One of our neighbours here in Spain has been very kind and spoke to his Spanish teacher about taking on a couple of novices with the result being that next weekend we hopefully get our first lesson.
Spanish like any other language is best learned in a total immersion manner, we have proof of this, for a couple of years now we’ve been trying to learn Italian with a book and CD, and honestly if I was speak to an Italian they’d probably ask me to revert to English since they might understand me better.
Before we arrived in Germany we had done the same thing, try to learn from a book and CD, problem is, the dialect spoken by the older people in Düsseldorf is nothing like the standard German being taught, and the same thing when we were in Berlin. Basically what ended up happening is family and friends had to try hard to understand us, but after a while things got a lot easier because we were exposed to the language and could emulate local pronunciation, we can even understand Bavarians when we see them on TV, but we had to be there to really learn the language.That’s why we arrived in Spain not speaking a word of the language, a couple of Spaniards have commented we need to learn their language if we want to live here, and when we explain that’s exactly why we are here, well, you should see the smiles on their faces. Too many expats don’t bother, in fact some are even proud of living here and not speaking a word of the language.
For us this is just incredibly rude and disrespectful. We never expected anyone in Germany to speak English unless they wanted to practice, and towards the end we were quite comfortable having German friends and only socialising in German, and all that after only 9 months. Contrast that with over two years trying to learn Italian from a book and I still wouldn’t be happy to open my mouth for fear of the wrong word being uttered.
Having said this though, we now feel really good about continuing to learn German by book and CD here in Spain having had the initial shove that we needed.
So next week we have an appointment with the school to sort out timetables, payment etc, and next weekend we get our first proper lesson. I’m sure we’ll only be learning really basic stuff in the first few lessons but nevertheless we’re looking forward to trying it out on a couple of Spanish people we’ve met who seem genuinely interested in getting to know us.