Learning Spanish

Traveling around the globe is one of the most enjoyable activities for us (the other part of us). If I look back through the past few years most of my memories are somehow related to our journeys. Probably I’ll consider myself rich when I have the freedom to travel year round. It’d be wonderful if we manage to make our income location independent some day, but that’s another story.

So the biggest journey we are planning for this year is three weeks in Spain. We still haven’t decided whether it will be a pure cultural and sightseeing tour of the big cities or maybe smaller cities plus rural Spain plus south coast… Probably something in between.

One of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to practice it. And the best opportunity for this is while you are visiting a country in which the language in question is spoken. I’ve considered the idea of learning at least some basic Greek or other language and to practice it during our vacations. But eventually I was abandoning it every time because it was important to improve my English first. Now when I feel that my English is on a quite acceptable level* it’s about time to try another language. Yep, Spanish. My aims aren’t too high though. I’m not even considering proper grammar for now. My immediate intentions are to learn 200 words till 15 September and to be able to get the general (be it very broad) meaning from Spanish news, maps, signs, restaurant menus.

Some facts about Spanish that I find particularly interesting:

  • Everything has gender in Spanish. Some of the gender information is kept even in plural.
  • There are two different “to be” verbs: ser y estar. Although they can often be translated the same way, ser and estar are distinct verbs with distinct meanings and are seldom synonymous.
  • Spanish verb conjugation is much trickier than that of English verb conjugation because endings change for virtually each pronoun for each tense.

As a matter of fact Bulgarian verb conjugation is quite complex as well. But it’s my native language so I didn’t have any particular difficulties learning it 🙂

*Although I don’t have the slightest idea where to put commas in English texts. Except probably in non-defining clauses.

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8 Responses to Learning Spanish

  1. Vanina says:

    I just came back home from a nightmare vacation in Spain; You can’t imagine how frustrated I was when I realized that NO ONE in this country speaks English or any other lingo different from Spanish; in fact, they get offended if you ask them anything in English – a waiter in La Linea de la Concepcion actually turned his back on me simply because I tried to order a drink in English! Had to find another bar where I could sink my frustration in alcohol…

    So keep up with the Spanish lessons. You’ll need these.

  2. zImage says:

    Ouch, I’ve already read about that. I didn’t know it’s that bad though. Gotta study harder I guess… I’m eagerly waiting for more updates about Spain on your blog 🙂

  3. Vanina says:

    I’ll wait for some time first – still feel quite negative about the whole Spain thing and don’t want to publish an all-whining entry. There will be an update for sure, though 🙂

  4. Vanina says:

    “some time first” to be read “some time to pass”, sorry abt spamming.

  5. zImage says:

    Hm, looks like a copyrighted work. While I’m so much against these old “all rights reserved” licenses I do my best to not infringe them. Anyway, thank you very much for your willingness to help 🙂

    OTOH, there are many free Spanish learning materials on the Interweb. For example I decided to learn (and already learned) the top 100 most common Spanish words from this list. I also find it very entertaining to watch “spanish lessons” on Youtube.

  6. Hristo Erinin says:

    Godspeed studying Spanish :). I’m pretty much in the same quest as you. My observations of English speaking locals is the same as Vanina’s – there are almost none of them. 🙂 I’ve spent a week in Barcelona and although it’s a big tourist city I’ve had a hard time finding any English speaking locals so I guess that the situation in smaller rural cities in Spain is even worse. One more thing to note about Barcelona – their primary language is Catalan which is a language of it’s own and bears little resemblance with Spanish (fortunately they speak Spanish as well).

  7. zImage says:

    @Hristo: are you learning Spanish too?

    I think I’m advancing pretty well with my Spanish. Or at least well for someone who spends just 2-3 hours weekly learning it at home.

    Free beginner’s resources I found useful: http://www.spanishdict.com/learn/.

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