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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Learning English
Tuesday, March 28, 2023 @ 12:49 PM

A local woman in the shop across from where I live put me down from the beginning as an Englishman. She's right, although I could be German or Swedish - as so many of us are. Anyway, English.

And to prove her point, she bursts out with her entire knowledge of the language in one remarkable salute when I heave up alongside.

Wotcher, she says.

I wonder where she picked up that particular greeting. Probably from a holiday visit to Torremolinos some time in the distant past. Or maybe she went to see a show at a music hall in the Old Kent Road.

Wotcher, orl the naybours cried,

ooh yer gonna meet Bill,

as yer walks the street Bill...

For those who need it, including perhaps my friend from over the way, there are a number of English-language schools in Almería ideal for brushing up one's idiom, including one with the odd name of 'The Mancunian Academy', which presumably teaches its students to speak the King's English with a flat Manchester twang.

A friend who hails from that city laughed when I told him about the school and said ... the poor things will all end up speaking Espancunian. Indeed!

A student I know in the Almería educational system is sixteen and he and his 120 classmates are currently using a book called 'The Skin I'm In' by a black American author called Sharon Flake. It's written in the vernacular: '...Then I had to fess up and tell her I forgot to do it. She asked Mr Pajolli if it's OK for me to use my office time to do my math homework. He said, yeah, but that I'd have to make up the time later. Teachers don't do nothing but cause you grief, I swear that's all they do.'

There used to be a Scotsman living in the nearby resort of Roquetas and who taught English. Can you imagine the sounds his more attentive students made? Another teacher I know comes from somewhere 'oop north'. I asked him precisely where a couple of times, but frankly, I couldn't understand what he said.

Over on the other side of the pond, as a Spanish journalist reporting on the USA tells us, more and more people over there are learning to speak Spanish.

Which, as I know from experience, they most certainly aren't.

First of all, it's not Spanish. As anyone can tell you, it's called 'Mexican' (Sorry amigos!) and secondly, no one wants to speak it much beyond 'andalay' which the American girls think means 'beat it'. Indeed they insist that all the Latins learn to speak English (or to be more precise, 'American'). The claim from the Spanish journalist is frankly about as likely as the British all suddenly deciding to learn to speak Urdu.

Back to teaching the Spanish to be able to communicate with us, so that they'll understand us when we want a full-English breakfast, just try and keep it simple.

Don't ask for kippers and remember that if they don't understand you, then shout!

My advice to the Spanish students is to watch movies on the TV in the original language, not dubbed into Spanish. There's a handy button on the remote. Read stuff in English - although maybe pass on Sharon Flake for the time being - stick to Agatha Christie, and even, I don't know, brave the Brit pub down on the Costa and ask for a pint.

But above all, try and shoot for good English. After all, if you are going to make the superhuman effort to learn a foreign language, you might as well get it right. A Spanish woman I once knew spoke fluent English which she had learned while living in the East-end of London. She came from a 'good family' too.

So here's the deal: Learn English from someone who speaks or writes it clearly, because the point is to be able to communicate to those English-speakers you will be meeting later on. Not all of them will speak it very well, so why not make it easy for them.

Are you wimme?

Like 3


Lagalesa said:
Thursday, April 6, 2023 @ 12:24 PM

Good points - although, how would a Spaniard know if the person they are learning from speaks good or bad English?

Some "local" Brits who lived in a village I used to live in, helped out in the school's English classes.....can only imagine the awful results!!

I am supplementing my Spanish lessons by doing Duolingo which is, of course, American and uses Mexican/South American Spanish (not to mention often terrible English sentence construction!) Still, the grammar appears to be spot on but, as in American English, some of the vocabulary is quite different. What a difference an Ocean makes!!

Elle57 said:
Saturday, June 3, 2023 @ 7:15 AM

IInteresting. I live in Casares. I was born in Manchester, so a"flat" Mancunian. We used to have a bakery. When I would teach Polish employees, they often said "we understand you, but not your husband!" My husband BTW comes from Failsworth Manchester.

In my youth many people would say "you don't sound like a Mancu Ian," Maybe because it was because my mum came from Blackpool and my Dad from Cheshire. She would patiently correct my lazy speech of "dunno's and yer knows" and boy, years later am I so glad!

Beck to Casares. One set of neighbours is Argentinian. It amazed me to listen to her speak English with an American accent. Her father was born in France. She is now learning Chinese! The other daughter is studying law at Manchester University!

All this down to the power of education!

Love to all, from a Mancunian learning g Spanish.

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