December 31, 2013, by Guest blog

Appreciating the difference in language across Spain

Post written by Abigail Brown.

Being one of the main aims of the Year Abroad language acquisition has certainly been a main concern during this first semester. One of the first things I wondered, as I mentioned in the previous blog, was whether I actually knew any Spanish at all when I spoke to people from Cádiz! It was reassuring to be told that even Spaniards struggled to understand the local language in this unique place in Andalusia! This kind of acquisition is certainly accumulative however, and I noticed that throughout the three months of lectures I did end up understanding a much higher percentage of what was being said than at the beginning! I do appreciate having spent time in Cádiz as I feel my ear has been trained to understand some very specific accents and use of language. In terms of speaking I do not feel that I have reached the speed of the gaditano but I neither feel the need to as I mainly am just aiming to be able to communicate in Spanish about whatever the conversation might be. I have come to realise that speed is not everything… However I have come to appreciate the Andalus in Cádiz and do recognise its uniqueness amongst other forms of Castilian!

Studying at University I have been set various book reviews so have not been short of writing practice. It is hard to know whether I have improved in this area as I haven’t received feedback or corrections. However, I do feel that the practice alone must have helped in some way… at least with the vocabulary that is used to write a book review! Having to give a short presentation and have an interview as part of two of my classes has put me on the spot but made me try and be more spontaneous in my speech in a situation under that sort of pressure. It really reveals your ability when speaking in front of a crowd. Although my time in Spain will only be 4 months in total I do hope to have improved over the time spent there by the end. I have certainly learned a lot from being around the people from Cádiz and have learned about them from their speech. I think you can learn a lot about a culture from the dialect and it is important to appreciate the differences in language across Spain. I just hope I don’t lose my Spanish when transferring to Brazil!

Posted in Language acquisition