December 13, 2013, by Guest blog
Getting used to the accent in Barbate
I was aware prior to arriving in Spain that the accent would be strong in Barbate because it is in Andalusia. When I arrived it was obvious from the start that the accent is extremely different from what we learn at University and therefore would take some getting used to. For example, they miss letters out from words, most notoriously I have noticed, ‘gracias becomes gracia’ and another example is that ‘estas cansada?’ becomes ‘eta cansa?’ I particularly find that the accent is difficult to understand in the staff room at my school especially if a lot of teachers are talking at once; it takes a lot of concentration. Also the children at school are sometimes hard to understand especially as I have a couple of hours with 3, 4 and 5 year olds during the week who are only just learning to properly speak Spanish themselves. However, I have been trying to watch some TV which I think has been helping my listening skills. Additionally, it was initially difficult to adapt to the speed at which people talked. Many times I have been forced to stop people and say ‘mas despacio por favor’. Although I feel I am getting more used to the speed of spoken Spanish, it is still difficult so I am hoping this will continue to improve over the year.
My spoken Spanish is definitely improving day by day due to the full immersion into Spanish life, talking to teachers at my school and chatting to friends from Barbate and my exchange partner as well as day to day activities helps to improve my spoken abilities. Also, sorting out things such as my accommodation, phone contract and internet has helped my confidence to grow in speaking. However, I find phone conversations very hard principally due to the speed and accent although I haven’t had too many situations where I’ve had to have a phone conversation yet.
My vocabulary is continually growing and I am keeping a note of all the new words and expressions I learn every day. I have also learnt a few colloquial phrases from Spanish friends in my town and my Spanish exchange.
Reading and Writing
I am writing a diary in Spanish to try to ensure that I keep up with the writing aspect of the language. Also, I am currently reading Anne Frank in Spanish as well as everyday things such as menus, timetables and instructions for cooking food.
I have organised a Spanish class to take weekly to improve my grammar as I feel this is the part of the language that I most need to work on and keep on top of. I particularly find the imperfect subjunctive hard and some other structures and therefore I am unable to conjugate in my head rapidly enough to use in conversation.
I hope that my language abilities continue to improve as the months pass.
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