Posts Tagged ‘Language’

El Idioma

In Practice on October 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

Lessons have begun again. We’ve been joined by Stefan, a German who has been here for eleven years, and someone else is due next week. In a fortnight or so there’ll be five of us we’re told by Luis, the teacher. Two hours is a pretty punishing length of time to sit still and attempt to acquire language, but none of us can make it on any other day but Friday. We feel fairly smug studying alongside someone who’s been here so long, so we must guard against that I suppose.

We like Luis – he likes food and wine, the Arab history of Spain and getting out into the open country, so we feel compatible. Also, he’s from Madrid, so when he speaks we understand it, as opposed to the consonant-free andaluz of the average Tarifeño. Well, K understands him. I do my best. Picking up between forty and sixty percent and guessing at the rest seems to be working for me so far. Given my distractable nature it’s more or less what I’ve been doing with English all my life, so no big change.

He’s invited us along the next time he and his “little group” go walking in the mountains. I will pester him about it too, until he honours the invitation. We need to find ourselves more frequently in the company of Spaniards. Especially K; unlike her I spend my days in Spain and not in glorious British isolation on the Rock but, to be honest, when it comes to reaching my goal of good conversational Spanish “Teacher! Alejandro stuck his pen in my arm!” doesn’t really help. Read the rest of this entry »


In Plenary, Practice on January 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

The same songs come back to me insistently tonight in the booming silence – booming because I am wearing ear plugs and while I can hear “nothing”, the sound of my heart  is loud and rhythmic, a metronome for the imagined music. The earplugs are a little uncomfortable and I know I will end up taking them out eventually, but for now they insulate me from mosquito whine and from the noise of that bar at the end of our street.

That bar. It is the nearest to our front door but we have never set foot in it. It is a charmless place – ridiculously lively at, say, 1am on a Tuesday night. It is the enemy of a good rest. Owned by expats, it is trendy enough to have a website which I visited once while plotting its downfall. There’s a page on the history of the bar. More