Why we teach Spanish and Chinese

Spanish Espanol

Spanish is taught throughout Key Stage 2 to all pupils.

Spanish is a Romance language.  It is the second most widely spoken language in the world with approximately 400 million native speakers.

Spanish has official status in 21 countries: Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Spain and is also an official language of Puerto Rico.

Mexico has over 20 per cent of all first language Spanish speakers, while the USA, with 30-40 million native speakers of Spanish, is the country with the largest Spanish speaking minority.

Spanish is closely linked to other Romance languages: such as French, Italian and Portuguese.  The standard of language of Spain differs from South American varieties of the language but they are mutually intelligible.

In 2012 Spain was the most popular destination for people from the UK with more than 11 million visitors. Tourists from Spain to the UK are the fourth largest non-English speaking group after visitors from France, Germany and the Netherlands.

English words derived or adopted from Spanish include:

Cargo, Patio, Junta, Plaza, Tornado.

Mandarin Chinese

Chinese is taught as part of a theme studied in Y6 about ancient and modern China.

Chinese refers to a group of Sino-Tibetan languages with collectively over 1,200 million native speakers.  Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua), the language with official status in China, Taiwan, and Singapore, is the most widely spoken in the world with 800 million speakers, mostly in China.

Another Chinese language, Cantonese, is spoken by about 45 million people in China and is one of the most widely spoken languages of Chinese communities outside China.

Since all Chinese languages share a common written form it is possible to refer to a single written Chinese language.

Almost a quarter of internet usage is conducted in Chinese (24 per cent); this makes it the second biggest language online after English.

Mandarin Chinese is an official language of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.

English words derived or adopted from various Chinese languages include:

Tea, Typhoon, Kowtow.