‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners

Sometimes I just can’t believe how cool Spanish is.

Here’s another amazing Spanish word that doubles up for two words in English.

VOY

 

 

 

(The other great word was in a previous post was  Hay: “There’s”  )

long_braid1

I’m going …to the shop now! ¡VOY a la tienda ahora!  Photo Credit

VOY is so useful because it ‘doubles up’ for two concepts in English. That has to be useful, right?

NOTE on pronounciation: VOY ….The ‘V’ letter in Spanish is pronounced as a soft ‘B’ making the Spanish word ‘VOY’ sound more like ‘BOY’ in English!

VOY can mean two things in English:

VOY   = I GO … as in “I go” to Spanish classes on Mondays.

VOY = I’M GOING ...as in “I’m going” to the shop now.

Tell me that this is not going to be one of the most useful words you can learn in Spanish!

It is so worth committing to memory right now!

 

The word VOY in grammar is ‘First Person Singular of the verb’ IR =  “TO GO“.

This verb IR is considered an IRREGULAR VERB , which might sound a bit scary but it’s okay…  it’s so easy to use that it’s a great idea just to learn it as it stands.

You have to trust me on this one!

 

IT MUST LOOK REALLY FUNNY!

IR

(Pronounciation: IR as in the English word EAR, with a strong emphasis on ‘e’  and a bit of a roll on the final ‘r’ as in EEarrr)

There are a few IRREGULAR VERBS in Spanish and IR is one of them.

I would like to give you MY OWN personal definition of what the term “IRREGULAR VERB” means exactly.

‘Irregular verb’ :  a grammatical term denoting the fact that no one, not even the native speakers of the language,  have any  idea how to explain this to anybody because it makes no sense, NOT EVEN TO THEM,  so don’t try to work any pattern or logic into it.

JUST ACCEPT IT!

(More about irregular verbs in a previous post: Tener- TENGO: I’ve got…)

I can imagine it’s hard to get your head around the idea that a verb (an ‘infinitive’ ) is IR morph into VOY, but then our own lovely verb TO GO is quite irregular in the PAST TENSE, when it  changes to ‘WENT’ . 

‘WENT’ bears very little relationship to “TO GO” when you think about it!

HOW WE CAN USE THIS TO OUR GREAT ADVANTAGE IN SPANISH

One way of using this great (albeit irregular) verb (IR) is to talk about something that you do on a habitual, frequent basis:

  • VOY a la clase de español los lunes.     I GO to Spanish classes on Mondays.
  • VOY a la peluquería cada semana.      I GO to the hairdresser’s every week.

Another of using this same  VOY would be when expressing where you are going NOW…..

  • VOY a la tienda                                   I’M GOING to the shop
  • VOY a la casa de Jane                         I’M GOING to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

 

OR

when you want to talk about somewhere you are going to in the future, e.g.,  tomorrow: (MAÑANA)

  •  VOY a la estación mañana.             I’M GOING to the station tomorrow.
  •  VOY a la plaza mañana.                   I’M GOING to the square tomorrow

NOTE: pronounciation: mañana = manyana

(More about irregular verbs in a previous post: Tener- TENGO: I’ve got…)

                              CALL TO ACTION  (THIS MEANS HOMEWORK!)

Read aloud these few basic sentences for a day or two, then invent your own sentences that are real in your life.

Research now is saying that the more language connections we make to our own private lives, the stronger the connections will be.

GET A LIFE…YOUR OWN LIFE!

Find the words you need to create your own true-to-your-life  sentences.

 

You can use a great on-line resource like SpanishDict.com

or

you can jot down some sentences you would like to speak using this construction in the comments box below and I could help you out with that.

If you know anyone who might be interested in learning how to use VOY, you could share it using the button below.

I really do hope this helps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How learning a language is like learning to drive. Get your ‘L’ plates now.

 

We all know learning to drive takes time.

You have to be realistic…

You’re not going to learn to drive in one or two days.

 

 

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Learner Driver = Learner speaker?           Photo Credit

 

When I learned to drive, a long time ago, I had to sign up for a package of 12 lessons. The lady in the office told me that 12 lessons was the average number of lessons it took a ‘normal person’ (What on earth is a ‘normal person’?) to pass their driving test.

“What if it takes me longer?” I asked. She gave me that look that only  older ladies on front desks  can give when they’re thinking, “Ah! Here’s a smart Alec.”

(My name’s Marie, but I know she thought I was going to turn out to be smart Alec.)

“No problem.” she replied, with a sort of twisted grin. “When you FAIL the test, you just sign up for another 12 lessons.”

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Receptionist at driving school? No, but something like that. PhotoCredit

“That wasn’t very encouraging”, I thought.

I was about to enter into the fact that I thought it was slightly unfair, because if I failed the driving test, I may not need another 12 lessons and maybe 3 or even 6 would do the job. But when I remembered Alec, I readjusted my speech pattern, thanked her politely and dutifully signed up for my first 12 lessons.

I sailed through on 12, by the way, much to her annoyance!


 

Ah yes, the point being…

Language learning could be compared to learning to drive.

 

  • a) Walking is a skill we learn in order to get around and survive.

b) Driving is a skill we learn in order to get around faster and more efficiently.

kleinkind_beim_laufen

Learning to walk …Photo credit

 

  • a) Language is a skill we learn in order to communicate with others more efficiently.

b) Second language learning is a skill we learn in order to communicate with more people and get around more efficiently.

 

 

 

5 ways learning another language could be compared to learning to drive

 

  1. You have to really want/need to learn a language /drive

 

  1. You have to make an important time commitment to learn a language or drive.

 

  1. You have to make use of as many resources as you have at your disposal to expedite the process of learning a language or driving.

 

  1. You have to have as many lessons or practice in a consecutive time frame in order to maximise learning process to learn a language or drive

 

  1. You have to invest some finance, even to a small degree, to achieve your goal of learning to communicate in a language or driving.

 

I’m not suggesting you could ‘speak a second language’ after 12 lessons, in the same way you might be able to pass a driving test after 12 driving lessons.  I’m pointing out some of similarities in the mental process of learning a language to learning how to drive a car. 

 

Looking back at those bullet points we could take each one and see the reasoning behind each one.

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MOTORvation? Photo Credit

 

First point: MOTIVATION 

You have to really want or really need to learn a language  or drive a car.

 This point is all about MOTIVATION .  Motivation is the key to our learning capacity. There is nothing stronger than motivation. As the word suggests, it’s what makes us MOVE and TAKE ACTION, all rolled into one! Easy to see, right?

MO-T-A-TION’

Tell me it’s easy to see this sentence  is the very essence of MOTIVATION?

There is no doubt that the more highly you are motivated to learn ANY skill, the more likely the success rate in terms of achievement will be.

Make your motivation tangible and real by answering the following questions.

 

  • Do you really want to learn a second language? Then WHY?

Answer here………..

  • Do you really need to learn a second language? Then WHY?

Answer here……….

 

The Clock face on the Tower at the Palace of Westminster.

Parliament Clock at Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.        Photo Credit

Second point: TIME COMMITMENT

You have to make an important time commitment to learn a language or drive a car.

 You sign up for a certain amount of time to learn to drive a car. Then the same thing should happen for learning a language. The going will get tough and you will get discouraged, but the fact you’ve paid up-front and turn into a great motivator!

Just as in learning to drive and you made a commitment, you should take the same attitude with learning another skill: learning a second language.

 

IMG_2303

My first Spanish -English Dictionary

Third point: RESOURCES

 

You have to make use of as many resources as you have at your disposal to expedite the process of learning a language or driving.

 Just as in learning to drive you would make use of all resources available such as, The Highway Code in the UK, on-line simulated driving tests, outings with family members (in fact anything and everything at your disposal) so you should too, and in a similar way, in order to reach your goals for your language learning.

Internet is heaving with on-line resources for language learning. (This will be the subject of another post, in the near future.)

But if you’re not an Internet nerd, you can always find a way to; find classes run by your local authority, watch DVDs switched to your target language, find newspapers or  books at your local library, listen to music in your target language on CDs or cassettes, etc., etc., etc.

 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

 

 

It’s the same for learning to drive and so, so true for language learning.

 

 

atalante_1_lepautre_louvre_mr_1804No time to waste…Get as much input into your language learning s fast as possible.   Photo credit

 

Fourth point: CONSECUTIVE (RAPID) INPUT 

 

You have to have as many lessons and practice in a consecutive time frame in order to maximise learning process to learn a language or drive

 

Unfortunately, all important things take time and time commitment is crucial in learning a language as it also is in learning to drive.

When I was signing up for driving lessons, I wanted a lesson every Saturday morning for 12 Saturdays, for a total of three months. But the lady at the desk, yes, that old battle axe, advised me that I should sign up for the ‘Intensive Course’ which was one session every day for 12 days, Sundays included.

She said it had been proven to be the most time-efficient formula to learn to drive. She added  that from one Saturday to te next Saturday there was so much time, I would forget the skills I was learning and it would be like starting the first lesson every time.

Perhaps this was a slight exaggeration, but I sort of got what she meant.

Oh, and guess what?

SURPRISE, SURPRISE! The same goes for language learning.

If you take one lesson a week, or look at a Spanish book once or twice a week, it will take FOREVER to reach the targets you dream of.

Your brain needs extra reminders at the beginning of any learning process to assimilate the connections being made, just as in learning to drive.

10 lessons of language learning over 10 days will have double/ triple/ quadruple the effect of 10 lessons over 10 weeks. Much the same as learning to drive a car, I’m sure.

 

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Tasty Euro / Dollar / Pound signs in PRETZELS! Photo Credit

     Fifth point: COST FACTOR

 You have to invest some finance, even to a small degree, to achieve your goal of learning to communicate in a language or driving.

 

It may be painful but it’s true. You might have to invest some modicum sum into your language learning goal, the same way you may have had to do so in order to learn how to drive a car.

This may come in the form of:

  • classes in your area that requires a fee;
  • a trip to the country where your target language is spoken naturally;
  • text books, phrase books and dictionaries;
  • language ‘applications’ or ‘Apps’ for smart phones;
  • On-line courses, etc., etc.

 

Does the end justify the means? Certainly!

It’s not as if you would give up learning to drive after your statutory 12 lessons, right?

 

People can be so ‘driven’ (sorry for that painful pun) to learn to drive that they take many lessons, as many lessons as it takes in fact, to achieve their goal.  Yet many people give up on their language learning before they give themselves a chance to make any progress.

 

I hope this helps with your learning a new language motivation.

Which of those points above resonates with your language learning experience?

Let me know what trouble you’re having with those 5 points for language learning above.

 

                     Two previous posts

In Never too old! I discussed the fact that it’s never too late to start learning another language and it it can be so extremely rewarding and beneficial.

Another popular post in my motivational series entitled Is it easy to learn to speak Spanish? also underlines the benefits of learning another language; in this case Spanish.

 

Language learning is my passion and I would love to help you do that, if you are intersted in learning Spanish.

More next time…

 

 

Is there?/ Are there?: Spanish Grammar for beginners- ¿HAY?

                  “Is there a doctor in the house?”

This expression comes from the theatrical world and would be announced to an audience in a theatre, (the audience was often referred to as ‘the house’) if a doctor was required to aid a member of the cast suddenly overcome by a medical emergency….

Theatre_Royal_Drury_Lane_1813

Is there a doctor in the house? (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London 1813)

But give me a moment and I’ll explain why this expression just popped into my head, as I embark on another post dealing with Spanish for Beginners.

After a fabulous week’s cruise around the Spanish Canary Islands, we were flying back to Málaga on mainland Spain. This was an internal flight on the Spanish airline Iberia and so all announcements were in Spanish.

I’m a bit of a nervous flier and I like  to keep my eyes firmly trained on the cabin staff trying to catch any sense of emotion or worry in their facial expression.  (You know that expression they all have  with their fixed, fake, over-the-top smile  trying to transmit “everything’s fine” and “Isn’t flying great?” and”what a happy time we’re all having up here!”)

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Watching their facial expressions closely! Photo Credit

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Responsible job! Photo Credit

So all was going well, or so I thought but then I noticed a sudden change of expression.

I thought the worse and went into panic mode as I saw two cabin stewards looking extremely concerned and whispering to each other. One of them walked up to the microphone to make an announcement to the cabin over the loud speaker system…and asked an important question:

 

¿ Hay un médico en el avión? 

Is there a doctor on the plane? 

 

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Flying doctor? Photo Credit

 

Which brings me to the point of all of this.

When I was starting out  learning Spanish and wanted to say “Is there…a chemist near here”, I first fixed my mind  on the word “IS” and tried to translate that, and then went for “THERE”, and tried translating that… without seeing “IS THERE” as an expression in itself.

                       Don’t make my same mistake.

If you’ve seen my previous posts on this nifty little word HAY,  then you will have seen that THERE IS and THERE ARE = HAY in Spanish.

 

                       So much easier in Spanish

The great thing, and this is why this is so cool, is that to make a question using this expression in English, IS THERE? and ARE THERE? we switch the words around, starting the expression with IS or ARE….

BUT SPANISH IS SO MUCH EASIER THAN ALL OF THAT

You have to admit that THERE’S NOT MUCH SWITCHING AROUND TO BE DONE WITH ONE WORD: HAY !

The point is so simple that it can actually become a bit tricky for native English speakers.

All you need to make a question, in Spanish, is a questioning lilt in your voice. That has to be easy, right? (notice my questioning lilt when I wrote “right?”)

HAY un médico en el avión = There’s a doctor on the plane

Get ready with questioning lilt…  ¿HAY un médico en el avión?

                                 ¿Upside-down?

In real life you can put a questioning lilt quite easily, but in the spoken word, to distinguish between a statement and a question in Spanish, you have to write a clue to the reader that what is coming is a question, otherwise how could they hear the questioning lilt?

The clue is the UPSIDE-DOWN question mark at the beginning of the question to warn you of a questioning lilt!

How efficient is that?

 

¿HAY un médico en el avión?  Is there a doctor on the plane?

¿HAY una silla en la cocina?     Is there a chair in the kitchen?

¿HAY mesas en el salón?           Are there any tables in the living room?

¿HAY amigas en la fiesta?        Are there any friends at the party?

CALL TO ACTION :

Repeat these examples aloud and try to get accustomed to hearing your own voice speaking Spanish.

Then make up your very own questions, using a  good on-line dictionary like Spanish.Dict.com using ¿HAY ?

IF YOU  NEED HELP MAKING YOUR OWN SENTENCES, DROP ME A LINE IN THE COMMENTS AND I WILL HELP YOU WITH YOUR OWN SENTENCES.

 

 

               Oh, yes…   WHAT HAPPENED ON THE PLANE?

Remember the negative from a previous post, How to be negative in Spanish and a most unfortunate statement if you’re on a plane a need a doctor …

                                                   

                         NO HAY médico en el avión! 

 

Which is exactly what happened on the flight from Tenerife to Málaga.

A gentleman at the front of the plane had beconme indisposed; meaning very, very ill, and when we landed at Málaga airport, we had to wait for emergency services and a médico (doctor) to arrive and take him off first before we could disembark. Rumour had it at the time he had suffered a stroke shortly after take-off …

If he had waited for me to get this post about what the cabin steward said, he may not have made it!

I hope he was ok…

And I hope this helps!

 

IF YOU  NEED HELP MAKING YOUR OWN SENTENCES, DROP ME A LINE IN THE COMMENTS AND I WILL HELP YOU WITH YOUR OWN SENTENCES.

 

 

 

 

How to be negative in Spanish: There isn’t / There aren’t,: NO HAY!

Third instalment of the Spanish term HAY.

But don’t be so negative!

Before you start out you can look back on previous  two posts on this topic for beginners in Spanish, “There’s” a really useful word  and  “There are” so many words in Spanish!

In those post  we saw how both’THERE IS’  and ‘THERE ARE’ are rendered by the same word in Spanish: HAY. 

How cool is that?

Take a quick look back at those two posts to refresh the old memory neurons.

Don’t be so negative!

This post is a simple article showing, as always, how easy it is to express the NEGATIVE in Spanish and the negative of HAY, fortunately, is no exception.

 

So this is post is teaching:  THERE ISN’T …..or ……THERE AREN’T……

  IN THE SINGULAR:

THERE IS = HAY               THERE ISN’T = NO HAY

 

 

HAY una mesa = There’s a table

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A lovely table, but imagine it was just a dream……and it disappeared! Photo Credit

NO HAY  mesa = There isn’t a table                OOOPS IT’S GONE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAY una televisión = There’s a television

OTVbelweder-front

Una televisión antigua (An antique television)

NO HAY  televisión= There isn’t a television

 

 

 

 

 

A CHAIR…NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU  DON’T

 

 

HAY una silla = There’s a chair              camping-chair

NO HAY silla = There isn’t a chair

 

 IN THE PLURAL:

THERE ARE = HAY       THERE AREN’T = NO HAY

HAY mesas = There are some tables

NO HAY mesas = There aren’t any tables

 

HAY televisiones = There are some televisions

NO HAY televisiones = There aren’t any televisions

 

HAY  sillas = There are some chairs

NO HAY sillas = There aren’t any  chairs

 

                                      AMAZING CONCLUSIONS

NO HAY mesa                    There isn’t a table

NO HAY silla                      There isn’t a chair

NO HAY televisión           There isn’t a television

NO HAY mesas                 There aren’t any tables

NO HAY sillas                   There aren’t any chairs

NO HAY televisiones       There aren’t any televisions

Can you see any pattern emerging? Of course you can. They’re ALL the SAME.

There can’t be anything anything easier than this! (Well, maybe)

Repeat all the above sentences out loud, even though people will think you are going bonkers…Your Spanish is more important than what they think of you.

See a previous post, Repeat, repeat, repeat, about the benefits of serious repetition (aloud) in language learning.

                                                         SOMETHING TO DO

 

Now you have to make this lovely little term your own…

Don’t be lazy using the examples from MY living room…use YOUR OWN living room!

Look around your room, house, office, place where you’re at, and create YOUR OWN TRUE SENTENCES…

A great on-line dictionary to help you is SpanishDict.com. Make your OWN sentences.

I can help you make some of those sentences. Jot down in the comments what you would like to say, using this Spanish term NO HAY , and I can help you make your VERY OWN SENTENCES.

Sentences that make sense to you.

Leave some sentences in the comments below and let me help you…

We haven’t finished with HAY yet! See next post!

More next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAY: “There are” so many words in Spanish!

If you’re a beginner starting out to learn Spanish, then you might  have felt sometime that there are so many more words in Spanish than in English.

The famous novel by Cervantes, Don Quijote, boasts exactly 327,360 words!

quijote page

                                Don’t worry, you don’t need o learn that many!

Actually  experts consider that English has double the amount of words compared to Spanish! If you are interested in reading more about this, here is an interesting article Does Spanish have more words than English? to find out exactly what the experts say.

 

 Let’s get back to this lovely little word :  HAY

In my previous post : Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word about HAY (pronounciation : AYE, as in “Aye Aye Captain”), we saw it can mean There’s… as in the examples below…

Hay una mesa.                                  There’s  a table

Hay una televisión.                         There’s a television

Hay una cocina.                                There’s a kitchen

Hay una silla                                      There’s a chair

 

Today’s post is about ANOTHER use of HAY , which shows how cool, how useful this word is.       

                      HAY also means THERE ARE !

IMPORTANT NOTE: Very often,  simply adding ‘s’ to a singular noun converts that noun into a plural form ….That’s easy !

Hay  mesas.                                                         There are  tables

Hay  gafas.                                                            There are  reading glasses

Hay niñas.   (Pron: NINYAS)                            There are girls

Hay  sillas    (Pron: SEEYAS)                             There are chairs

Your task here will be to repeat these sentences out loud, even though other people think you are going mad…

 

Then invent some of your own, which are relevant in your own life (vida). You can look around your living room (salón) or the whole house (casa) and make a few sentences (frases)  about what you can see. Write these down. Say them, learn them, shout them, whisper them…whatever it takes…

A good online dictionary (diccionario) to find the words you need is Spanish.Dict.com

If you need help ayuda to make up your own sentences (frases), let me know in the comments below what you need .

                                 AMAZING CONCLUSION

   THERE’S… (THERE IS…) = HAY

                            THERE ARE ….    =            HAY                    

 

OR  ANOTHER WAY TO EXPRESS THIS  AMAZING POINT IS:

       HAY =      THERE’S…(THERE IS…)

HAY =      THERE ARE…

     One little word HAY in Spanish doubles up for a few words in                                                                     English!

So don’t ignore this great ‘little’ word in Spanish. Try and incorporate this word into your own Spanish learning life and use it as much as you can. It really can help you out in a lot of situations.

Try it and see.

If you need any help making your own relevant sentences, let me know in the  comments below and I will help you.

We’re not quite finished with HAY yet.

More next time!

 

 

 

 

 

Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word to learn!

You are battling on with  Spanish and  need to have a quick fix to get your Spanish back on track?

I’ve got the word you need HERE…..IT’S “HAY

round_hay_bale2c_partially_eaten                                                      There’s a lot of HAY here! photo credit

                                ” HAY” = THERE’S

(pronounciation :   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

(Look back at the title of this post and see if you get the pun?)

So what’s so exciting about this “HAY”?

The great news is it means that HAY is always very, very useful, especially when you’re searching for words you need in Spanish.

Imagine the scenario

There’s… a snake in the garden      Hay…una culebra en el jardín

There’s…a fly on the wall              Hay …una mosca en la pared

There’s…a hole in my bucket        Hay…un agujero en mi cubo

There’s…a beer in the fridge          Hay…una cerveza en la nevera

                                               See how USEFUL…HAY  can be for you?

HOW CAN YOU USE “HAY” IN EVERYDAY SPANISH CONVERSATION?

I’m looking around my home as I’m writing this post, and I could use  HAY to describe what I can see. For example:

Hay una mesa.                                  There’s  a table

Hay una televisión.                         There’s a television

Hay una cocina.                                There’s a kitchen

Hay una silla                                      There’s a chair

Say these sentences out loud, even though others listening think you are mad!

(Remember pronounciation of HAY:   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

Make up your own sentences, maybe looking back a other articlesI have posted here on Patterns or using SpanishDict.com

TASK:

LOOK AROUND YOUR HOME AND TELL ME WHAT “THERE IS”

 

If you need help with making those sentences, leave a comment below and I could help you out

 

Perhaps you know someone interested in learning Spanish, and about the use of HAY.  You could share this post with them and make them happy!

I really hope this helps….

Useless at languages? No, just good at languages!

 

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Isn’t it lovely? This is what language learners used before Internet  Photo credit

I can hear some of you even from here saying “Yes…that’s me…I’m useless at languages!”(I’m on the south coast of Spain at the moment!)

I’m useless at languages so I’ll never learn Spanish!

Throughout my time teaching Spanish to English people, the one consistent lament I hear , as I take on a new student, is “I’m useless at languages so you’ll have your work cut out with me!” Or “I’m useless at languages so I’ll never be able to really learn Spanish.”

 

You seriously would not believe how many of my first-time students start out with that first sentence when I meet them.

And I get it. I really do.

 

I was labelled “useless at languages” too.

At Secondary School in the UK, many years ago I remember, perhaps it was after my first Spanish lesson, feeling that I was ‘useless at languages’. (The same way some of us have been labelled ‘useless at Maths’ or ‘useless at History’; labels encouraged by the education system to exonerate itself of any obligation or duty to provide efficient teaching resources.)

 

I have to admit that it took several years before I managed to shake off that label of being ‘useless at languages’. But I finally began to realise that I had been tagged with that label unfairly. And I can bet you that the chances are that you have been unfairly tagged too.

 

So you are ‘useless at languages’?  There maybe several reasons why you feel that way, so let’s analyse them.

 

Perhaps:

  1. Your first Foreign Language class made you feel that way, so gave up.
  2. You have since signed up for language lessons at the local community hall but made little progress, so gave up.
  3. You paid a lot of money to a private tutor once a week and learned very little in 2 months, so gave up.

 

Feel free to add your own reasons as to why you feel you are ‘useless at languages’. There may be many more.

Add your reason here…………………………………………………….

 

                                      But  this is MY story

 

I was labelled, as perhaps you were, at a young age, as being ‘useless at languages’. But I still dreamt of being able to speak another language. I couldn’t shake the bug. I had loved my first foreign language lessons at school and desperately wanted to succeed…in Spanish. But I felt useless.

My Spanish teacher insisted on  giving out a very clear signal which was: “You are useless at languages.” I tried so hard to overcome that with extra homework but kept failing miserably every time. I still had the dream of speaking Spanish, and in my first ever post here I talked  about falling in love with Spanish

 

Remember we are talking a long time ago here. With that I mean ….NO INTERNET! But we had something in the UK called “The Teach Yourself” series. They were little yellow and blue hardback books and there was one for every subject under the sun (at the time).

My elder sister Angela bought me one. I remember it to this day: “Teach Yourself…Spanish”, in a desperate attempt to get me, useless at languages, through a Spanish exam.

 

I even hid this book from my teacher. I didn’t want her to see I was looking at something different. Something SHE hadn’t given me to study…..

It was a different approach. I remember it had a few humorous touches. I don’t know why, but for some reason it worked for me.

The extra dedication worked. Unfortunately something had to be sacrificed and that was dedication to Maths. (But that’s another story.) The point was that I became a bit obsessed with the Spanish. It wasn’t just another subject for me on the timetable. It sort of turned into the ONLY subject on the timetable, for at least a while.

                              Then it got pathological!

 

 

 

actress-fear-and-panic

Identity crisis!

I  changed my name from ‘Marie’ to ‘María’., and wouldn’t answer to anything else, not even at home.

I named all my work ‘María’ to such an extent that all my school certificates show the name ‘María’ on them. Remember I was only about 13 at the time so I was allowed to do strange stuff like that!  I turned into ‘María’ . NOT RECCOMMENDED.

(What I didn’t realise was that this caused a tremendous amount of confusion later on in life when I had to convalidate these qualifications before the Spanish authorities. I paid a couple of hundred  pounds to have the certificates verified as belonging to me…but that’s another story, too)

Only after concentrating all my efforts on Spanish did I slowly I begin to realise I wasn’t particularly “useless” at languages. I began to view Spanish as an equivalent to English, which I already knew very well…. but just with funny words.

Now this is the part where I’m going to surprise you!

One major fact is that generally we all speak a language and have gone through the ‘language acquisition’ process.

I’m hearing you think “No, not me. I haven’t gone through a language acquisition process.”

But you speak a language, don’t you? Your own native language!

You may be even quite fluent in that language?  I would even go so far as to say that you believe you speak that language very well.

Well there you have it. You are a linguist and you weren’t even aware of the fact!

Now you know you are great at languages, you have to remember the next stage is to realise that you are Never too old!

 

           We are all linguists…you are a linguist!

We are all linguists in as much as we all (or mostly all) have been able to ‘acquire’ a native language. This in itself constitutes language acquisition.

Now is the time to harness in the linguist in you and be determined to reach some of your linguistic goals,,,,,

because after all, you ARE a linguist, aren’t you?

COMMENTS:

Do you believe you’re a linguist and  that you are …great at languages?

Tell me in the comments below how you feel about your language journey.

Would you consider yourself useless at languages? If so, why?