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What does learning a language mean to you?

Why bother?

For me personally, learning a new language has always been about opening up new worlds, bridging cultural gaps and trying to understand different perspectives. It wasn’t until I watched Ocho Apellidos Vascos that I realized Spanish humour could also be silly and slapstick; it wasn’t until a student of mine read Wordsworth that she realized English could also have delicate poetic beauty.


What I’ve noticed

Whether it’s accessing a Wikipedia entry and realizing that if you switch the language you might get more information as there are more English than Spanish-speaking contributors, or finally noticing that Evita is called ‘Evita’ because of the diminutive -ita suffix that you always hear but are nervous to assign to a friend lest they think you overfamiliar; the wealth of experience that is learnt when someone picks up a new language is astounding.


Language is Changing

That said, it’s important to remember that language is always changing and as a result so are customs. I used to shudder when I heard someone forgetting the third-person -s in the phrase ‘He thinks…’ until I noticed how readily I say ‘there’s’ for both singular AND plural nouns. As native speakers we need to open ourselves up to the same ordeals our students face and pick up a book or watch a telenovela every once in a while.


Global Connectedness

Never before have we been more connected and never before have we felt more of a need to understand one another on a deeper, international, cultural level but don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be through detailed analysis of Garcia Lorca or careful study of the present perfect continuous, culture is everywhere if you just ask. Just look. Just read.

Curso Intensivo Español
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