How to Speak… (not serious)

For years I have been studying Spanish, French and Catalan, and also observing other languages. Over that time I have made detailed notes and can now share my insights to make learning a language and its correct pronounciation easier.

French – Purse your lips together and make various buzzing sounds.

Spanish – bash two stones together energetically

Catalan – try to speak with a bee, chicken and grasshopper in you mouth; bash two stones together at the same time

Italian – bash two stones together energetically, but with rhythm

Galician Spanish – bash two stones together like Italian, but with softer and slower rhythm

South American/Andalusian/Canaries Spanish – bash two stones together covered with lots of talcum powder; with each “crack” the sound disintegrates into a soft breathing

Portugal Portuguese – make buzzing noises with a wide open mouth, and with a rhythm like Galician Spanish

Brasilian Portuguese – make buzzing sounds with a wide open mouth, as if you have a party popping in your mouth

German – make noises but with no facial movement and a minimum of lip movement

South-East England English (mine) – lose control of lips and tongue, and just “flap” them

Posh English – Purse lips together, but with less buzzing sounds than French

American English – open mouth wide with each syllable, like you’re chewing gum

I hope that helps. 😉

El Sobrino Speaks

Otra vez… (this is a rewrite of a blog I lost earlier)

Yesterday my sobrino (nephew) came to stay and I’ve been stretching my semi-bilingual brain much more. He’s almost three years old and speaks some Spanish and Catalan, understands French and has picked up some English. However, not enough English for me to speak with him, so when he asks me “¿Co qué?” (por qué=why) I have to come up with a quick yet coherent answer in Spanish, there and then. I think I used more Spanish words today than English!!!

I think sometimes I’m making up sentences as I going along, so don’t know how I sounds to a Spanish laymen’s ears, but I survive with this mantram: No se dice, pero se entiende (it’s not said, but it’s understood), so I may sound silly but I can make myself understood until I iron out the wrinkles in my Spanish.

His brain is absorbing language at a far faster rate than mine and in a few years he’ll probably be more fluent than me in more than two languages (I envy him and Keanu Reaves, the latter of which can just plug himself into a computer for five minutes and then say “Wow, I know Kung Fu”). Another mantram that I tell “Con él tengo que aprender castellano” (With him I have to learn Spanish), and I practice it too.

And yet I’m still amazed at how my brain unconsciously picks up on new languages; there are even some French phrases I can recognise!

Reading Romance…

Languages. What else did you think I meant 😉

I can now read a lot of Spanish, but with this I’ve found I can read Catalan, Portuguese, Italian and French a bit better. It helps that English has a good dose of Latin in it.

You’d think, English being a West German language I could have a head start with German or Dutch, but I can probably read Portuguese more than those.

Still, realising that just by understanding one language I can understand some others my world opens up before me! So, once I have Spanish (language of the country), Catalan (language of the region) and French (language spoken at home) under my belt what next? Should I learn another Iberian Romance language: Leonese? Asturian? Aranese? Aragonese? Galician? Portuguese (which a cousin speaks)? Extremaduran? Fala? Or perhaps leave the Romance alone and learn some Basque? Or go beyond the peninsula and learn Italian, Romansch, German or Greek? There was a moment, before Spain, I was trying to learn Scottish Gaelic, so maybe… Or maybe learn Arabic or Chinese? outside of Europe even!

There’s no stopping me now with a whole world of languages to speak with!!!

But first I think I should at least become fluent in Spanish before branching out, shouldn’t I? That might be sensible…