keskiviikko 20. tammikuuta 2016

Can you learn a new language as an adult? or What is “guapa”?

I have studied Spanish about one year as an adult in Helsinki Summer University (Spanish 1 and 2). But of course that wasn’t enough.
I bought paper flash-cards to help memorize simple words. I wish I would have known Magazine Hola was a source of a lot interesting words like pregnant and divorce.  Sadly El País was too difficult for me.
I enjoy learning new languages by music. I went to Youtube and found Shakira’s music video “No” with lyrics. Lovely and sad song. After that I watched Nelly Furtados’s “Manos Al Aire” .Today I would concentrate on “Noche Y De Dia” by Enriques Iglesias. I sang along even though I don’t have any kind of singing voice.
I tried really hard to follow the Spanish soap opera “Aqua no hay quien viva”. It wasn’t my favourite. I loved “Los Serrano”. It was so warm and friendly series.
After learning Spanish for a year, we travelled in our summer holiday to Spain into a tiny village where nobody spoke English. As an added bonus everything was cheap in that picturesque village.
If Spanish words failed me there a sign-language helped. I didn’t know how lousy I was, but we bought the bus tickets, food and got service in the restaurants.
One warm and sunny day an old Spanish man walked past us while we waited at the bus stop. He said to us a lot of mumbo-jumbo that I missed. I got one word “guapa”. I finally remembered that one word after thinking about it hard for sixty seconds. He was complimenting us! Well, we don’t look like Marilyn, but I felt like a winner of one million dollar.
Not everything went over so smoothly. Do you know what sepia means in a restaurant list?. Well we found out in a hard way. We also ordered some kind of melon as dessert to a 10-year old kid. We didn’t know that it included booze. Luckily the waiter kindly told this to us in Spanish, when melon arrived to the table. We as responsible adults took care of the booze. And the kid got her melon dessert.
Back to our original question: Can you as an adult learn a new language? If I can, so can you.

Text: Sointu Niinikoski-Perä, a student of Independent  Study in English course

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