This category contains 9 posts

Torres de Fawlty: if Basil had been Spanish

Watching Fawlty Towers on DVD had us wondering what some of the classic phrases would be in Spanish. After all, most of us have had a car break down or impersonated someone else by wearing a wig and sunglasses. When the programme was exported to Spain, Manuel – Soy de Barcelona – became Italian (Paolo) and … Continue reading

Language MOT

If our language learning was a car we’d be a piece of paper with a child’s drawing of one – you know, the side view with two wheels and a smiley face staring out. Possibly a steering wheel of sorts and maybe lights. There’d be no structure, let alone a finished vehicle. So imagine taking … Continue reading

On tonight’s discussion panel we have…a right bleedin’ racket

When it comes to foreign languages, trying to work out what’s being said is a challenge – even when the lady at the shop is explaining how much the tomatoes cost. When listening to conversations you can sometimes pick up the odd sentence and get the gist of what’s being said. Our earwigging will improve … Continue reading

Falling down man-hole covers – learning the language

In our previous post about learning Spanish we said our progression was snail-like. Move on a couple of weeks and the snail has encountered crushed egg-shells and desert sand. It’s all too easy to abandon verb drills as we walk up the lane into town. Instead, we discuss what to buy for supper or comment … Continue reading

Put it this way – learning the language

If our snail-like journey to learn Spanish were a round-the-world trip by foot, we’d be at the end of the road outside our house. Digámosio de esta manera – let me put it this way – we have a long, long way to go. We haven’t used our language CDs since we’ve been here but … Continue reading

Los días son claros – learning Spanish

Someone told us that a handy way to learn Spanish is from song lyrics – and some good folk out there have bothered to add subtitles to a whole manner of stuff on YouTube from nursery rhymes to heavy metal. No staring blankly at a book – you can enjoy the music at the same … Continue reading

Un día soleado – a sunny day

The English are meant to talk about the weather all the time – in shops, waiting for things to turn up and so on. Forget ‘My kitchen is infested with ants’ (Mi cocina está plagada de hormigas) – learning to talk about the weather is paramount. And the Irish*? Well it’s always raining in Ireland so top … Continue reading

To be, or not to be

(Speak any Spanish? If so, you may as well read something else!) With language, one of the first things you learn – apart from ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’ –  is ‘to be’: I am a nun; we are from Finland; are you hungry? and so on. In Spanish there are two verbs for to be: ser and … Continue reading

Spanish Steps – learning the language

An important part of our year in Spain (perhaps longer) is learning to speak the language. S has the advantage of being a natural linguist who can speak decent French – so ‘gets’ Spanish more. M on the other hand got 9% in his Latin school exam and in French failed a comprehension paper by … Continue reading