So, it goes without saying that Spanish is a language totally worth learning. However, you don’t have to wait until high school Spanish classes to pick up the language. In fact, learning a language is easiest at a young age. Doing so has added benefits too. Learning a second language has been shown to increase problem-solving, creativity, test scores and a greater understanding of one’s native language.
It only makes sense to start them young but don’t take our word for it. There are tons of celebrities who also understand this advantage. As such, both native and non-native speakers are setting their kids up for a bilingual future by teaching them Spanish now. Here are some of the celebs who are fostering a love for Español in their kids.
1. Ali Wong
Instagram / @aliwong
Funny woman Ali Wong is best known for making us laugh with her comedy specials and Netflix original movie “Always Be My Maybe,” but she’s also a really cool mom. In this Instagram video, the comedian is shown reading a Lil’ Libros book about La Catrina to her little one. She even encourages her daughter to read along. We can’t help but approve of her technique.
2. Ryan Gosling & Eva Mendes
Instagram / @gosling.mendes
Celebrity couple Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes have two adorable little girls who they are teaching Spanish to. In May 2019, the actress appeared on “The Talk” and shared her experience teaching her daughters.
“We’re trying to teach the kids Spanish, and it’s harder than I thought because I speak Spanglish, and that’s what they’re picking up. It’s adorable, but it’s technically not a language.”
3. Salma Hayek
Instagram / @salmahayek
Not every native Spanish speaker decides to teach their children Spanish — especially if their spouse doesn’t speak the language. That hasn’t stopped Salma Hayek, though. The actress has shared in the past that her daughter, Valentina, knows three languages. Her husband is from France so their girl has grown up speaking French, Spanish and English.
4. Perez Hilton
Instagram / @hxrrykidd
Gossip guru, Perez Hilton is a dedicated father of one and is passing his Cuban heritage on to his son through speaking Spanish. Back in 2013, the internet personality shared with MAMAS LATINAS about his strict Spanish-only rule.
“I speak to him only in Spanish in the house, and so does abuela.”
Though she’s Latina, Jessica Alba isn’t a native speaker. Still, she recognizes the importance of learning the language. Back in 2008, she told LATINA that she was determined to learn so she could teach her kids.
“Hopefully I can pick it up because I want my kids to speak Spanish. I don’t even want them to speak English for maybe the first two to three years, until preschool.”
6. Hilaria Baldwin
Instagram / @hilariabaldwin
Alec Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, was ready to teach their daughter Spanish before she was even talking. The Spanish-national told US Weekly all about her plans.
“I was on the phone with my nephew, who’s seven. He called me…and he asked me, ‘Is she going to speak Spanish?’ I said, ‘Yes, but you have to help because she’s going to grow up [in the US] probably so you have to help speak to her in Spanish.'”
For JLo, her kids learning Spanish was all about la cultura. She and ex-husband, Marc Anthony, made sure to teach their twins the language while they grew up. She explained this mentality during an interview with AMERICA READS SPANISH.
“[It’s] Very, very important. I want my kids not just to speak in Spanish but to know the culture of their parents. We come from a rich and vast culture and I want to educate my kids knowing their heritage.”
8. Christina Aguilera
Instagram / @xtina
Christina Aguilera is another Latina who understands the value of teaching her child Spanish. She shared with People that she intended for her son Max to learn the language as it is a part of their Latino culture and he is half Latino.
9. Roselyn Sánchez
Instagram / @sueltalasopatv
Actress and producer Roselyn Sánchez is a native Spanish speaker and has taught her daughter how to speak it as well. However, her husband, Eric Winter, doesn’t speak the language at all. This led to Sánchez and her daughter giving their favorite guy a few adorable lessons in Español.
10. Ricky Martin
Instagram / @ricky_martin
Pop sensation Ricky Martin helped usher in the Latin explosion of the early 2000s. His culture is obviously very important to the star and he’s shared that gift with his twin sons. In fact, the Puerto Rican dad and his kids only speak Spanish at home. English is only spoken by his boys at school
11. Gwyneth Paltrow
Instagram / @gwynethpaltrow
Goop-founder Gwyneth Paltrow is raising her kids to speak fluent Spanish. Son, Moses, and daughter, Apple, are encouraged to only speak Spanish to each other at home. This immersion therapy is one of the best methods for raising bilingual kids.
12. Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas
Instagram / @allegraabla
Though she is now grown, Stella Banderas was raised by her parents to be fluent in Spanish and English. Born in Spain, the young actress grew up shuttled between LA and her home country so being bilingual was especially helpful.
13. Zoe Saldana
Twitter / @MichaelStone64
For Afro-Latina Zoe Saldana, the choice to teach her kids Spanish was an easy one. In fact, according to Girls Talk Smack, she decided to before they were even born.
“Of course [our children] will speak the languages that we speak; my sisters and I grew up learning French and speaking English and Spanish, and because of that, we’re able to understand Italian and Portuguese. But I’m going to have to make a conscious effort to speak Spanish to my children, because I speak Spanglish.”
14. Tiny Harris
Instagram / @majorgirl
Wife to T.I. and mom to Heiress, Tiny Harris is working on making her daughter as well rounded as possible. In a January 2019 Instagram video, the mom recorded little Heiress practicing her Spanish. Harris’ hope is that she can help her daughter learn a second or third language.
15. David and Victoria Beckham
Instagram / @beckhamxfamilystyle
Back in 2003, David Beckham and family moved to Spain when he signed on with Real Madrid. The soccer star learned Spanish while playing with his team and taught his sons as well. This goes to show that necessity can be a useful motivation when learning a new language.
16. Matt Damon
Twitter / @enews
Though he is married to an Argentine woman, Matt Damon was a Spanish speaker long before they met. He learned Spanish through immersion as a teenager and also backpacked through Mexico and Guatemala. As such, he and his wife, Luciana Barroso, have raised their four daughters to speak Spanish as well.
For many of us, our ability to speak Spanish or Portuguese is a huge part of our Latinidad. But with millions of people speaking Indigenous languages in Latin America, we know this is far from the truth. Spanish is, of course, one thing that unites most of Latin America together, but it’s a language that was imposed on us. It’s one reason some Mexican writers have rejected Spanish to write in Indigenous languages. For those of us who are interested in learning Indigenous languages, technology has become a serious lifeline.
We already use apps for dating and social media to checking the weather or shopping, so why not use it to help us get in touch with our deeper identity?
Several apps have sprung over the last few years to help us learn the Indigenous languages of Latin America. If you’re looking to take on a new language, here are a few apps you should check out:
With an estimated 1.5 million speakers, Náhuatl is the most commonly spoken Indigenous language in Mexico. Yet despite its prevalence in rural Mexico, there are still few courses or resources available for learning it.
The digital app “Vamos a Aprender Náhuatl” (Let’s Learn Náhuatl) offers learners the chance to approach the language as spoken in the town of Acatlán, in the southern state of Guerrero. In a self-taught manner, you can learn the numbers, greetings, animals, body parts, fruits, plants, and some verbs. The app – which is in Spanish and Náhuatl – also features quizzes to help users retain their lessons.
Kernaia has also developed an app for learning Mixtec, a branch of Indigenous languages spoken by more than half a million people. The app allows learners to navigate through 20 language lessons which teach greetings, numbers, and colors. The lessons are all set in the Santa Inés de Zaragoza community in the southern state of Oaxaca, and the app teaches people about the culture and traditions of the community.
The Kernaia project says that its mission is to create “an ecosystem of digital content for Indigenous languages.” To move toward this goal, the organization has created a similar app for Purépecha, a language spoken by nearly 200,000 people in the western state of Michoacán.
After the passing of Mexico’s Indigenous language law in 2000, languages including Purépecha were given official status equal with Spanish in the areas where it is spoken. Digital learning aids such as those offered by Kernaia are vital to heightening awareness of both the Purépecha language and the culture of the Purépecha people, who often experience poverty and marginalization.
As well as teaching words related to daily activities, Kernaia’s website says that the app offers a journey into “the space where they take place: the family, the community, the kitchen, the field, the celebrations, and other elements that represent the town’s identity and enrich our cultural diversity.”
Quechua’s one of the most widely spoken indigenous language in the Americas. PromPerú developed the Habla Quechua app “with the aim of inspiring Peruvian citizens and foreigners to use and take an interest in the Quechua language.” The app – which is available to English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish speakers – features quizzes and a live translator feature.
DuoLingo offers courses in more than 20 languages, including the Jopará dialect of Guaraní, which is spoken in Paraguay. There is also a course for Navajo that is currently in Beta. The app offers quizzes and immediate grading.
So what do you think? Are there any Indigenous languages you’d like to learn that don’t have an app yet?
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