10 pct of world will speak Spanish by 2050: expert

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By 2050, 10 percent of the world population will be speaking Spanish, spurred mostly by its growth in the United States, Cuban linguist Humberto Lopez Morales said Monday at a book fair here.

"The projections couldn't make us happier," the head of the association of Spanish language academies told his audience after he received a special prize at the fair for his book on the evolution of the Spanish language throughout the world.

Lopez, a member of Puerto Rico's language academy, said that thanks to the growing Spanish-speaking population in the United States, which he said currently stands at 13 million, the language of Don Quixote will also increase proportionally worldwide.

He said the Spanish language will go from 450 million speakers at present -- or 6.5 percent of the world's 6.9 billion population -- to 10 percent of a UN-estimated global population of nine billion by mid-century.

Without mentioning two of the world's top spoken languages, Mandarin and English, Lopez said that in 2050 by comparison "French will be spoken by 1.4 percent of the world population and German by 1.2 percent."

Recent studies show English speakers dwindling from nine percent of the world's population in 2000 to only five percent by 2050.

The British Council has estimated that by mid-century, Shakespeare's language will be spoken by 508 million people around the world

© 2010 AFP

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