December 30, 2013, by Guest blog

No room to be shy when learning a new language

Post written by Anandeep Sandhu.

As I said in my previous blog, something that really caught my attention when I arrived here in the southern Spanish city of Granada was the Andalusian accent. During my first few weeks it was quite challenging at times to understand what was being said when speaking to locals (even if I was just asking for directions!) and some of the lectures at University, especially when they attempted to explain complex topics. I found that many people shortened their words and missed out key syllables as well as speaking at a very rapid pace which can be quite overwhelming for someone still trying to learn the language!

However once I managed to train my ear a bit more to the accent, it became less of an obstacle and I felt more at ease. I would say that living in Spain has definitely helped me develop my Spanish because being in the environment where the language is continuously spoken is a really positive way to learn. Just by listening and conversing with native speakers it has put a lot of things into perspective and I have picked up on so much such as local idioms and learned a lot about the fascinating culture. I have tried to incorporate the new vocabulary which I have come across in my daily speech to avoid forgetting it! The University also use to have some stacks of free newspapers at the entrance steps, so I picked up a copy of El País if I had an early class then tried to read it during the day in an attempt to learn new words and get a gist of the latest headlines.     

One important thing to remember is that there is no room to be shy or embarrassed when learning a new language. Don’t forget we all make mistakes! And it is better to learn from these mistakes rather than to stay quiet and not practice at all. I found people in Granada to be very kind and understanding even if I made lots of errors when speaking because they know it can be really difficult when learning a language and for this reason they appreciate the effort being made.

Although I still have a lot more to learn to develop my Spanish further, I would say that my time in Spain so far has been a great help towards this aim.

Posted in Language acquisition