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Posts from the ‘languages’ Category

Looking forward..

Another weekend.

Another few days to catch up on sleep, but it’s not so bad. I’m just home from a very successful Spanish morning organised by Camino Society Ireland. I’ve left my knowledge of the Spanish language fall by the wayside a number of years ago. I have become fearful of making mistakes and to be honest, making mistakes is all part of learning any language. However, since the opportunity arose to dust down my skills and possibly improve them, I grabbed it with both hands.

I need to be taught in Spanish and that is exactly what our “profesora excelente” is doing. Hopefully, I will have less of the fear and more of the patience, to be speaking it before the lessons end. Who knows?

Next May is Camino #8, but who’s counting? Next I travel to Vigo and start walking a little further down in A Guarda on the Portuguese Coastal route. I should be in Santiago within 8-9 days as we are taking our time. I say “we”, as I am walking with my brother. I wonder if I will have the patience, and whether I will walk into Santiago with him. Keep an eye on this blog to find out, folks. He bought his backpack, a Lowe Alpine 35litre, and a few other essentials in the last few weeks, and our walks start soon. We are both constantly looking forward to the start date on May 6th and me being the “Camino expert” is being asked many a question. The real test will be taking the packs out for 2 consecutive days.

I walk into Santiago for the first time since June 2011. I’m not sure how to feel about this, and am hoping we get time to walk to the Coast. The Camino has been calling me big time since I returned from Astorga in September. I am getting more involved with the local Camino Society..and I enjoy it. For any other reason, I would be filled with trepidation.

I must return to my weekend now. More news later.

I’ve hit a Spanish wall..

Humph! I’m close to two years learning Spanish on and off. I have been to two evening courses and I do what I can when I am free. I reckon I get on ok with Spanish locals, provided they speak slowly and give me a little time to reply. I’ve tried it and it is great getting corrected as I speak. 

However, I have hit a wall. A very high one. I love the language and so want to speak it, like a second language. I “think” I am ok with the present in “the now”. Future tense…I take the easy way out and say “I am going to ….” rather than “I will…” and that is fine and well. Past tense..forget about it! If someone asked me “So what did you do today?”, I am instantly stuck. Maybe it is practice makes perfect? I was the same with French and Irish in school..I was never confident with conjugating verbs, whether they are regular or irregular. What do you reckon? 

I understand but, I can´t speak

From reading my blogs over the last few months, you might have noticed I have an interest in Spain and it’s language. It’s true. It’s an interest and whether it is unhealthy or not, I’ll leave it you to decide that. The language itself is one I want to be fluent in and hopefully I will be someday. I got the ball rolling in February of this year, I started a beginners course in Spanish and I learnt a lot from it. I felt confident in what I knew and added to that by listening to some podcasts, and by writing to Spanish speakers in their native language. I did my level best to speak some few lines during my time in Spain.  So I had planned. 

What I found out was how little I knew. Yes, I could order a drink and ask for directions, and yes, I could talk about the weather and how bad or good it was but my knowledge was limited. I didn’t know much else. It didn’t help either by meeting people from non-Spanish speaking countries. I could have gone out of my way to meet some Spanish people, but it’s in the past now!

Anyway..ten weeks of beginners Spanish doesn’t really help but it does give you a taster. Since then I have done more reading, listened to more podcasts and written more emails to some friends abroad. That’s all fine and well and anything that makes me understand the language is great. To reciprocate is another thing.

I started back last Monday to an improvers class at the same college. Another ten weeks would help me improve I thought..why not give it a go?! I met some people I knew from the first course and some had kept their learning up. Others had joined in with sufficient knowledge that they didn’t need a beginners course. This class would be all in Spanish I was told. Ok, I find it hard speaking in English to a group, but in Spanish? The nerves kicked in. Next we were told we needed to talk about ourselves for a while. Fair enough..that can’t be too bad?! I started off and after about a minute or so, the dreaded “umms and ehhs” kicked in. Next, one of the better members of the class stepped up. She had brilliant Spanish and I was left wondering why she needed to take this course?! Even though she sat a metre from me, you could see the gulf from a mile. 

I really did think about dropping from the course after that class. But if I do that, I won’t get any better.
I read this recently about learning any language:
“Most students would say “I understand but, I can´t speak”. I believe this is just fear of being criticised by other people. A high-dose of inhibition is needed!!”

An interesting way to take in Spanish

I’ve been looking for ways how to improve on my Spanish language. It’s nearly a year since I started taking the language seriously and going to classes. There are may tips and tricks on how to improve including this and this.

However, this guy has taken learning a language to a new level. He moved to Germany for a year without a word of German and came home fluent. Have a look at this short clip.

More information can be found at

I’d love to do the same to aid my Spanish.


If you have read my previous post, you will know that I am learning Spanish; not just to use it in May, but to have it and improve on it going forward. The evening course I have been going to has been great but that is shortly coming to an end. Ten weeks has flown by and it is up to me now.

So if any of you want to converse via email (in Spanish of course), let me know. Or if you know of anyone who would be willing to do the same, I would appreciate it. Gracias!

Estoy apprendiendo espanol…

Over the last number of months, I have been taking an evening course in Spanish. It has taken a life of its’ own. I’m really enjoying it, which is strange as I’ve never had a grasp of languages, whether it is Irish, or French. I have studied Spanish in the past for three years while in school but there was a much greater focus on grammar, verbs and tenses than on conversation. So I stopped it and moved on to another subject at that time.

After being in Spain the last few years, I felt that my time there would be that little bit better if I was able to converse in some way with Spanish people. So I decided to give the language another go..and if it didn’t work out, I could always rely on meeting a Spanish speaker and tag along with them! Like I did last year!

The evening course I am on focuses on the basics and how to have a conversation. There are alot of phrases, nouns and verbs that have come back to me, but there isn’t that great an emphasis on them now. I listen to a great podcast also called “Coffee Break Spanish” which is for the beginner and is updated weekly. The BBC have a dedicated site ( for those learning the language also with a great mini-series called “Mi Vida Loco”.  I would recommend anyone to listen to it. I have even followed a few Spanish nationals on Twitter so I can practice.

I have a lot more to do however but I have for once ticked off one of those resolutions I keep on making. So if you are in the same boat, or if you have any tips for me, let me know!

Hasta luego! Adios!