Us English have a stereotype of visiting non-English speaking countries and nonchalantly speaking English, if they don’t understand us, WE SPEAK EVEN LOUDER until they magically learn our language by our increased vocals.
A lot of us think what’s the point of learning another language when everyone speaks English.
Do we need to speak another language? It’s entirely up to you! Maybe you have a feeling some people might be talking badly about you in their own language – How to solve this issue – secretly learn that language and surprise them. Or have you ever been in that awkward situation where people around you are laughing and talking in their own native tongue? It sounds so interesting and you wish you could tune in to what they’re saying. Learning that language would make you join in with the banter!
I remember going to Spain as a child and being really bored at the dinner table as all my family were speaking Spanish and even when I visited years later when I was thirteen the Spanish neighbourhood children tried their hardest to communicate with me. Looking back, it seems quite rude that they were trying ridiculously hard to speak to me in English and I couldn’t speak to them in their language. Even really small children were talking to me with their little bit of English learned at school which made me look like an even bigger fool!
Holidays to my grandparents were more like an intense language school than a holiday to relax. In fact, I remember quite clearly my Abuelo (Granddad) saying “This is not a holiday, it’s a school to learn”. Fair enough. Although it was quite tough, I have extreme respect for him and all he had done as I now have an impressive and a very employable skill under my belt. My teachers at school and also a Spanish exchange helped my Spanish improve even more. I’m not 100% fluent yet, but I can have a fluent conversation and if I don’t know a word, I either describe it or act it out like charades. This could be interesting at times, like in the exchange I tried to describe a ‘chav’, I mimicked their walking style and repeated ‘Y que?’ (‘And what?’) with an aggressive expression/voice.
Last week, I met up with two Spanish international students Natalia Paz and Ernesto Fernandez to speak about what they have started up in their free time during their time here in university.
Natalia currently tutors other students Spanish and on top of that have their own website where they tutor people online. She puts emphasis on the speaking and listening aspect of the language as they think it’s most crucial and try to teach them the standard Spanish accent which mostly comes from the country’s capital city Madrid.
I like how their videos are edited; it’s nicely done and very simple. The way they have modern examples of the clothing makes it more relatable for the learner and how Ernesto puts the text up right before Natalia says the phrase, gives the learner some time to try pronouncing it in their head before hearing it, plus having the text there helps you with spelling.
They have loads of other videos and I wanted to share this with you as it would be interesting and helpful if you travel to Spain, you could also surprise and impress any Spanish friends. Trust me, even if you only say one word in Spanish over there, their face lights up with excitement and feel honored that you’ve made an effort.
Go on, give it a go!
See you soon!