Spanish Eclipsing French in Eastern Europe and Morocco

The French knew it would be an uphill battle for their language in Eastern Europe when the EU was enlarged to include countries such as Poland or Cyprus. Whereas French had hardly recovered any of its prewar influence since the fall of the Iron Curtain, English was already far ahead in 2002 as a lingua franca from Tallinn to Nikosia. But who would have thought then that Spanish itself would leave the Gallic tongue in its wake in the new, unconquered polyglot markets of Eastern Europe? The rise in interest for Spanish in Morocco is even more of a humiliation for French culture nationalists.    
Spanish on the rise in Eastern Europe
Thursday July 3, 2003
Looking for a place to practice your Spanish? Think Eastern Europe. According to a report issued this week by the Instituto Cervantes, Spanish is growing in popularity among students in places such as Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The interest in Spanish is most spectacular in Poland, where the number of people studying the language is up 158.5 percent in the past four years. The report also mentioned Morocco, where Spanish has risen to second place in foreign languages studied, behind English.
 Instituto Cervantes says that the typical student studying Spanish in Eastern Europe is a female between 17 and 25 years of age, most often choosing Spanish for personal reasons such as interest in tourism, culture or romance. The situation is different in Morocco, however, where Spanish is frequently studied as a means to obtaining employment.
Articles (in Spanish) on the report can be found in today's editions of at least two Madrid newspapers, La Rioja and El Periódico.

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