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Spanish Language

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by crad80, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. crad80

    crad80 Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    In a few weeks, I will be starting my first Camino. I was just wondering what level of Spanish proficiency is needed for the Camino. Is English spoken at all? Or, is Spanish the only language spoken along the Camino route? Thanks for your help and assistance. I am truly a newbie to the Camino. :)
     
  2. Caminando

    Caminando Veteran Member

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    Hola , welcome.

    You dont need much Spanish to get by. If you can speak phrase book Spanish then you will be fine. Forget English: it's a curse and a blessing. Enjoy Spanish, a beautiful language;
     
  3. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    You do not need Spanish on the Camino....English is the common language for most of the Pilgrims and most Europeans use English to talk with each other.

    That said...a little Spanish makes it more interesting. It would be good to have the basic words of courtesy and basic things...but again not needed.
    Enjoy
     
  4. Portia1

    Portia1 Active Member

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    In some ways, French and German would have been far more helpful than my Spanish. There were often evenings when I was the only English speaker and the French (both French and Canadian) and Germans, with whom I found myself alot, tended to speak their own languages rather than accomodate me. I do not know either language at all. Now they were extremely accomodating when they wanted to use my Spanish skills (albeit meager) to arrange for something.......then they would speak English to me to ask me to get them a ticket, etc. I took a Kindle for the evenings when I found myself surrounded with people but no one who included me by speaking even a little English.

    As far as Spanish, knowing please and thank you, can I have a lower/upper bunk, where is the bathroom, how much is the pilgrim's meal--these are all very useful phrases to have under your belt and at the ready. Otherwise a small Spanish dictionary/traveler reference is fine. And remember, hands are the universal language!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. Arn

    Arn Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Hi...er, Ola'

    I found that there were a few key phrases to know and when you see them you can undoubtedly understand what they are saying:

    Greetings:

    buenos días
    buenas tardes
    buenas noches

    Food:

    Jamón y queso bocadillo, por favor
    Gran ensalada
    Pizza

    Drink

    vino tinto
    vino blanco
    Dos Cerveza grande
    aqua
    un té
    Un café

    Questions/directions

    Dónde está el baño
    Donde es el albergue
    Dónde está el albergue municipal
    Dónde está el camino
    Dónde está la oficina de correos
    Dónde está el hospital/Amblatoria
    Dónde está la farmacia

    Never forget...gracias...it goes a long Way

    That should get you fed, a place to sleep, a pit stop and safely back on the Camino.

    Arn
     
  6. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    "Will the sheep be sleeping in the house or the barn?"
    ¿Las ovejas dormirán en la casa o el granero?
     
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  7. vinotinto

    vinotinto Active Member

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    I recommend that you know numbers from one to 100, names of common food items/utensils, simple commonly-used sentences, directions, and courtesies. Arn's list is a good start (I would add "grande" to the vino tinto phrase, though, and "orujo" is kind of like the pepto-bismol of Spain... :mrgreen: ), and you can find more info in guidebooks and basic travel language programs like Elisabeth Smith's One-Day series.

    For example, I did the Camino Frances during the summer of 2007. There were a LOT of pilgrims patronizing the bars, and often only one harried bartender was available to serve them. You can imagine the chaos in that situation for even the most patient and helpful barkeep, especially in the smaller towns where English is not so common as in the big cities.

    With that in mind, if you can clearly and quickly state your order and pay your bill in exact change, you'll have a big one-up on most folks who are bumbling through their guidebooks to find out how to say "coffee with milk, please." You will get faster service and make his/her job that much easier. Buen Camino! :arrow:
     
  8. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Seems that the language issue is on of the few "Camino " themes I'm confident about :wink: . Four years of adult evening school learning Spanish has been proven a great asset when travelling through different parts of Spain.
    I have always gotten positive comments about the fact that I tried to make myself understandable even if I obviously made mistakes against grammar/ vocabulary. Spanish are really cool about foreigners trying to do their best with spanish. My experience in France with my school french has been quite something different : people trying to correct me and being snotty about my pronunciation. But maybe my view is coloured by the fact that we belgians have always been considered as the " little stupid sibling of France "... :wink: End of rant...
     
  9. Canuck

    Canuck Veteran Member

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    Sabine,

    Join the club!
    We,''les cousins'', get the same treatment. They can't help it, it's in their nature.

    Jean-Marc
     
  10. Sojourner47

    Sojourner47 Guest

    Sorry you had that experience, Sabine, I have to say, as an Englishman, I've always got on quite well with my "school" french - most people are appreciative that I make a (garbled..) effort to speak their language.(and it has to be said that the English are the worst). I recently travelled part of the River Meuse, from Belgium into France (by water, not on foot!), and found both the Belgians and the French very helpful and friendly. (though some spoke far better English than my french...)
    I hope my basic Spanish will get me through on my camino in 3 weeks time - I've just about mastered Arn's list of essentials! :D
     
  11. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    hahah Jean-Marc , that good old fashioned rivalry :wink:
    Yes Sojourner, my " quirks about the french " ...It is partly something psychological and I know I shouldn't generalise...( I realy get very well along with our french speaking community here in the Walloon part of Belgium ) but when in a mixed group of french and dutch / flemish people most of the time dutch speaking will adapt and will turn to talking french.
    It has to do I think that, like in Scandinavia also, english tv-shows are subtitled whereas in France and Walllon part of Belgium they are dubbed ( sometimes in a most hideous way...)

    Anyway I'm open to meet all kind of nationalities and hope we will find a " communial " language...Humour will take us a long way I guess ( had my best travels ever meeting canadians and australians because i really appreciate that kind of humour..see generalising again... :wink: )
     
  12. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    My first whole camino (in 2001) was done with the bare minimum of Spanish. I had a blast, but stayed close to the waymarked path.

    My second whole camino (in 2010) was done with useably fluent Spanish. I was able to take all kinds of side-trips, detours, and invitations I never would have considered otherwise. The camino is great either way. But it´s a much deeper, richer experience when you can comfortably go "off-road" and really dig into the local scene -- something you just cannot do if you don´t understand what´s being said.

    Reb.
     
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  13. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Again...Spanish is not a requirement for a great Camino. If you are planning a walk this year you probably cannot do much about it if you do not speak Spanish now. :?

    There is something that I have seen others using and have prepared for my wife when she was traveling to the Camino on her own and has no Spanish.
    Make a simple list of words and phrases that YOU think you might need. Keep it very basic and small. Things like directions to albergues, hotel, bus (autobus in Spanish), basic things.
    Print the English in one column and the Spanish in the other. You can find the English and then point to the Spanish to ask your question. Understanding the answer is another thing all together. :shock: I was often the only one in a group from all over that had any Spanish at all...and that very poor.

    This really does work and along with hand gestures you will be surprised and pleased at how you get along. The adventure and experience will be with you forever.

    I met with many Koreans (and others) who spoke no English and no Spanish. They managed to get along very well and interacted with others in albergues, dinner, etc.
    English speakers have a blessing in comparison with many others.
    As Reb said, fluent Spanish would be great but is not reality for most of us.
     
  14. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    If you can, take some Spanish. I absolutely hate studying languages. I have taken at various times in my life, Spanish, French and German. (Also Indonesian, but that's another story, and the only one I'm any good at)

    The very best use use for it all has been my pilgrimage trips. We've gone from Prague to Santiago, and used all three, and every bit we could muster added greatly to the trip.

    Of course, speaking English, you don't NEED a word of a second language, but I'll bet you come back for a second or third trip, and will use any Spanish you learn.
     
  15. CaminoJohn

    CaminoJohn Active Member

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    Most people who work on the Camino speak or understand a little English...think about it... how many things do pilgrims need and how many things do you need to learn to ask for?...food, shelter, water, pharmacy...but most villagers in the more remote parts of the camino who don't have direct need to deal with pilgrims don't speak english...so if you want any kind of interaction with locals....learn a little spanish or french depending on where you start from!
     
  16. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    I think it must be a Belgian thing. No one could have a worse accent than my 'Murican garlbled French. Last year I made a hotel reservation over the phone and apologized for my French and she said , "no, c'est formidable!" (trust me, it isn't)

    Another time we stayed in a Chambre d'Hote, and the next morning they asked us to act like we were staying a second night "there are Belgians at the door!"

    Sort of like Texas and Colorado I guess.
     
  17. +@^^

    +@^^ Active Member

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    imho
    as a non Spanish mother-tongue speaker
    i tipped the emphasis away from language, and more towards communication
    armed with a phrase book
    and a good intention to immerse myself into the situation, i was able to communicate
    sure i missed the richness of fine conversation
    but i had a great time and didnt die
    i sharpened up my pictionaly and charades shills
    and had fun commnicating in Japanese, Dutch, Italian, French, German, Arabic, Portugese.....
    .
    my incomplete list of communication killers
    a book
    a kindle
    an ipod
    a bad attitude
     
  18. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    LOL : but instead of the french we belgians can see the humour of it all... :D :lol:
    Ha, we belgians at least have a real royal house whereas they only have that little Sarkozy...
    Ok, will end this nonsense :arrow:
     
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  19. LTfit

    LTfit Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Although not essential, I believe that my first Camino experience last summer was richer due to my language abilities. Having some French and Spanish knowlegde allowed me to communicate with a larger group of pelegrinos along the way. Using it also made me step out of my comfort zone.

    Having the Spanish also allowed me to strike up conversations with local bar and store keepers which gave an extra dimension to my Camino. But Spanish especially helped me during my days walking with a motley group made of a Basque, a Catalan and a Gallego!

    Make an effort, it will pay off!

    Cheers,
    LT
     
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  20. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    My only advice is learn CASTILLIAN Spanish, not LATIN AMERICAN Spanish. There is a difference and I found that my Spanish was often misunderstood due to learning a different kind of Spanish, which in the US is probably more useful, but overseas, not so much. Then if you throw in all the regional dialects, it makes it all kinds of fun! I think if you learn a few basic phrases, you will be fine.
     
  21. Kialoa3

    Kialoa3 Active Member Donating Member

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    I will weigh in on the side that some Spanish can reward you with a richer camino experience, but functionally you can get by with the usual mix of basic phrases and sign language. I have to smile every time I think of the conversation my wife, Robin, who speaks no Spanish, had with a Spanish hospitalero who spoke no English. Armed with a mutual desire to understand one another and with a bit of help from Google translator (iphone) that conversation lasted three hours.
     
  22. scikowski

    scikowski Member

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    This is a good point. I heard a Spanish man explaining that he was sure that the Mexican lady who asked for "el bano" did not really want to take a bath. Look for "servicios" or "aseos".
    Suzanne
     
  23. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    However....it is not uncommon to see signs for "bano" along the Camino as well in other parts of Spain.
     
  24. annakappa

    annakappa Veteran Member

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    Well I speak fluent Latin American Spanish. The first time we did the Camino, I learnt fast the few "essential" camino words in Castilliano. There weren't that many. An example: "Campo", meaning for us a place in a bus, or in the case of the Camino, a place to sleep in an Albergue. I should have said "Hay plazas"? instead of "Hay campo"? The reply was , "No, we don't have camping here"! Our accent is different too!
    In my opinion, the essential question here is, do you want to communicate in Spanish? I know that for some people it's much easier than for others, but if you are curious, out-going, hope to join in the local culture and also the multitude of conversations that one inevitably gets involved in, it's so much more enjoyable to be able at least to understand what is being said! After all, most of you will be in Spain for more than a month! Let's call it "total immersion"! Anne
     
  25. Frogmarch

    Frogmarch New Member

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    I certainly wouldn't worry about learning the Spanish version of the language rather than a South American variety, since the overwhelming majority of the words are the same. After all, how many Americans study English before making a trip to the U.K.? And I'm sure that not many young American females are overly shocked when asked in a B&B if they would like to be knocked up in the morning. :mrgreen:

    Just learn as much Spanish - any sort - as you can. A little goes a long way in establishing contact and getting the best out of people.
     
  26. lindalou

    lindalou New Member

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    Depart SJDP May 29, (2015)
    Someone previously posted about "Coffee Break Spanish" that can be downloaded free onto itunes. This is wonderful for a newbie to Spanish or to review if rusty. 15 minute segments that are right on target for what we need for this trip.

    I agree with others, a little Spanish, even spoken badly, goes a very long way.
    Linda
     
  27. sun is shining

    sun is shining Member

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    For everyone interested in learning some Spanish before you go check out
    http://radiolingua.com/category/shows/c ... k-spanish/

    You can download free audio podcasts teaching you Spanish fairly quickly and at a slow speed. I used it when I started Spanish at uni and will go through them again before leaving for Spain.

    You can buy add-ons but I never felt the need for them and only used the free audio guide.

    (Im new here so Im not sure if it is ok to post a link - please remove it if it is against forum rules)
     
  28. Arn

    Arn Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Sun,

    The only prohibition is that one doesn't post a link that either leads to SPAM...or will monetarily benefit the poster.

    When we find such they are removed.

    Thanks for adding to the bevy of knowledge available on the Forum.

    Arn
     
  29. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    I never had any trouble speaking Indonesian in Malaysia. Some things I don't understand, and some things I say make everyone laugh. I don't know why, I just assume it is like a Brit looking under bonnet of the car. Much better than knowing nothing, and sort of fun. Mexican Spanish will go far in Spain.
     
  30. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    There's a difference between Latin American Spanish and Castillian Spanish....that's all I was saying. I found it to be frustrating trying to communicate (I have a fairly decent Spanish accent, got all A's when I took it in college) and getting a blank stare when I asked very simple questions. I'm not talking about slang, I'm talking about basic communication. I have no problem communicating in Spanish with my patients at the hospital I work at in Oregon. They are all Latin American Spanish-speaking. In Spain, it was a different story for me. Just an observation.

    I also think it's rude to go to a country that speaks a different language and not know at least the basics like please, thank you, etc. Even though I went to 9 or so countries last year and couldn't learn every language of where I was going (can you imagine doing that in India?!), I still made sure to learn please, thank you, and a few other key phrases that required a yes/no response. People appreciated it. It's even better if you are American because people automatically assume you don't know another language. Always fun to shock people a little bit. :)

    I'm preparing to serve as a hospitalera later this year and plan to learn key phrases in the most common languages on the Camino so I can communicate in a basic manner (and with hand gestures!) with the peregrinos I will be serving.
     
  31. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    For me this whole Camino was a deeper experience because I speak basic spanish and I got some nice compliments from the spaniards. I always start in spanish to apologize for my basic spanish.
    In lots of situations I was translating for other people, or the pilgrim asked me too or a shopassistant or barpersonnel.

    Small observation : most of the german speaking community tend to group together and are a little bit anxious to speak another language. Till now I do not know why?

    Sometimes I observed just plain arrogance : I was sitting in kitchen of municipal of Sahagun when an austrian asked where the hospitalero was. When I answered him in english ( my german is really too limited ) he barked at me that " I had to answer him in german "!!!!!! Later on the camino I observed who he treated the spanish people and it wasn't a nice sight!
    Then I met a nice austrian guy whom I told the story and he gave me some nice austrian swearing words that I could use if necessary..lol...
     
  32. dangerskies

    dangerskies New Member

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    Thank you for this link, I'm going to put a few of the lessons on my iPod and hope that some of it manages to sink in!
     
  33. Br. David

    Br. David Active Member

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    Most of the responses are to learn some but what if one is just hopeless? :oops:

    I just cannot retain spanish. I've tried on and off for some years, books, tapes, cd's, interactive computer ... retention is about 90 seconds, not sure why. It is quite frustrating.
    I did French and German at school and perhaps because the structures were embedded early can building block them when needed - Spanish? I am utterly hopeless. Female brains seem to have larger language centres, mine? .. well .. it really isn't laziness, I've tried and tried.

    Ah well, I do speak Esperanto like a native :wink:
     
  34. mmonomm

    mmonomm Member

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    do not worry,

    you will get along without any Spanish knowlegde. that was my case, on my first camino. on the second i knew a few words. but the usual opinion, of spanish people, (i recently talked to someone, who said, when i was complaining that nobody spoke English on my camino...): you are in Spain!!!!! what do you expect??? :)
     
  35. aeveling

    aeveling Active Member

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    Br. David,

    I also had a problem learning other languages. I discovered the Pimsleur language courses on CD at my local library and it's been very sucessful. There is no written material you just listen and repeat the various exercises and it is structured in the same way as a child learns a language. I spend hours driving each week and this is the perfect way to pass the time, though I couldn't sit down for long enough at home to do these lessons.

    I had no Spanish when I did my first Camino (Frances) in 2004 and there were several times when the language barrier was a problem. On subsequent Caminos my improving Spanish has made a big difference, not only for day to day stuff but most importantly I can have small conversations with locals as I pass through. I found this particularly important on the Via de la Plata where virtually no one speaks English.

    Having said all this, on my first Camino I knew no Spanish and had a great time, so there's no need to worry about it.

    Andrew.
     
  36. josephleaf

    josephleaf New Member

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    Hola!

    I am from Hong Kong and walked the camino last winter.

    Other than my native languages I could only speak English.

    I could get by with the 'frequent used word list' on the Brierley guide and had no problem ordering food, getting a place to sleep and even managed a few trips to the pharmacy. Bartenders/pharmacists pretty well know what a pilgrim need.

    I also carry a few pieces of 'Where is the nearest police station' language card from those language CDs and would flash them if I am to meet with any hospital emergency. I bet it would be easier if I'm to show them the flash cards than to use the language if I'm to meet with any emergency?

    Many pilgrims speak English, and knowing that I'm an Asian (by my look, of course), they would use English to communicate with me. My Dutch friend told me that English has gain some popularity since the establishing of the EU, when people seek to find a common language and English is one. I do not know how true is that, though.

    Locals are interested to talk to me, especially so when I am neither a Korean nor Japanese, as they form the biggest group of Asian pilgrim. However I do not speak Spanish. If we are fortunate enough, we would have someone to translate and they seem very pleased to have received a pilgrim from an interesting origin.

    I met a few German pilgrims and they seem to be very enthusiastic to communicate in English. 2 of them told me that they very much would like to practice their English. They also told me the famous comedian who walked the camino few years back and the book he wrote inspired many of them to take the camino.

    I was usually with pilgrims who were from the 'minority' group: Koreans, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, Germans, Italians and Americans/British/Australians.

    So, do not worry, the camino will take care of you and you are likely to have a unique experience, whatever the language you could or could not speak.
     
  37. fraluchi

    fraluchi Veteran Member Donating Member

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    >
    Absolutely! And...sign language can get you by wherever you are. Knowing a few common expressions is useful of course, but most interlocutors will apply patience to try and understand what you intend to communicate.
    How often did I feel sorry, however, for not having been able to communicate with a Korean pilgrim who did not understand English. (and I was amazed as to how these particular nationals manage to walk the Camino pretty "efficiently")
    Sign language, a smile, patience. Good ingredients.
     
  38. Whizzer

    Whizzer Member

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    English is interntional language then it is French. Then it is local language. I was told when I lived in Holland it is easy for them to use english because they is more words that fits the meaning then it was in dutch words. They will subtitle movie in dutch and leave the movie in english.
    If you listen to a dutch radio station the music is high in english songs.
     
  39. Labtails

    Labtails Member

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    Most places I went on the Camino del Norte I found that the local people understood English. That said it sure brought a smile & better service & friendly feelings when I greeted people in Spanish, thanked them in Spanish and showed enough respect that I had made the effort to learn some basic Spanish before arriving in Spain. Find a list of most used words & phrases to memorize. The Spanish language is NOT hard to learn. IMO part of the adventure of the Camino is learning some of the local culture and learning to speak some basic Spanish goes a long way to making your trip better. :p
     
  40. inspiredjen

    inspiredjen New Member

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    Portugues in 2015?
    This is a GREAT thread!

    As a former language teacher, I have a suggestion for anyone who struggles to learn a language: try writing. Of the three learning styles (visual, kinesthetic and auditory), learning by ear is far and away the hardest way to learn.

    Writing incorporates movement (kinesthetic) and images (visual) and helps your brain retain the information in a different way.

    So, in addition to any other strategies you're using, try writing out a list of words and phrases by hand. It might just be the trick for your brain!
     
  41. Caminobd

    Caminobd Member

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    Thank you so much for this advice! I really struggled with speaking Spanish last summer on the Camino Frances because I have difficulty discerning and remembering sounds which is what I need to do to transpose into visual memory to learn language. And I'm shy which doesn't help. Having had to take French in school, I read French so much better than speaking it.

    I relied far too much on my daughter to speak for me as she picked up the language really fast, last summer.

    Kelly
     
  42. fortview

    fortview Active Member

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    A smile, a greeting, even if its only " Hola " goes a long way.
    You can learn bits as you go along. Ask a Spanish speaking pilgrim to help you.

    Most important be POLITE . If a Spanish waitress can't understand you, shouting at her in English will not help ! ! :shock:
     
  43. Sarahandlouise

    Sarahandlouise New Member

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    We have downloaded SayHi which translates by voice recognition into Spanish? Not only does a Spanish voice translate but the Spanish text is printed out so you can repeat it. For those of us with poor language skills(not through lack of trying) it is a way of showing you want to try not to depend on English whilst embracing the technology available. it costs less than €1 to download if you intend to take either an iphone or ipad.
     
  44. wayfarer

    wayfarer Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Thank you Sarahandlouise, I have just downloaded a similar app for android for my Samsung and it works great (Voice Translator Pro). Not having this on the camino made me learn more Spanish which is a good thing but this should help when you are way out of your dept. :)
     
  45. clearskies

    clearskies Veteran Member

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    If anything, learn a bit of German! I struggled to meet English speaking people last May. I am studying Spanish at the moment so hopefully that will be of use to me as I'd like to converse with the locals. It's not essential though.
     
  46. whariwharangi

    whariwharangi Veteran Member

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    I would recommend a basic level of Spanish proficiency. Enough to be able to buy a ticket for a bus going in the right direction at least.

    There are schools in all major Spanish and Latin American cities that specialize in teaching Spanish to foreigners. They teach courses by the week and can provide accomodations (for a cost). Perhaps it would be worth your while to spend two weeks to get some essentials. Pick a place with culture. I liked Granada in Spain and Guanajuato in Mexico. I didn't much like Alicante as the only diversion was the beach.

    Yes there is some differences in Spanish as it is spoken in Spain and in Latin America. There are marked differnces even between countries like Argentina and Chile. Think of the different accent and word choices made by the Queen and Oprah for example. Not enough to matter ... and a lifetime spent learning Spanish as a second language will not erase your own accent.

    I encountered a lot of people on the camino who had no Spanish. The most oft heard foreign language was French. I had to really admire Koreans who had only a rudimentary grasp of English as their only European language ... they struggled to get anything done. The camino can be done with no Spanish. You don't need to talk in order to walk.

    As a rule, English is not spoken by Spaniards ouside of tourist areas. Some waitresses that have experience with Pilgrims may have enough to help you with menu choices. You have to remember that for many Spaniards Castillian Spanish is already a second language. The Basque speak Euske and Galacians Speak Galacian; both are official languages.
     
  47. annakappa

    annakappa Veteran Member

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    That's because the greatest influx of German speakers (including the Austrians and the Swiss Germans) like to take their holiday in May. They have a large amount of public and religious holidays during this time, that they can easily add an extra 'free' week to their regular holiday rights.
    The Germans, especially the over 60's don't seem to have much knowledge of any other language ( but that also applies to the French)!
    Also, lets be frank, how many native English language speakers really take the trouble to learn one or two other foreign languages, mainly because, I think, that they regard English as THE language! I know that that was my opinion until I was in my late teens and realized that there was another world outside my English island! Anne
     
  48. november_moon

    november_moon Veteran Member

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    I speak Mexican Spanish pretty well and when I went to Spain a few years ago (mostly in Madrid) I found that I did quite well with it. I have lived in California my entire life and learned Spanish here - combo of school and just being around it. I had a bit of trouble understanding the Madrid accent - or rather listening at the speed at which people spoke :) People seemed to understand me pretty well though. I was worried about Latin American Spanish versus Spanish Spanish, but it didn't seem to be much of a problem. I think that in larger cities, people may just have more practice at listening to people speak Spanish with various accents than people do in smaller towns - which may explain the difference in experiences.
     
  49. BrianForbesColgate

    BrianForbesColgate Member

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    The Elisabeth-Smith.co.uk site is slower than molasses on a winter's day. Other bookseller's sites overwhelmed me with the great number of offerings in this series, each of a slightly different price, but all with too similar descriptions beyond "50 words" or "what you need to get by" or "400 words" or "450 words" ...

    Can anyone who has used an Elisabeth Smith book for Spanish comment on which one and how they found it? Thanks ... :arrow:
     
  50. Dave.Martinez

    Dave.Martinez New Member

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    I purchased the Rosetta Stone program and have started working through it in the evenings. I have 5 months to gain some level of proficiency before I leave SJPdP. I'd really like to immerse myself in the language while I'm in Spain and only speak English when absolutely necessary.
     
  51. manoll

    manoll Active Member

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    Camino Sanabrés from Zamora - April-May 2016
    Camino del Norte - June-July 2018
    Although born in the United States, we left when I was 8 years old. We went to Mexico, and spent 3 months every year in Murcia Spain where my Dad's family is from. Eventually moved there and spent 4 years in the southern part of the country. Communication was never a problem in Spain, indeed there are idioms and colloquialisms inherent to each country, but the basic grammatical structure is the same. So the combination of the letters c and z in front of the vowels e and z have a soft th. For example instead of saying "gracias" where the ci is pronounced like an s in Latin America -minus the Caribbean countries :) , you would pronounce the ci as a th.
    The recommendation of being polite is always appreciated and learning basic effective communication is very important.
    As a Spanish teacher, I can assure you that the last of the 4 skills (5 including cultural knowledge) to develop is speaking. The reading and the writing are easier and the listening develops quicker if the teacher speaks entirely in the target language, uses listening comprehension activities, movies, music, etc. and of course to speak it fluently there is nothing better than having the opportunity to live in a country where the language is spoken.
    Rosetta Stone is an excellent program that focuses on developing all the language learning skills. That takes time. There is a program called Pimsleur and their focus is communication without having to study the grammar. It is quite effective for communication. They have different levels and each one consists of 30 lessons. I can vouch that it is effective, I have been studying Italian for about 3 years and have gone through all the levels. In Italy it has been easy to communicate, but more importantly, to understand what is being said. Their site is: http://www.pimsleur.com
    I hope this is helpful in some way :)
     
  52. tpmchugh

    tpmchugh Active Member

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    Camino Frances (2015)
    Went with just a few phrases like no habla espanol, donde esta ..., la cuenta for the bill, soy Irlandes and menu del perigrino. Just about got me through and the big hearted Spanish people who were happy to communicate in sign language if need be. One waitress said Moo to indicate beef and flapped her elbows to indicate chicken wings. What a marvellous people they are
     
  53. clearskies

    clearskies Veteran Member

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    Here's two: mas despacio (slower pls) and no entiendo (I don't understand). I'm doing an evening Spanish course at the mo and it's amazing how simple and enjoyable it is!
     
  54. tyrrek

    tyrrek Veteran Member

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    Yes, enjoy the learning along the way. I speak reasonable but not fluent Spanish and can hold down a conversation, but I always learn something new. I think I already said how I taught 2 English speaking peregrinas to say 'to take away/take out' (para llevar). They were sorted on slices of tortilla for weeks thereafter. :D Buen Camino!
     
  55. Susannafromsweden

    Susannafromsweden Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes they are lovely. I remember once when the waiter pointed at his ribs and I said ok.
    I must confess I was very nervous for a while, wondering I we understood each other or if he would turn up with liver or tripe.
    But it was ribs, thank God. :lol:
     
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  56. Dave2013

    Dave2013 Member

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    I tried Rosetta Stone and didn't care for it.

    I then selected Flunenz and have found it much better for me. It was designed specifically for English speakers.

    Language in general is not my thing but I have enjoyed this course even at my slow pace; and feel more confident with what I have learned.

    I also like "Camino Lingo" for a take along on my iPhone Kindle app.
     
  57. Seoul Survivor

    Seoul Survivor New Member

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    I will be walking the Camino this June so do not know how much spanish I will need. Thinking that it would be polite to know at least some essential spanish and have the confidence to open my mouth I have started taking spanish lessons.
    For me learning the language with a spanish speaker is the best way to go. One of the spanish teachers at my school graciously gives me time each week and I have been amazed at how much I have picked up. Her experience has been mainly in Spain so that helps with those differences people have been talking about.
    A resource that she pointed me to was the BBC Spanish language site with its interactive language unit called Mi Vida Loca.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/

    It is a story told in multimedia elements which you interact with. I like it because the characters speak at their natural speed so you have to have your wits about you. There is plenty of support and you learn language to; ask directions, order food, greeting etc.

    One thing I wanted to do for the Camino is learn the Lord's Prayer in spanish. I am not sure if it will come in handy except that it is a personal thing. Below is the link for anyone who may be interested.
    http://alanhoskin.net/gallery3/index.php/vi-Gallery-Image

    Bien Camino

    Alan
     
  58. Shannon_Flekkefjord

    Shannon_Flekkefjord New Member

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    ¡Hola Alan!
    Good for you, making an effort to learn the language of the country you're going to be a guest in.. I just want to second your recommendation of BBC's "Mi Vida Loca", My crazy life. It has a story, a mystery. It is interactive, it has "real" conversation, then you get to practice the frases at your own pace..and more... I've used it for my Spanish class, High School students, and they love it!

    I think if you're indending to go to Mass or other church services it would be nice to be able to join in saying "The Lord's Prayer". I've taken the liberty of converting your scanned "Padre Nuestro" to a picture image. Now let's see if I can manage to upload it here...
    ¡Buen camino a todos!!
     

    Attached Files:

  59. Dawntreader

    Dawntreader New Member

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    Alan!

    Thankyou for posting this link - it is just the shot in the arm that Rosetta Stone and i needed :)

    Buen Camino,

    Jeni
     
  60. crad80

    crad80 Member

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    Thanks for the link.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/

    Be sure to watch ALL the episodes so you will be able to follow along and figure out the mystery. It's an interactive language unit that the BBC put together. You get to hear native Spanish speakers from Spain speaking at normal speed. It's a nice introduction to the Spanish language, However, if you have an extra week, there are Spanish language courses offered in Vigo and A.Coruna (as well as, Madrid, Barcelona, etc...). But the language institute in Vigo I would highly recommend.
     
  61. BrianForbesColgate

    BrianForbesColgate Member

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    You might find this helpful, Alan ... from the Bookstore of the CSJ - Confraternity of St James:

    Libro de Oración Commun: A Simple Prayer Book, London , 2010, 95pp
    A handy pocket sized prayer book with the Ordinary of the Mass and other prayers e.g. Our Father, Hail Mary etc in English and Spanish. Ideal for pilgrims who want to join in with the Mass.
    Price: £2.50
    http://www.csj.org.uk/acatalog/The_...Accounts_including_Devotional_Material_4.html

    ¡Bendiciones y Buen Camino! :arrow:
     
  62. Annie Little

    Annie Little Active Member

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    Thanks for all the posters on here- I have learnt a lot from your replies. I will investigate options.

    In my travels I have only learnt the basics of the language of countries I have been in and managed somehow. However I do know in France it can be difficult if you do not speak french as they frown on you :) I will try to get at least some un peu french and poco Spanish under my belt in the next few months

    Annie
     
  63. Jennifer Juniper

    Jennifer Juniper Active Member

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    Annie, you will find that learning French will help a lot with Spanish, as they share many root words in common.I started out with French years ago and found it spoken in every country I have visited-throughout Africa and Asia. When I turned to Spanish I found a lot of words that I could understand right away because the French form is so similar. Good luck!I think you will enjoy it much more than you expect. Each new language we learn opens up another part of the world, and means that many more new people to meet.
     
  64. Llanero

    Llanero New Member

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    ¿Puedes repetir la pregunta en español?
     
  65. piogaw

    piogaw Veteran Member

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    Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
    To all present and future peregrinos on the camino frances,

    English is widely spoken in this camino. But please try to learn some common spanish phrases or sentences. The language of cervante is a very romantic language and the spanish people are a very proud people. They will be very appreciative if you attempt to engage them in their own language and you will get a better service. It is not important if you pronounce it badly as long as you try to speak to them in their own language. After all you are in their country. This camino whether it is a10-day or 35-day camino, will give you a chance to at least pick up and learn some basic spanish. Don't miss this great opportunity.

    Buen camino.
     
  66. annakappa

    annakappa Veteran Member

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    Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
    Call it " total immersion"! Do take advantage of this opportunity and try not to stick all the time with people who speak English! Anne
     
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  67. BrianForbesColgate

    BrianForbesColgate Member

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    This company's products are available on-line but I found them available free through my local library's on-line connection ... for more language than I even knew existed. http://www.transparent.com The learning process is a combination of listening and speaking, reading and writing, and I've found it an excellent way to pick up some language. I'm also taking a night school class at my local college ... partly as an additional approach, and partly just to get this old bachelor out of the house!
     
  68. Stellere

    Stellere Active Member

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    I second the recommendations for:

    Coffee Break Spanish
    Mi Vida Loca

    For both of those, you just start at the beginning and follow it step-by-step. Coffee Break Spanish is perfect - 15 minutes per day, and you'll know the basics. Mi Vida Loca is also fun.

    I don't think either of those resources is enough if you want to learn conversational Spanish in general, but they're ideal for "travel survival" and they're a great jumping-off point for anything else.

    Pimsleur is also fantastic for absolute beginners. It's all audio - 30 minute lessons on CD. You do one per day, and constantly review and revisit what you've already learned in subsequent lessons. Check your library - most libraries have Pimsleur for free. It's far too expensive to buy it, IMO.
     
  69. Silvester

    Silvester Member

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    Camino Primitivo (2014)
    Camino Muxia (2014)
    Camino Fisterra (2014)
    I've been happily working my way through Duolingo Spanish - which turns out to be Latin American Spanish. I'm not starting on the del Salvador and Primitivo until late September so I still have time to change over to Castellano. However, how much of a problem is it to speak Latin American Spanish in more remote areas of Spain? If Gallego and Asturiano are common, would Castellano and LatinAm both be equally quaint spoken by a learner?
    Thanks
    Mary
     
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  70. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    It's stuff like aseo or servicio vs baño for bathroom. Nothing too wild. You'll be fine. Didn't realize DuoLingo used LA Spanish. I love that program!
     
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  71. Pelegrin

    Pelegrin Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Ingles July2016
    Yes, you will not have problems with Latinamerican Spanish in Spain. Curiously, you could have problems in reverse, for inst. you never should say "coger" (take) in Argentina and Uruguay, because there this verb only has to do with sex. Instead, they say "tomar".
    In Galicia, you still could meet some older people who can't speak fluent Castellano, but for sure they are going to understand your short phrases in Latinamerican. The problem will be to understand their responses. But don't worry i'm sure you'll get by. In Asturias, they basically speak Castellano, but with a strong accent and a few Asturian words included.
     
  72. whariwharangi

    whariwharangi Veteran Member

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    If you are learning from a Columbian or Ecuadorian you will find the accent is close to that used in Spain. Spanish spoken by a Mexican or Argentinian is more distinct. Chileans have a relatively strong accent.

    Latin American Spanish is Castellano.

    People do use local dialects and some dialects like Galacian and Catalan have official status. Everyone in Spain learns Castellano in school; its the official language. You won't have anymore of a problem communicating using Latin American Spanish than you would have speaking English with an American.

    There are Spaniards who refuse to speak to other Spaniards in Castellano because of regional differences; the ones that want to break up the country into ever smaller pieces. Not your issue.
     
  73. Pelegrin

    Pelegrin Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Whariwharangi

    Castellano,Gallego and Catalan are all of them Latin languages. Gallego and Catalan are not Castellano dialects. Castellano dialects are "Andaluz", "Murciano", etc. Actually, Gallego vocabulary is very similar to Portuguese and is not easy understandable for an Spaniard from other region depending on the conversation subject.

    It´s true that some Spaniards only speak in their languages for political reasons, but this situation is extremely uncommon in Galicia. In Galicia there are older people who can't speak Castellano simply for lack of training in this language. I agree that the next generation is totally bilingual.

    Silvester,

    The Primitivo is very, very interesting for its linguistic variety, but some good command in Castellano, Gallego and Asturiano would be required.
     
  74. reyna osiris

    reyna osiris New Member

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    I am Honduran and I have relatives living in Madrid who are from Honduras as well. We speak "Latin American" Spanish or more specifically "Honduran" Spanish. We have never had a problem in Spain whether it be in Barcelona or Madrid or Toledo.
     
  75. Olivia Luna

    Olivia Luna Member

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    Not sure if I am posting or replying, not used to this format just yet, but here are some thoughts for this thread...

    I am a native speaker of Spanish, and I have traveled throughout the Spanish-speaking world without difficulty with varieties of Spanish. I think those that have difficulty are those that are non-native speakers and it is harder to adjust to accents and different word meanings per region. Heaven knows Spanish has at least five ways to say the same thing :)... At any rate, I believe it is a good idea, for those who are are not Spanish speakers, to have some ready-to-use Spanish phrases as you travel your camino, it will be appreciated. However, there is one thing that is universal and crosses all language frontiers and make sure to take it along. It weighs nothing and yet will add weight to your visit. Do not leave home without it, your smile.

    ¡Buen camino!
     
  76. RobertS26

    RobertS26 Active Member Donating Member

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    This thread reminds me of walking up to a café in Reliegos. There were nine pilgrims already there sitting outside around five tables. I knew their faces, but had never spoken with any of them before. All were from various European countries. They were conversing with each other in Spanish. After sitting down with my Coke in hand, one of the pilgrims turned to me and asked in English, "You're an American right?" After I confirmed I was from the United States, the other pilgrims flawlessly resumed their conversation in English rather than Spanish for my benefit. After I got up to leave I heard them resume in Spanish.

    That being said, should you learn some basic Spanish? Yes. It is courteous thing to do. Do you need to speak Spanish? No. In fact, if you have traveled in Europe you will have already observed that English is often the default language for travelers.
     
  77. Pelegrin

    Pelegrin Veteran Member Donating Member

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    "The Primitivo is very, very interesting for its linguistic variety, but some good command in Castellano, Gallego and Asturiano would be required".

    I'm sorry, Of course I meant this requirement is only for people interested in languages, ethnography, etc.
    For doing El Salvador + Primitivo just good shape, some money and enjoying nature are required.
     
  78. Silvester

    Silvester Member

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    Hi there
    I'll keep on with Duolingo as a basis and be very curious about other variants as I get nearer to departure. I know a smile works, and that the combination of gesture and learning the words for "please slow down" and "I speak only a little/badly" get me a long way. And my dodgy attempts at speaking other languages have often both amused and encouraged people trying to learn English as an additional language!
    Thanks
    Mary
     
  79. fernandezr

    fernandezr Member

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    About 15 years ago I had an unpleasant experience over language in France but it seems the French have changed and are not as extreme about their language as they once were. This past September I came to know many French and French Canadian people hiking from SJPdP to Santo Domingo de la Calzada and, with my very limited French and their usually limited English, we were able to carry on rather lengthy conversations about a variety of subjects and I found every one of them to be very pleasant and very warm to us. I didn't meet one person on the Camino I didn't like.
     
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  80. november_moon

    november_moon Veteran Member

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    I had a conversation with some French colleagues at a conference recently about this topic. They said that basically the same thing, especially with younger French people - people are becoming much more open and accepting of other's attempts to speak the language.
     
  81. sriyantra

    sriyantra Active Member

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    Talking to a French backpacker in Hervey Bay two days ago she said how she was struggling with our strine - and pinched her nostrils together to demonstrate. To her it is much more difficult to understand the English language in Australia than in England. Guess that is what comes from living "down under" .
     
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