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Advice For Non Spanish Speakers

#1
I walked the camino in September/October and wished I had brought a few books to read and less clothes to wear. You can wash your clothes pretty much every day, but after the first 2 or 3 albergues everyone has tossed theire extra weight - books among the weight. I stayed in small villages where there was no internet, few english speakers (I know I sould like a typical American) among the pilgrims and I was bored with nothing to read in Englsih in the albergues. In cities you can find book stores that sell a few english books, but the selections are lacking and they cost around 14 - 15 dollars for a paperback. As you go you can pitch the books to reduce your pack weight.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#2
Another idea. There are some other threads where people give suggestions for how non-Spanish speakers could learn some Spanish before they go...

I have just finished a short 'Spanish for Travellers" night class where we had a wonderful tutor, who is originally from Peru. She drilled us in numbers really well. Then just a few days ago I ended up speaking to a young African woman who spoke French. ( I speak quite a bit of French.) I was trying to give my phone number to this young woman. Strangely enough, it was the Spanish numbers that kept popping out of my mouth instead of the French ones!!! Duh!!!
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#3
KiwiNoma's advice is useful and there are threads on the site to give many practical hints about picking up a bit of Spanish. I have done three Caminoes and, while my Spanish remains basic and abominable, I discovered that making the effort made me many friends. My experience is that the Spanish love their language and happily will spend hours walking with you, speaking at the most basic level to encourage you to express yourself.

Of course, as you are on pilgrimage, I should not refer to the extraordinary incentive of making oneself understood to the many delightful and agreeable Spanish pilgrims one meets....

If you must read (and I must admit that I find it relaxing over a glass of the local tinto) the old Oxford pocket classics are lightweight, printed on bible paper-- they have a good selection of Victorian novels (Trollope, etc, wrote each chapter for weekly papers and, like TV series, one can read an episode at a time without losing track) and poetry. You really only need one-- 1,200 km from Montserrat to Santiago this year, and I barely finished The Last Chronicles of Barset.
 
#4
KiwiNomad, I have the same problem, except that Spanish is my default foreign language (since I live on the border of Texas & Mexico), so no matter what language someone tries to speak to me in (besides English) I will ALWAYS answer them in Spanish.

As for non-speakers, brush up on some basic Spanish phrases, learn your numbers from 1-10 (higher numbers are written down for you, in my experience). Don't be afraid to speak Spanish if all you know is the present tense of the verb. If you try to speak the language, the Spaniards will do their best to understand you. I know in my business, that if I can understand what the person wants (even if they said it very strangely, using "textbook" English or the wrong verb tense, or wrong pronoun), that's good enough English for me. I try not to correct someone's English unless they ask if they said something correctly, & the Spaniards are the same way.

Also, play a few games of Charades before you leave. :) It's amazing how universal some hand gestures are, such making a fist with your thumb & pinky extended & holding your thumb up to your ear: everyone understands that has something to do with making a phone call.

Kelly
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#5
WolverineDG said:
As for non-speakers, brush up on some basic Spanish phrases, learn your numbers from 1-10 (higher numbers are written down for you, in my experience). Don't be afraid to speak Spanish if all you know is the present tense of the verb. If you try to speak the language, the Spaniards will do their best to understand you.
Yep, although if you can learn the numbers from 1 to 100, it makes paying much faster (handy when there is a line - and often I saw only one clerk/bartender working to satisfy a bunch of famished/thirsty pilgrims), which impresses the person behind the counter and probably defuses the temper of the Spanish-speaking person behind you.

Indeed, I'm still working on my Spanish to prepare for my next trip over there, which I hope will happen someday soon - even though I did my Camino in July-August of 2007.

oursonpolaire said:
I have done three Caminoes and, while my Spanish remains basic and abominable, I discovered that making the effort made me many friends.
oursonpolaire said:
Of course, as you are on pilgrimage, I should not refer to the extraordinary incentive of making oneself understood to the many delightful and agreeable Spanish pilgrims one meets....
Both true - I met lots of cool Spanish folks on the Way, who took me under their wings and made my Camino a memorable one... :arrow:
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#6
http://speekee.co.uk/

For those of us who find it difficult to learn a new language, you could try using a course designed for children! The Times Educational Supplement described this course as "Superb... captivating and compelling".
This DVD based course, with an informative guide for parents, is delivered free of charge to anywhere in the world.
 

Dale

Active Member
#7
Hi everyone I'm a non Spanish speaker struggling to learn some Spanish before I start my Camino in early April. I'm working with a free Internet course called, "Coffee Break Spanish", a series of 52 lessons which are 15 to 20 minutes each. There are of course other aids that you can also buy to go along with the course but you can download all of the lessons for free with iTunes . I have copied the first 20 lessons to CD's so I can use them in the car or on the home stereo system. Give it a try it's free. I'm sure I won't be fluent by the time I arrive but being able to understand a little and communicate a bit will be a help. :mrgreen:

http://www.radiolingua.com/cbs/guide-subscribe.html

Buen Camino
 
#8
I will be traveling with my daughter and she is a bit better at picking up languages so I know I will rely on her a bit but I've also thought of having someone write out a few important phrases on 3x5 index cards just for security. Last time I walked the camino I ended up seeing a doctor about my feet and while they were great in helping me out I had no clue what they were doing!
 

kubapigora

Active Member
#9
Dale said:
Hi everyone I'm a non Spanish speaker struggling to learn some Spanish before I start my Camino in early April. I'm working with a free Internet course called, "Coffee Break Spanish", a series of 52 lessons which are 15 to 20 minutes each.

http://www.radiolingua.com/cbs/guide-subscribe.html
So am I. Coffe Break Spanish i s probably the best option for a non-spanish speaking people to catch some phrases before doing camino.
There is also few others podcast on the net to help you learn the language. Just use your iTunes browser. I'm using also 'Notes in Spanish' (for beginners of course) and Spanish Pod 101.
Good luck!
Kuba.
 

vinotinto

Active Member
#10
kubapigora said:
Coffe Break Spanish
Yes, I just discovered this series last Friday while updating iTunes and syncing my iPhone. I downloaded the first 30 episodes, and I went through 1 and 2 this morning on my car stereo by hooking up my iPhone to it (pretty basic lingo, but a good refresher). I'd definitely bring the Coffee Break Spanish Podcasts on an iPod for a language refresher along the Way.

When I did the Camino last year, I brought along Elisabeth Smith's One-Day Spanish and One-Day French for a language booster when needed. I used the French more than the Spanish, but it was helpful, especially when it came to ordering food - and vin! :arrow:
 
#11
I'm Mark, the host and creator of Coffee Break Spanish which has been mentioned a few times here. I've been following the discussions here with great interest and I'm wondering if we can possibly create a Camino-specific set of lessons. There are obviously a number of lessons on the course which are generic including things like visiting the doctor, getting by on a day-to-day basis and talking to the people you meet. I wonder if there are any of you who'd be willing to give some suggestions as to specific phrases which would be useful particularly in the context of doing the Camino. Never having done the Camino myself I can only come up with a few ideas, but I'm sure that those of you who have done it would be able to come up with some good stuff.

Please note that I'm not looking at this as a commercial venture - CBS is free if you want the audio only version. I'm also not trying to advertise using your site - I hope this message isn't taken the wrong way.

Good luck to all Camino-walkers!
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
#12
radiolingua said:
I'm Mark, the host and creator of Coffee Break Spanish which has been mentioned a few times here. I've been following the discussions here with great interest and I'm wondering if we can possibly create a Camino-specific set of lessons. There are obviously a number of lessons on the course which are generic including things like visiting the doctor, getting by on a day-to-day basis and talking to the people you meet. I wonder if there are any of you who'd be willing to give some suggestions as to specific phrases which would be useful particularly in the context of doing the Camino. Never having done the Camino myself I can only come up with a few ideas, but I'm sure that those of you who have done it would be able to come up with some good stuff.
I think this is a great idea! ... I guess it would now be up to pilgrims in this forum to come up with "scenarios" where it would be good to know a few spanish phrases.

Saludos,
Ivar
 
#13
Why not create another topic, where we could post our ideas and phrases for Mark! (ivar- what do you think?)
That would be a great stuff- "Coffe Break Spanish on Camino!"

Kuba.
 

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