¿Dónde está la biblioteca?
A phrase that many people know from movies such as Dodgeball and certainly useful if you are looking for the local library while in Spain!
However, if that is the extent of your knowledge of the language and your goal is to learn more, I can let you know some things that have worked for me. The reason I picked Spanish is because it is the second most spoken language in the world and therefore it’s top of a lot of people’s lists. Though my tips can hopefully be applied to any other linguistic endeavours.
Your reason for learning a language is important to keep at the forefront of your mind, especially when it gets more difficult. Is it to travel to that country, to meet new people, for the history and culture, for the food and drink, for love or for work? Regardless of your “why”, there is no doubt that becoming bilingual has a positive impact on your brain. According to Lingua Life, it expands your memory capacity, improves your multitasking skills and can protect against neuro-degenerative diseases later in life.
So, once you know what speaking another language will give you, where do you start? Obviously, a language class, either online or face-to-face is the traditional way. In Dublin, the Institute of Cervantes is the main centre for learning.
For me, it was slightly different in that I have a degree in Spanish but since college I haven’t really used it that much. Last year though, I ended up working with colleagues in Madrid and spent a lot of time trying to brush up on my former knowledge without going back to classes as I didn’t have the time.
Here are some resources I found that can give you a flavour of the language without the initial financial or time commitment:
- DuoLingo: this is a fun free little app where you can spend a few minutes a day building up your vocabulary and learning new phrases. I try to do ten minutes a day and you get rewarded with points etc., so if you miss a couple of days you aren’t back to square one.
- Netflix: I was surprised to discover how many bingeworthy Spanish boxsets there are that allow the subtitles option! I can highly recommend Las Chicas Del Cable and Velvet 😊.
- Music: the Latino vibe has become part of pop music which is great for picking up a few words here and there like “despacito”, “dimelo” or “mi gente”. However, I also discovered some amazing new Spanish artists though through my old colleagues including Rosalia. Feel only slightly ahead of the pack given she played in Glastonbury this year! YouTube has a whole host of other brilliant new Latino artists that haven’t made a name this side of the pond yet so worth exploring.
- Radio Latina: accidentally discovered this one day in the car. Every Wednesday on NearFM (90.3), there is an hour of chats, songs and information for the Latin American community in Ireland. I discovered fun facts on this, e.g., in Spain I was aware of “Dia de los Santos” whereas in Mexico they celebrate “Dia de los Muertos” instead and there is a whole host of traditions around both!
- Language exchanges (intercambios): this is where you meet up with a bunch of Irish trying to learn Spanish and vice versa and between you all you try to converse in both languages. It’s a good introduction and different levels. Lots of options on the MeetUp app and in local libraries .
If you have a goal of learning a new language or moving to a new country, feel free to get in touch for an initial free call. Elaine x