There’s nothing more rewarding to a language learner than actually using your new language to communicate with native speakers. Since realising last year that I’d forgotten nearly all the Spanish I’d ever learnt, I’ve been working really hard to get it all back, and thanks to my new Rosetta Stone TOTALe programme that project is coming along nicely.
Which meant that my recent trip to Barcelona went a lot more smoothly than it otherwise might have. From asking for directions to the toilets, to ordering in restaurants, to translating the ticket machine in the metro, I found I was able to get us through the three day trip without once resorting to “hablas Ingles?”
The Spanish really appreciate it if you make the effort to speak their language, even if they can speak perfect English. After all, it’s only polite. Not only that, but – as the old saying goes – practice really does make perfect, and the satisfaction I felt at each language achievement, however modest, was much more rewarding than any number of exam points. It was a genuine thrill when I realised that I could understand a menu without needing to ask for an English one, and even more so when I placed an order in Spanish without the waiter switching back to English to help me out!
Learning a language really can be it’s own reward, so I say it’s important to celebrate even tiny achievements. And in Barcelona, there’s no better way of celebrating than to kick back with a glass of vino and as many platos of tapas as the table can hold; which is exactly what I did! La buena vida, no?