Learning Spanish should be a priority for Brit expats

Learning Spanish should be a priority for Brit expats

Learning Spanish should be a priority for Brit expats

If you’re one of the many who’re now exacerbating their departure from the UK for a new expat life in Spain, learning Spanish is a priority.

Many would-be British expats believe they don’t need to be fluent in the local language as they’ll be living within an existing expat community and rarely mixing with local people. However, this means you’ll be outside the loop as regards the real Spain with all its culture, history and great new experiences, not to mention its friendly, fun peoples.

The Spanish language isn’t considered to be one of the world’s seriously challenging linguistic nightmares but, just as in English, its colloquialisms can confuse new learners. Getting started at a language institute before leaving the UK is the best way forward, but don’t be surprised if some of what you’ve learned doesn’t seem to make much sense when talking to local people.

Practicing newly-learned language skills in Spain has a lot to do with losing certain British modes of expression, with the UK’s politeness mode the first to go. Thinking ‘demand’ rather than ‘request’ when using your Spanish isn’t rude, it’s cultural and perfectly acceptable as well as making it easier to convey exactly who or what you need. For example, shouting at your waiter or even clicking your fingers and pointing at your table is the done thing and gets you your order far faster than does being polite British style.

Another point to note is that direct translations between British and Spanish don’t really work, and often lead to shrieks of hysterical laughter from Spaniards within hearing distance. For example, ‘Estoy caliente’ doesn’t mean you’re feeling the heat of the day – it conveys that you’re in the mood for sex! The right expression is ‘tengo calor’ – ‘I have heat’ ! Other mis-translations which can cause amusement amongst Spaniards within hearing distance are the use of ‘embarazada’ to mean ‘embarrassed’, when its actual translation is ‘pregnant’, or ‘preservativo’ for ‘preservative’ when its meaning is ‘condom’!

Being too sensitive about making mistakes such as the above won’t help, but it just might encourage one of your would-be Spanish friends to take you in hand with a good few Spanish conversation classes.

Related Stories:

Latest News: