It's that time of year again. We promise ourselves we won't gain any Christmas weight, or get into a family argument over who really finished the bread sauce, and we certainly will not start eating ANY Christmas day treats until at least 24th December. (Erm, yes. Of course we won't. How could you accuse us of such a thing?) Ah, the chaos that is December.
While some promises are just too hard to keep, there are endless life goals we are desperate to achieve, yet continue to put off. Sometimes nothing stands in the way but pure procrastination. And we're entitled to such vacillation, when there's an ENDLESS flow of laundry shooting through the basket, piled up rubbish bins, recycling, office emails literally spilling out of our laptops and to top it all off, a Christmas dinner to plan. (Insert overwhelmed emoji here.)
Like most things in adulthood, there's never really a convenient time to pick up a new language. It's certainly not going to be easy. But it can be fun, exhilarating and oftentimes, life changing. Even our professional lives can be greatly impacted by the acquisition of a foreign language, particularly when we learn one or more of the official dialects in an important trading area.
Spain remains a vital point of contact for UK business, as well as the most popular holiday destination for Brits and retired British expats. Given this has been the case for decades, there is no excuse for relying on English and English alone. Of course, our Spanish neighbours work hard to achieve a more than decent level of our native tongue, for which we should remain thankful. This has aided negotiation and all round communication for years. But now is the time to meet in the middle.
Of the many spoken on our planet, Spanish ranks as one of the least challenging languages to learn, particularly for speakers of Indo-European vernaculars like English. Its wonderfully open vowel sounds (a total of just five) and Latin rooted vocabulary mean Spanish lessons are a much easier ride than say taking up Japanese, Quechua or Gaelic. It also holds the secrets to some of the most popular, beautiful, dulcet and in many cases even downloaded music, written and produced both historically and today. Spanish is the language of the telenovela. It's the poetry of Pablo Neruda, the history of La Alhambra and the cultures of 400 million people in 21 countries, all rolled into one.
Learning castellano will leave a permanent mark on your comprehension of the world and its many communities. As a past-time, it is so enriching, educational, exciting and packed full of endless eccentricities that it truly is the best kind of hobby.
In other words, if you're torn between the most widely spoken romance language or taking up crochet, you know what we're going to recommend.
Make 2018 the year you begin a new chapter. Aprende español
Aberdeen - that's where you speak English, right? Well, yes and no.
Europe's linguistic diversity is a gift. There are some 100 distinct languages used in our continent, with 40 of them claiming over 1 million speakers.
Aberdeen is no exception to this multilingual trend. In Scotland's 2011 Consensus, it was reported that 9.2% (19,853) of Aberdeen's population aged 3 years and older spoke a language other than English at home. That's nearly one in ten.
And it's not just Gaelic, Doric and other forms of Scots boosting these figures. Most of those who speak English as a second language in Aberdeen will speak a native tongue foreign to the UK. This makes sense, when our university sees students arrive from all corners of Europe and even further afield. During semesters you'll be pushed to spend a day going from one end of the granite city to another without catching the sounds of some exotic dialect or other.
Let's not forget, our (once!) booming oil industry brought in a plethora of skilled international workers to the silver city. Their great influence has shaped it, giving it character, multicultural art, international festivities and flare. In short, to hear only English spoken on ours streets is certainly a thing of the past, and as this millennial can only guess, one that must have been pretty boring!
Though Spanish may not take first prize, it weighed in at number 6 in the top ten most popular foreign languages spoken in Aberdeen (the top spot went to the grammatically complex yet beautiful sounding Polish).
It's a no-brainer - there really has been no better time than this to hop on board the multilingual train of verb conjugations, and start learning some español!
Class begins today!
Tonight, our students begin their learning journey in unravelling the secrets of one of the most prominent languages the world has to offer - having some fun in the process!
Why is their journey so important? What makes this one language so great?
We can think of a few reasons...
1. Spanish is taught and studied more in the UK with each year that passes, both privately and in secondary schools. Apparently español is just too charming to miss out on. Everyone's desperate to master its intricacies.
2. Travel is increasingly important in young adults' lives, with Peru consistently raking highly in the list of most popular gap year destinations.
3. Brits continue to settle on the coast of Spain and locals are beginning to expect a basic level of Spanish (can we blame them?). ¿Cuánto cuesta la casa? Maybe a little less, if you can ask in good Castilian.
The Iberian Peninsula's most widely spoken language has an influence that is undeniable. And that all means one thing. Learning Spanish is like making coffee, it's always a good idea!
Keep an eye out for our next teaching block and taster classes for the chance to become hispanohablante (a Spanish speaker).
(de origen Glaswegian!)
Waw, what fantastic launch we’ve had! Two great taster classes with some delicious homemade gazpacho, a tonne of very enthusiastic students and all in one great venue!
Thank you to everyone who came along. We have enjoyed sharing the Spanish language with you, as well as our mission statement. It was great to see so many people from all different vocations taking on the lengua castellana.
It doesn’t matter if you’re still studying, if you’ve been in full-time work for over twenty years and haven’t stepped in a classroom that whole time, or if you’re retired. There are endless reasons to learn.
You might want to take a trip to Andalucía and stay with a host family. Maybe you’d like to work as an Au Pair during your summer break, or you’re thinking of settling in Spain and want to chat away with the neighbours. Or perhaps you’d love to tick off something from the bucket list and finally complete the Camino de Santiago - we’d love to hear some of these stories.
Spanish is such an expressive language. We may think at times that it’s vastly different from English. However, we’d be wrong. Just remember that much of our vocabulary is still rooted in Latin, as is most Spanish repertoire. We may speak a Germanic language but Spanish with its overlapping word roots is not as foreign as one might imagine (optimista/optimist, adquisición/acquisition, comenzar/to commence). Combine that with some grammar that compares pretty well with other European languages (don’t get us started on German!), and what’s not to like?
If you weren’t sure till this point, here’s our advice: just go for it! You have nothing to lose and everything to learn. Or aprender... See what we did there?
Anyway, ¡nos vemos en clase!