrative language.

PHO​TOS: Javier Hernández (Nolsom)