April 14, 2014, by Guest blog

Making connections with my favourite music

Spain is famous for its rhythm. Whether that is the rhythm of daily life or the flamenco music and the dancing that accompanies it. It was Spanish music that captured my heart and sparked my interest in learning the language. Unfortunately, at school we only had the opportunity to learn German or French. As much as I enjoyed listening to Spanish music, I was never able to understand the lyrics fully unless I used the internet to translate a selected few of my favourite songs. I would just sing along to the sounds I could hear. However, I have now been living in Spain for the best part of nine months and I feel like I am getting to grips with the Spanish language. The other day I was on the very long bus ride to work with my iPod on shuffle songs and ‘Dimelo’ by David Bisbal started to play. It had been several years since I had heard the song and the last time I could not understand anything. However, I was on the dreaded bus ride with a smile on my face as this time I could understand every word. I was in shock that a song I could previously not understand anything of, was now making complete sense. Of course, the are some quicker and more complicated songs that I cannot yet understand but I had managed to put together and connect all the words and structures I have learnt over the past few months to understand the whole song. My next target is to understand the entirety of a Pitbull song!

In terms of language learning, I have often found myself making connections with words or phrases that Spanish friends teach me, that I have never heard before and then after I have learnt it, the word or phrase appears everywhere!

Making connections with people has also been a large part of this year abroad. As an English language assistant, it has been quite difficult at points to meet other international students or Spanish people my own age. However, once you have met people for the first time it is likely that you will often greet each other and have a conversation when you are out and about.

The connection I have struggled to make the most is with the teachers and students at my school. At the start my Spanish was very poor and it was difficult and scary for me to speak which I think the teachers might have perceived as me being rude or not wanting to talk to them. It was simply that I could not form sentences sufficiently. Now I have the ability to speak more fluidly, the majority are not willing to talk to me. The bigger problem is with the students. I am not given much freedom in the lessons to plan activities or games to make the lessons in English fun for the students, instead we just read texts and I correct the pronunciation because they have to learn science, technology, maths and sport (to name a few) through English. They do not want to speak or work in English and because of that, I feel like the majority of the time, most students do not like having me in the class. There are a few students that I have made good connections with and they are enthusiastic about talking to me but there are still some bridges to be built.

Posted in Language acquisitionMaking connections