You think you know your A-B-Cs, but do you know them in Spanish too? Thankfully the entrants in the first ever National Spanish Spelling Bee did, spelling their way through words like kanindeyuense (someone from a Paraguayan territory). But what was more unusual than the words to be spelled was where this prestigious event was held.
Forget sangria in sunny Spain or margaritas in Mexico, for this spelling bonanza took place across the pond in the—predominantly English-speaking—United States. New Mexico to be precise.
‘We’re celebrating the multilingualism of America,’ said Daniel Ward, editor of Language Magazine, one of the event sponsors. ‘We’re recognising that, like most of the world’s other children, [our kids will] need more than one language to succeed in our global village.’
And indeed, this success is paramount not only for spelling whizz-kids, but businesses wanting to capture a larger proportion of their domestic market.
Spanish use online is ever-increasing, and the online Hispanic community is estimated to represent an 11% market share of the total US e-market. Further estimates by the US census place total US-Hispanic spending power at a mind-boggling $1.2trillion.
A marketing drive by Best Buy had them translating and localising their website purely for their Spanish-speaking Hispanic market. The result? Users spent twice as long browsing and spent twice as much as English-speaking users.
And who wouldn’t want to be spoken to (or indeed, spell) in their main language? Just another reason to say ‘si’ to the foreign language internet.