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Language Learning
(Reading time 2 minutes)

Sometimes at the language exchanges very deep conversation topics come out, that kind of conversations that hook you and make you admire the people with whom you speak. Other times we tell funny anecdotes that make us laugh out loud. And, on the best days, the two types of conversations are combined.

One of those days, we were talking about cultural differences. Stella, from Brazil, said that when she was very young she went to visit a pen pal in Finland. It was her first big trip and she was very nervous. Upon arriving at the destination airport, when she saw her friend, Stella jumped over her to hug her and tell her how happy she was to see her, but her friend did not react the same way. There, it is not normal to hug so euphorically in a public place, so rather, she felt very uncomfortable.

Something similar happened to me. After a long three-month vacation in Argentina, I returned to Norway, where I lived and worked. There, when I saw my manager, I went over to give him two kisses and greet him happily. The poor man couldn’t dodge my kisses because he had a wall behind him, but he became tense and straight as a stick in his failed escape attempt. At that moment I realized that I had returned to Norway and that I should behave differently.

Stella and I agree that we have different personalities depending on the language we speak, due to the culture with which we associate it. It is important to always observe before acting, especially when you are in another country, since in each place there is a different culture and what for you is a show of affection, may be the opposite in another part of the planet.

I wanted to tell you about Stella today because she, along with Stephen, from the United States, are co-organizing the virtual language exchanges on Fridays, since I am at the face-to-face events. So, now, our Online Bar works on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7pm to 9pm.

If you also want to learn about other cultures and, at the same time, improve your languages, come and practice them with natives while having a drink, just follow this link and choose the day that suits you best.

What about you? Do you have funny anecdotes related to cultural differences? Share your story with us either in the weekly Language Exchanges in bars, in the Online Language Exchanges, in the Sailing & Language Exchange on Sunday June 27, at the Brunch & Language Exchange also on June 27 or the Paella & Language Exchange on Saturday, July 3. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es

Best,
Aina
0

Language Learning
(Reading time 2 minutes)

Last month I was studying Swedish in Sweden, it was an intensive 4 week B1 level course and I learned a lot. In order not to lose what I learned, I decided to practice it weekly, the problem is that since the pandemic, no Swedes have come to language exchanges, as they used to do before… So I decided to publish a post in the group of Swedes in Barcelona. I had some answers, although I only met one of them, Johan, two weeks after my return.

As I started speaking Swedish, I realized that in two weeks I had forgotten many words and had lost fluency. When I regretted not remembering some basic words and taking a long time to form sentences, Johan told me that my knowledge of grammar was much better than his wife’s, for example, who has lived there for many years.

Learning grammar doesn’t make you fluent, although it does make you speak correctly. The only way to speak a language fluently is to practice it and speak it regularly, ideally every day.

As many times it is not possible to speak it with other people, what I do is speaking it with myself; for example when I go to do the groceries, I make the list in Swedish and try to speak Swedish in my mind before speaking to the salesclerk. I also count in Swedish and I comment on everything I am doing (like “I put a package of rice and three cans of tuna in the basket” in Swedish obviously).

It may seem silly to talk to yourself, but it is very effective and it is more silly to lose a language to which you have spent many hours learning.

The more you practice a language (speaking, listening, writing and reading) the faster you start to think in that language and, by stopping translating everything in your mind before you can speak, you will be able to speak fluently.

If you also want to speak fluently in another language, come and practice it with native speakers while having a drink, just follow this link and choose the day that suits you best.

What about you? Do you feel like you are losing your languages ​​instead of improving them? Share your story with us either at the Weekly Language Exchanges in bars, at the ONLINE Language Exchanges , at the Sailing & Language Exchange on Sunday June 27th, at the Brunch & Language Exchange also on June 27th… And if you want to see your story published, you can email it to us at info@speakquick.es

Best,
Aina
0

Language Learning
Today I’d like to tell you about Mark, a Canadian who regularly connects to the online language exchanges to practice Spanish and Italian. He and his wife love to travel to warm countries in winter, which is why he has studied Spanish for 5 years. He started practicing online during the pandemic, and decided to jump in and try Italian as well. Now he has been practicing Italian for a year without ever having studied it and his fluency is not far from what he has in Spanish. Do you think it is essential to study to speak a language fluently?

At the time when I lived in Italy, I met another girl from Barcelona who had arrived two years before me. She had never studied Italian and yet she was fluent. However, she made quite a few mistakes due to the influence of both Catalan and Spanish. On the contrary, I spent my first 3 months in Florence studying Italian, it was an intensive course that followed the communicative method (which implies speaking from day one). I’ve always been a bit of a “pain in the ass” when it comes to using languages, and even though she didn’t know it, I couldn’t help but mentally correct her every time she said something wrong.

Returning to Mark, in his case, he only needs to speak enough to communicate on his trips, which he can already do in both Spanish and Italian. Personally, I like to speak languages ​​perfectly, so I prefer to study them, in addition to practicing until I master them (but I guess that makes me a language geek). So, before studying a language, perhaps we should ask ourselves what is our goal when learning that language and what are our self-demands.

In any case, practice is essential. And now you have the option to practice both online and in person, at our weekly and free language exchanges.

Follow this link  to see the next gatherings.

What about you? Do you prefer to study or learn by doing? Share your story with us either at the ONLINE Language Exchanges, at the Weekly Face-to-Face Events or at the Brunch & Language Exchange, on Sunday, May 30th. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es 

Best,
Aina
0

Barcelona tips, Language Learning
A few weeks ago, at the Brunch & Language Exchange, the typical cliché came out when someone said that in Barcelona only Catalan is spoken

That reminded me of an American guy who crossed the ocean for love and moved to a town in Lleida. Everyone there spoke only Catalan, so that was the language he learned. But after a few years, he and his girlfriend broke up, so he decided to move to Barcelona, ​​thinking that a big city always offers more opportunities. His surprise was when, he arrived in Barcelona, ​​he found that almost no one spoke Catalan; therefore, without speaking Spanish, his options for finding a job were limited.

When someone brings up this cliché, I usually ask: Where? In what part of Barcelona is Catalan the only spoken language?
Then, it usually turns out that it is not in the city, but in a town in Catalonia. Such thing has an explanation as simple as that if in towns people do not usually speak Spanish, it is because they do not need it for their everyday life. That does not mean that they do not understand it, simply that they do not practice it daily, therefore they are not fluent and do not feel comfortable speaking it.

I compare it to English. It is a language that we have studied for years in elementary school, high school, etc. But, generally, it is not a language that we use daily, all the films are dubbed into Spanish and we are not in the habit of using it at all. Then, when a foreigner asks us something on the street, we become paralyzed, we begin to sweat trying to remember what that teacher repeated to us for years and we feel as uncomfortable as those people who live in towns where Spanish is not used.

In short, languages ​​must be practiced regularly to be able to use them without even having to think, it does not matter if it is a language very similar to yours or completely different, the more you practice it, the more fluent you will be and the more comfortable you will feel speaking it.

If you also want to speak fluently in other languages ​​and have fun chatting with native speakers, follow this link.
If you are looking for a language teacher, you can find it on our website.

What about you? Do you practice regularly? Are you comfortable speaking in other languages? Share your story with us either at the ONLINE Language Exchanges, at the weekly face-to-face gatherings or at the Brunch & Language Exchange on Sunday, May 30th. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at info@speakquick.es 

Big hug,
Aina
0

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